September 18, 2014

Australian coal industry in deep denial of China’s dirty coal policy

"The reaction of the coal industry to the recently-released Chinese government restrictions on dirty coal use in key coastal regions reveals an industry in deep denial that the glory days of high prices and ever-increasing exports to China are over,” writes Bob Burton in RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: Coal industry in deep denial of #China policy on dirty #coal @bobburtonoz #auspol

A New Coal Power Station the Industry Won't Boast About

“When the US$1.35 billion coal-fired Norochcholai Power Station is commissioned by
the Chinese President Xi Jinping on his visit to Sri Lanka this week, it is unlikely that the global coal industry will be waxing lyrical about the world's latest coal-fired power station being ‘reliable’. Since the first of the plant's three 300 megawatt (MW) generating units was commissioned in March 2011, the Chinese-funded-and-built power station has become an example of a coal plant that is hopelessly unreliable,” writes Bob Burton in Huffington Post.

Suggested Tweet: Heard about "reliable" #coal plants as #energypoverty 'solution'? Read what happened in #srilanka @BobBurtonoz

World Looks to OECD as High Level Commission Calls for Phasing Out Coal

“The high powered Global Commission on the Climate and Economy released its flagship report on global coal use and the economy: The New Climate Economy. The report pulls no punches when it comes to coal, including a call for a global coal phase out involving an immediate end to investments in new unabated coal-fired power plants globally and the retirement of existing unabated coal-fired power plants in high income countries,” writes Justin Guay from the Sierra Club in Huffington Post.

Suggested Tweet: World Looks to #OECD as High Level Commission Calls for Phasing Out #Coal @Guay_JG


Indonesia villagers take power plant opposition to Japan

Two villagers from Indonesia have visited Japan to state their case against the proposed US$4 billion Batang power station in Central Java, which the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is considering financing. The Indonesian delegation met with representatives from the Ministry for Finance and JBIC to demand that the Japanese government refuse to finance the plant. The visit was held ahead of an October 6 deadline for financial close on the project, which is unlikely to be met due to community opposition. The visit sparked significant media coverage in Japan and representatives of two opposition parties expressed their support for the villagers. (Jakarta Globe, Power Engineering International)

Suggested Tweet: Opposition to #JBIC support for proposed Batang #coal plant in Indonesia grows

top news

Myanmar residents object to proposed coal plants: More than 1000 people turned out for a public briefing on a proposed 660 MW coal-fired power station near the village of Ngayokekaung. While government officials extolled only the benefits of the project, locals raised concerns about the impacts on air and water quality. At the meeting Saw Mya Thein, the regional minister for energy, revealed that a second plant, proposed by the A1 Group, is also planned in the area. (Eleven Myanmar, Eleven Myanmar)

US judge rejects coal mine bid for Colorado roadless area: A US district court judge has overturned a decision by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management allowing Arch Coal to construct roads for a coal mine expansion in a designated ‘roadless area’. In June the judge ruled that the government agencies had erred by not considering the climate impact of their decision. In his latest decision Judge R. Brooke Jackson stated that the agencies’ initial decision should be set aside so that they reconsidered the company’s application “with a clean slate.” (Earthjustice, Boston Globe)

Villagers block Vale’s Mozambique railway: The construction of Vale’s railway from its Moatitze coal project to the port of Nacala-a-Velha has been disrupted by villagers protesting over damage to houses, compensation and the reinstatement of community infrastructure. Part of the railway runs through Malawi, where the protest occurred, then back into Mozambique. (Nyasa Times)
Australian mine fire linked to deaths: An analysis of official data suggests that the 45-day long fire at the Hazelwood mine may have resulted in an additional 11 deaths. Associate Professor Barnett from the Queensland University of Technology reviewed data on recorded deaths from the four postcode areas around Morwell, which was subject to high air pollution levels during the fire. (ABC News)

US government agency puts hold on export terminal permit while Oregon decides: The US Army Corps of Engineers has put further assessment of Ambre Energy’s proposed Morrow Pacific coal export project on hold until the Oregon government has made its decision on the project. The announcement follows the decision of the Oregon Department of State Lands to deny the company’s application for a key construction permit. Power Past Coal welcomed the decision, stating that the proposed 8 million tonnes per annum project was “dead in the water.” (SNL, Power Past Coal)

Farmers launch legal challenge against proposed Turkish coal plant: Olive farmers in the Soma district have launched a legal challenge against moves by the Turkish government to compulsorily acquire land for a proposed new coal-fired power station. “There have been no notifications to the villagers in Yırca regarding the expropriation process in line with the legal procedures,” said Greenpeace’s lawyer Deniz Bayram. (Today’s Zamen, Hurriyet Daily News)

“If you only look at the problem [of coal mining] from the standpoint of the great benefits to employment and taxes and all those things and you don’t even try to look at what it’s going to cost in terms of global warming, the day is going to come when it’s too late to think about global warming,”

said US District Judge R. Brooke Jackson, when reviewing a decision by the US Bureau of Land Management to approve a permit for a coal mine expansion.


Australia: Griffin Coal faces debtors’ liquidation action, raising problems for power station customer.

Egypt: Government expects to call for tenders for 4000 MW of coal plants in 2014/2015.

India: Andra Pradesh government signs deal for 4000 MW imported coal plant.
US: Black lung disease in underground coal miners reaches levels not known since the 1970’s.

US: Consumer group finds coal used in ‘natural’ cosmetics products.

“Rural Indians inhabiting resource-rich areas are increasingly hard to silence, or subjugate. In Prime Minister Modi’s grand vision of development, they will have to be engaged with greater democracy and dignity, not less,”

writes Chitrangada Choudhury in a detailed review of the opposition to the proposed Machhakuta coal mine in Orissa, India.

companies + markets

Peabody Energy dumped from S&P Dow Jones 500: S&P Dow Jones Indices has announced that Peabody Energy – the world’s largest privately-owned coal company – has been dropped from the S&P 500 index of the largest US companies listed on the stock exchange. When the company was added to the S&P 500 in November 2006 the value of Peabody Energy’s stock was US$10 billion, compared to its current value of just US$3.9 billion. (S&P Dow Jones Indices, Bloomberg)

Australian billionaire forced to wait for GVK’s Galilee payment: Hancock Prospecting, a company owned by Australia’s richest woman, has been forced to wait for a US$560 million payment from the Indian company GVK as the final settlement for the US$1.26 billion purchase of undeveloped Galilee Basin coal licences.“They will have to go to the banks and raise another loan," said Vibhor Singhal, an analyst at Phillip Capital. (Sydney Morning Herald, Economic Times)
US coal production set for big fall when pollution rules bite: A Nomura analysts’ report argues that US thermal coal is facing a “clear and present danger” largely due to the impact of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The Nomura report stated that it estimated that the impact of approximately 58,000 MW in coal plant retirements and upgrades to older plants could result in approximately 73 million tonnes less coal required in the next five years. (SNL)

resources                      take action

EPA Regulations and Electricity: Update on Agencies' Monitoring Efforts and Coal-Fueled Generating Unit Retirements, Government Accountability Office (GAO), September 15, 2014.

The GAO reports that power generators plan to retire over 42,000 MW of coal-fired power stations by 2025, more than estimated in an earlier 2012 report.

“Xingtai, China: Coal-Mining and Air Pollution Hub”, Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2014. (Video)

This four-minute video reports on life in the coal mining and industrial city of Xingtai, which has the worst air quality of any Chinese city. 

Better Energy, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report: Energy, The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, September 2015. (Pdf)

The energy chapter in this report argues strongly against the further development of coal-fired power stations in industrialised countries and a medium-term phase-out in industrialising countries.

Join the Pacific 'Climate Warriors' in Newcastle

On October 17 a group of 30 Pacific Islanders will paddle their traditional canoes out into the harbour of Newcastle, Australia to block coal exports. The Pacific Islands “Climate Warriors” are asking others to join them to peacefully protest against coal exports.

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