October 17, 2014

How Big Coal is Lobbying G20 Leaders and Trying to Capture the Global Poverty Debate

“As the November G20 leaders summit approaches in Brisbane, the Australian Government has already scrubbed the words ‘climate change’ from the meeting agenda, which will focus on driving economic growth. But Peabody [Energy] has been busy trying to get its own particular view of ‘energy poverty’ in front of the G20 world leaders,” writes Graham Readfearn in The Guardian.

Suggested Tweet: How big coal is lobbying #G20 leaders and trying to capture the global poverty debate http://gu.com/p/42dg4/tw #climate @readfearn

Will a Dirty Kosovo Coal Plant Spoil the World Bank’s Clean Energy Record?

“For the fourth year in a row, the World Bank's investments are coal-free. But the real test of the strength of this commitment will come when the bank decides whether or not to fund the Kosovo C coal-fired power plant in Kosovo,” writes Justin Guay from the Sierra Club in Huffington Post.

Suggested Tweet: Will a dirty #Kosovo #Coal Plant Spoil the @worldbank’s Clean Energy Record? asks @Guay_JG

The Incredible Shrinking Australian Coal Industry

“A lot has changed in the last few years. Just a few years ago, with prices of both thermal and coking coal through the roof, it was cigars and caviar time for an industry who were proposing more new projects than you could point an activist at. A long and glorious future was expected, based on China’s insatiable demand for coal – our coal,” writes Julien Vincent from Market Forces in RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: #Australia's #coal industry has shrunk over 60% in value since 2012: http://bit.ly/shrinkingcoal #mining #ausbiz @market_forces


Pacific Islanders aim to shut down Australian coal port

Thirty Pacific Islanders from 13 Pacific Ocean countries plan to paddle five traditional wooden canoes into the Newcastle harbour and shut down coal exports on Friday October 17th. Low-lying Pacific islands are already experiencing the impacts of rising sea levels. “We have to find ways to keep coal and gas in the ground,” said Mikaele Maiava, from Tokelau. Ahead of the coal port blockade, the Climate Warriors visited the Maules Creek and Boggabri mines in New South Wales. (ABC, 350.org)

Suggested Tweet: Pacific #ClimateWarriors to shut down Australian #coal port http://350.org/pacific-climate-warriors-face-big-coal/

Reclaim Power takes to the streets

Reclaim Power: The Global Week of Action on Energy is happening this week, with actions around the world protesting dirty energy such as coal, nuclear, big dams, fracking and incineration. October 17 is the global day of action on coal. In the Philippines, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice along with its members, partners, and a new campaign network called Power for People, will be organizing a national day of action against coal at 23 sites across the country. The groups will be calling for renewable energy, not coal, to solve an impending energy shortage in the country.

top news

US lab employee admits faking water tests for coal companies: An employee of Appalachian Laboratories, a company which does water testing for over 100 mine sites in West Virginia, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the US Clean Water Act by altering water samples used to ensure permit compliance. The employee admitted that between 2008 and 2013 he diluted coal mine water discharge samples and substituted clean water for polluted water. An investigation into the company by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Environmental Protection Agency continues. (Charleston Gazette)

Canadian regulator finds selenium levels 300 times over limit: A report commissioned by Environment Canada has found dissolved selenium levels in streams draining from Teck’s Fording River and Greenhills metallurgical coal mines at 300 times higher than the level specified in British Columbian guidelines for the protection of aquatic life. The report also stated that calcium, magnesium and potassium pollution were “forming a concrete matrix” in stream beds which “can only be broken with the force of hammer blows.” (Globe and Mail)
Opposition grows to Thai coal plant: Over 500 people rallied outside a public hearing called by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to discuss the proposed 870 megawatt (MW) Krabi coal plant. Tourism operators and residents are opposed to the expected pollution from the proposed power station and associated coal port. (Phuket Gazette)
Botswana’s sole power station breaks down: The 600 MW Morupule B coal-fired power station, which was commissioned in late 2012, has been temporarily shut down after repeated problems with the plant’s boilers and heat exchangers. The plant was built by China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) at a cost of US$1.2 billion. Botswana is current importing power from South Africa to meet demand. (Bloomberg)

Indian group launches legal challenge against Adani’s Australian mine: The Indian environmental group Conservation Action Trust (CAT) has launched a legal challenge against the proposed 60 million tonnes per annum Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. The mine has been proposed by the Indian company Adani. “The coal from Carmichael, when burnt in India, threatens the health and livelihoods of poor, rural people in India,” said Debi Goenka, a CAT trustee. (Guardian)

Samsung commits to build Vietnamese plant: The South Korean company Samsung C&T Corporation has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to build the 1200 MW Vung Ang 3 Thermal Power Plant in Ha Tinh Province. The company has undertaken to complete a pre-feasibility study by early next year and commence construction by 2018. It is proposed that the plant be based on imported coal. (Saigon)

“Coal is vital for the future energy needs of the world. So let’s have no demonisation of coal. Coal is good for humanity,”

said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the opening of BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Caval Ridge metallurgical coal mine in Queensland.


Australia: GVK-Hancock wins environmental approval for Alpha mine but hurdles remain.

Australia: Bank sued over refusal to put resolution on ‘unburnable carbon’ to shareholders.

Bangladesh: Government pledges to build 1320 MW power plant at controversial Barapukuria coal mine.
South Africa: Eskom cost-cutting leaves renewable energy generator without grid connection.

US: Navajo coal company gets US$1 million government grant to look for more coal.

US: Oxfam sues Securities and Exchange Commission over delay on global mining payments rule.

“Today, I am finding that setting up imported coalfired power project [in India] is highly risky unless it is under regulated tariff structure, which no more exists in this country. Now it is all competitive bidding. I have doubts on sustainability of power projects on imported coal under competitive bidding route,”

said Madhusudhan Rao, the group executive chairman of the Indian headquartered Lanco. Lanco is hoping to sell its Griffin coal mine in Western Australia, which has plans for a major coal export expansion.

companies + markets

Thermal coal prices in China may drop below $60/tonne, hitting seaborne market: Deutsche Bank estimates that the Chinese government decision to impose tariffs on imported coal could slash US$5 a tonne from export thermal coal prices, pushing it below US$60 per tonne. The bank estimates that the tariff could affect 100 million tonnes of marginal Russian and Australian coal but benefit Indonesian and Vietnamese exporters which are protected as a result of provisions of a regional free trade agreement. (SNL)

Banks press Indian government over stalled power projects: Indian banks are pressing the Ministry of Finance to accelerate stalled power projects in a bid to avoid financial losses on loans for 80,000 MW of power plants. The banks are pressing the government to overturn rules on the financing of cost overruns as well as fuel supply and land acquisition. (Economic Times)
Supreme Court questions Indian coal importers compensation bid: Faced with rising costs, Indian private power producers have turned to the courts to rewrite power purchase contracts in their favour. However, in a recent Supreme Court of India hearing, lawyers for Tata Power and Adani were pointedly asked how they could ask for price increases for their respective Mundra power stations if they won contracts based on a competitive bid. In a separate action, Reliance Power is requesting a tariff increase for its Sasan ‘Ultra-Mega’ project due to what it claims was an “unprecedented” depreciation of the Indian rupee. (Economic Times)

“We highlight the fossil fuel disinvestment campaign as a potentially effective movement defined as one that will act as a catalyst for change. Why? Because many of those engaged in the debate are the consumers, voters and leaders of the next several decades. In our view, this single fact carries more weight than any other data point on the planet for this issue: time, youthful energy and stamina are on the side of the fossil fuel divestment campaign,”

wrote UBS in a recent research paper for clients.

resources                      take action

Subsidies and costs of EU energy: An interim report, Ecofys, October 10, 2014. (Pdf)
This report details the comparative costs of electricity, including allowing for health and environmental costs, in all 28 European Commission countries. The report finds that onshore wind is the cheapest followed by offshore wind, nuclear and solar. Coal power is estimated to cost almost three times as much as onshore wind.

Africa Energy Outlook: A focus on energy prospects in sub-Saharan Africa: W‌orld Energy Outlook Special Report, International Energy Agency, October 13, 2014.
This report reviews likely energy demand in sub-Saharan Africa to 2040 and estimates that coal production could grow by 50 per cent, mostly for domestic consumption or export to neighbouring countries. The main exporters are likely to be South Africa, Mozambique and potentially Madagascar.

Failing to Solve Energy Poverty: How Much International Public Investment is
Going to Distributed Clean Energy Access?, Sierra Club and Oil Change International, October 2014. (Pdf)
This report reviews the lending performance of the four major multilateral development banks for distributed renewable energy generation against the International Energy Agency’s scenario for providing electricity access for all. All four of the banks scored a ‘fail’ when assessed against five energy access criteria.

“Why India’s numbers on air quality can’t be trusted”, Economic Times, October 14, 2014.

This article dissects the numerous flaws in India’s air pollution monitoring and reporting system and explains why the country’s air quality is likely to be far worse than official reports state.

No forest destruction for coal!

BHP Billiton is planning to build a series of massive coal mines in some of the last pockets of primary rainforest in Indonesian Borneo. Please sign on to the petition asking BHP Billiton to withdraw from the IndoMet project and seek permanent protection for the area. The petition will be presented to the Board of Directors and the CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, at the company’s annual general meeting in London on October 23 and in Adelaide on November 20.

Join in Australia’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Day

On October 17 and 18, Market Forces and 350.org are calling on Australians to turn out at bank branches around Australia and publicly close their accounts in protest if the big banks won’t stop funding the dirty fossil fuel industry. You can sign up to participate here and find an event here.

CoalWire is a weekly bulletin of coal-related news published by CoalSwarm. Please send material which you think should be included or suggestions for features to editor@coalwire.org

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