November 21, 2013
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We need justice, not coal

“In solidarity with my brothers and sisters affected by this typhoon [Yolanda] and struggling against other impacts of climate change, I am committed to stopping what we call 'extreme' weather becoming 'regular' weather next year. In the Philippines we know what it will take to stop the climate crisis, it will take the complete transformation of our energy sector,” writes Gerry Arrances, an anti-coal campaigner with the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice. Arrances was launching the People’s Communique on Coal in Warsaw.


Activists for the climate give coal industry a rude awakening

Poland’s capital, Warsaw, became a hotbed of climate activism earlier this week when protesters descended on the World Coal Association’s Coal & Climate Summit being held in parallel to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change conference. Cough4Coal campaigners highlighted the devastating health impacts inflicted by coal, Greenpeace dropped a banner admonishing the Polish government for promoting coal and the Reclaim Power coalition handed out ‘clean coal’. A joint statement on coal, signed by over 150 organisations from around the world, was also launched to counter the coal industry’s promotion of coal and debunk the myth of ‘clean coal’. (Cough4Coal photos, PushEurope, Reclaim Power)

top news

Deluge of comments on proposed coal export terminals:  More than 163,000 comments were submitted on the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal terminal in Washington State. Earlier this year 124,000 comments were submitted on the proposed export terminal at Cherry Point, also in Washington State. (The Daily News)

Most coal should stay in the ground, warns climate chief: In her keynote speech to a coal industry conference the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, argued the industry needed to embrace major changes. “Some fundamental parameters of this transition”, she said, were to “close all existing subcritical plants”, implement “safe” carbon capture and storage “on all new plants, even the most efficient” and “leave most existing reserves in the ground.” (United Nations)

UK winds back on financing coal: At the Warsaw UN climate conference, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey announced that the United Kingdom would “end support for public financing of new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances in which the poorest countries have no feasible alternative.”  While welcomed by environmental groups, the UK Export Finance, an export credit agency, is exempted from the new policy. Since 2007 UK Export Finance has supported at least $100 million in financing for the coal mining sector. (UK government, Guardian)

Ontario coal phaseout: Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has announced that two further coal plants will be closed by the end of the year. When the last remaining plant is closed in 2014, Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to shut down its entire fleet. Since his election in 2003, Ontario has closed 17 coal plants and now generates 99% of its electricity from non-coal sources. (Scientific American)
Corruption agency investigates Sasan coal allocation: The Central Bureau of Investigation, the Indian government’s anti-corruption agency, is investigating the decision to allocate coal to the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) for the proposed 4000 megawatt (MW) Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project.  ADAG has welcomed the investigation, stating that it will prove that the company has been “victims of a mischievous campaign of calumny and vilification” by “unscrupulous corporate rivals”. (Times of India)

Canadian coal mine spill spreads: The mine waste from a collapsed tailings dam at the closed Obed coal mine in Alberta is likely to reach the Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories in December. While Alberta officials have downplayed the nature of the wastes, Environment Canada has indicated the tailings could contain arsenic, mercury, cadmium, lead and manganese. The release of water monitoring data revealed that the Alberta government knew from the outset that the waste plume in the river system included elevated levels of arsenic. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Edmonton Journal)

Tennessee Valley Authority to shutter more units: The publicly-owned Tennessee Valley Authority has announced that it will retire eight coal units at three coal plants in Alabama and Kentucky with a combined capacity of over 3000MW. (New York Times, Sierra Club)

Call for Bangladesh to bypass coal: Despite strong opposition to the proposed Rampal power station near the Sundarbans World Heritage site, the Bangladesh government wants to press ahead with a program to construct up to 15,000MW of coal-fired plants. “We have no effective policy to adopt technological improvement and efficiency enhancement [in energy production]; rather we see only increasing dependency on coal," says Mowdud Rahman from the Southeast Asia Renewable Energy People's Assembly. (,


Australia: Rio Tinto lodges objection to rival’s coal mine extension.

Canada: Chief medical officers reject health assessment of proposed coal terminal.

Dominican Republic: Brazilian construction firm wins contract for two 300MW coal plants.

India: Coal ministry objects to proposed project approval timetable in forests.

Turkey: Taqa confirms it has “shelved” its US$12 billion Afsin-Elbistan coal projects.

US: Harvard students disrupt Bank of America recruiting over company’s coal role.

Yemen: Agreements signed with China for 2000MW of coal plants.

“It's not a fun time to be in the coal industry these days. It's not much fun to get up every day, go to work and spend your time fighting your own government,”

said Nick Carter, president and chief operating officer of Natural Resource Partners, a US coal company.

companies + markets

CEO’s resignation spurs share slide: The share price of Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA (PGE SA), Poland’s biggest power generator, has slumped after its CEO resigned due to conflict with the government over the proposed 1800MW Opole power station. PGE withdrew from the project early in the year on financial grounds but Prime Minister Donald Tusk pushed for its revival in “the national interest”. The Polish Treasury holds 62% of the shares in PGE. (Bloomberg)

Thermal coal price to fall in 2014: Citigroup is estimating that the price for Newcastle benchmark thermal coal will fall to an average US$79 a tonne in 2014 before recovering marginally to average $85 a tonne in 2015. “The fundamental oversupply in the market will push prices back lower in 2014, particularly as we move beyond the beginning of the year,” the bank said. (Bloomberg)

Glencore Xstrata unveils South African ambitions: In a presentation to South African investors and analysts, Glencore Xstrata complained that “current price levels are unsustainable in the medium-term with close to 30% of seaborne thermal production being cash-cost negative.” Despite this the company is pressing ahead with two mines with an additional capacity of over 17 million tonnes a year. The company also flagged a further eight potential mines with a cumulative capacity of 38.7 million-tonnes-a-year to supply the export market and Eskom. (Glencore Xstrata)
Coal India hikes transport prices: Coal India, a government-owned enterprise, has increased the transport component in its coal-pricing formula by almost US$0.22 cents a tonne or over ten percent on the low quality coal bought by power generators. Coal India produces just over 80% of domestically-produced coal. (Financial Express)

Coal India steps up sale pitch: Coal India has held investor presentations in Singapore, Sydney and Hong Kong promoting the sale of a further five per cent of its stock. The roadshow follows a tour to Germany and the UK in October. The unions representing Coal India workers have vowed to strike for three days in mid-December if the government presses ahead with its partial privatisation plan. (Business Standard, Financial Express)

Imported coal to drive prices higher: Private generators in Punjab state are lobbying for power purchase agreements to be altered to cover the higher running costs as a result of importing as much as a third of their coal. The increases sought – which range between nine and 11.5% - are to cover the coal, its washing and transport to the power stations. (Hindustan Times)

 “China is kicking its coal addiction … With slower economic growth and a big push towards gas and renewables, the golden decade for coal is over,”

Chen Yafei, vice-director at the China Coal Research Institute told Reuters.


An Introduction to Integrated Resources Planning, International Rivers, November 11, 2013. (Pdf)

A useful guide on how citizens can effectively use a methodology for planning future energy options in a way that minimises or avoids site-by-site conflict over centralised mega-projects.

Banking on coal – undermining our climate, Bankwatch, November 2013. (Pdf)

This detailed report examines which banks are funding coal mining in the global ‘hot spots’ of the proposed coal boom.

Exposed: the coal project that risks the Reef, Getup, November 2013.

While the primary focus of this short video is the risk to the Great Barrier Reef from a coal barging operation, it draws heavily on new footage from pollution caused by the use of coal barges in Indonesia.

take action

Email letter to proponent of Polish power station

Polish citizens are requesting supporters to send an email to Dr Jan Kulczyk, the owner of Kulczyk Investments, requesting that his company withdraws from plans to build the 2000MW ‘North’ Power Plant in Poland. The plant is one of the largest coal-fired power plants proposed in Europe.

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

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