April 2, 2015


Leaked OECD document reveals coal power troika resisting export credit changes

Siding with Japan and South Korea, who provide billions of dollars in support for coal plants in Asia and other countries, Australia is trying to block any climate action at the OECD on this initiative [a ban on export credit agencies funding new unabated coal plants]. The Abbott Government is likely to be doing this for two reasons. First, to promote continued expansion of coal plants in Asia to firm up future markets for Australian coal. And most worryingly, because of an ideological opposition to any international measures aimed at curbing global warming,” writes Sebastien Godinot, an economist with WWF’s European Policy Office, based in Brussels.

Suggested Tweet: Leaked docs show #Australia try to block ban on export credit agencies funding new #coal plants http://bit.ly/1xuqzkH

Financial risks with coal miners and power generators are growing, warns Moody’s

“In a significant escalation in the debate over the financial risks associated with fossil fuel industries the ratings agency Moody’s has released a report which argues that increasing carbon liabilities and the rise of solar power are ‘already having a tangible impact on rated companies in select carbon intensive industries.’  The global report, which was released on Tuesday, warns that ‘credit pressures are building’ for the most exposed industries, especially coal mining and coal power generation,” writes Bob Burton in RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: Financial risks with #coal miners and power generators are growing, warns Moody’s http://bit.ly/1BKGzKX @bobburtonoz

Coal exports from northern Canadian port in freefall

“Coal exports through the Ridley terminal in northern British Columbia are in freefall … Just a few years back, Ridley was so confident about its prospects that it undertook an ambitious plan to boost its throughput capacity from 12 million tons per year …  to 24 million tons per year … [but] Ridley is now on track to ship less than 6 million tons of coal this year... Instead of doubling their capacity, Ridley could have cut it in half, and they still might have room to spare,” writes Clark Williams-Derry from the Sightline Institute.

Suggested Tweet: #Coal exports from northern British Columbia #Canada in freefall http://bit.ly/1IFLZwk @ClarkWDerry #strandedassets


US mine rejected

The Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and the Sierra Club have welcomed the final decision of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to reject a mining permit for the proposed 526-hectare Ison Rock Ridge mountaintop mine. The department made an initial decision to reject the mine in February 2013 but administrative appeals by the A & G Coal Corporation delayed the final decision. The department stated that it rejected the permit application after the company failed to pay the required fees and bonds. (SNL, Sierra Club)

top news

Legal challenge against Adani’s Galilee Basin project begins: The Land Court of Queensland has been told that Adani’s proposed 60 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) Carmichael coal project would emit about 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases over its 60-year lifespan. Coast and Country, a Queensland environment group, is challenging the Queensland Government’s approval of the mine, arguing it did not properly investigate the direct impact of the project on water supplies, endangered species, the Great Barrier Reef or the climate. (Guardian)

UK warns Japan against building new coal plants: In March the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, wrote to Japanese Cabinet ministers warning them against building further coal-fired power stations. The letter, which urged the adoption of more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, argued that the construction of new coal plants would undermine other countries’ efforts to cut emissions. (Asahai Shimbun)
European Union sues UK over power plant pollution: The European Commission has commenced legal action against the United Kingdom for allowing RWE’s Aberthaw coal-fired power station in Wales to exceed nitrogen oxides emissions standards. On January 1 2008 a European Union standard of 500 milligrams per normal cubic metre (mg/Nm3) came into effect. However, the UK government allows the 1554 megawatt (MW) Aberthaw plant to emit up to 1200 mg/Nm3 of nitrogen oxides. (European Commission, Guardian)

German coal plant emissions fall: Greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants in Germany fell by 41 million tonnes in 2014, according to data released by UBA, the government’s environment agency. Emissions from black coal fell by 8.2 per cent while emissions from brown coal dropped by 2.2. per cent. The German Government has recently announced plans to reduce emissions from old coal plants by a further 20 million tonnes by 2020. (Reuters)

“The Abbott government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the coal industry. There’s no other way of looking at it,”

said Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens.


Canada: Supreme Court of BC rejects legal challenge against Texada Island coal terminal expansion.

Germany: European Commission starts legal action over failure to apply Habitats Directive to Moorburg coal plant permit.

India: Regulator demands action on pollution from two Maharashtra mines of Coal India subsidiary.
Mozambique: Transport Minister’s brother appointed head of Beira coal port company.

Montenegro: Two bids received for 250 MW coal unit at Pljevlja power station.

UK: US$6.2 million grant for study on proposed Scottish 570 MW coal gasification plant with CCS.

“The demand situation in China [for thermal coal] has deteriorated over the last few months much faster than we had expected,”

said Georgi S. Slavov of the commodity brokerage Marex Spectron.

companies + markets

Two UK coal mines to shut after subsidy bid rejected: Two of the United Kingdom’s three remaining deep underground coal mines will close after the government rejected a request for US$502 million to extend their operating lives by three years. The Minister of State for Business, Matthew Hancock, said the magnitude of the subsidy sought for the Kellingley and Thoresby mines “does not represent value for money.” The mines are slated to close by the end of 2015. (BBC)

Export-Import Bank of China backs Indonesian coal plant: The Export-Import Bank of China has agreed to loan US$1.2 billion to the Indonesian government-owned coal company PT Bukit Assam for the construction of the 1240 MW Bangko Tengah coal plant at the Tanjung Enim in South Sumatra. The US$1.59 billion power plant is proposed to be built by Huadian Bukit Asam Power, a joint venture company between Chinese state-owned electricity company China Huadian and Bukit Assam. (Nikkei Asian Review, CoalSwarm)
Thai power forecast challenged: The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) claims that electricity demand in southern Thailand is growing by 5 per cent a year, a figure it uses to justify its proposed Krabi power plant. However, Kasetsart University economics lecturer Dr Decharat Sukkamnerd argues that power demand in the south has fallen in the last three years and that with a current reserve margin of over 30 per cent, no more power plants are required before 2025. (The Nation)

Rio Tinto strands its own mine: Fifteen years after Rio Tinto gained approval for a 10.5 million-tonnes-a-year Mount Pleasant mine in the New South Wales Hunter Valley the project hasn’t progressed as it doesn’t meet the company’s financial performance targets. “The pressure really is on capital and we're competing not only globally but we're competing internally with other projects within Rio Tinto,” said Rio Tinto Coal Australia managing director Chris Salisbury. (ABC News)

“It is paradoxical to sell products that enable a set of activities that will cause immense costs … Would it be possible to say we will simply not insure these assets [coal power plants] in 20 years?,”

Jeremy Oppenheim, a director at consultants McKinsey and head of the New Climate Economy project, asked a meeting of the Association of British Insurers.


Subsidies to Coal and Renewable Energy in Turkey, International Institute for Sustainable Development, March 2015. (Available in both English and Turkish).

As the Turkish Government pushes for investment in a raft of new coal plants this report estimates that in 2013 subsidies to the coal industry already amounted to US$730 million. The report argues that if direct and indirect costs are included, renewables are already cheaper than new coal plants.
The Galilee Basin, The Sunrise Project, March 2015.

This new website provides detailed background information and resources on the impacts of the ten proposed coal mines in the Galilee Basin.

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