May 7, 2015
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Can Myanmar Afford To Burn Coal?

“On April 28, The Myanmar Times reported that the Myanmar government has so far signed 12 provisional contracts for coal-powered electricity-generating stations … The fault of this flawed power policy does not solely lie with the government. Behind the scenes foreign companies have been advising and lobbying them on the new national strategy for energy generation. Energy giants don’t make their money from solar power. It isn’t hard to join the dots,” writes Mark Farmaner, the director of Burma Campaign UK.

Suggested Tweet: Can #Myanmar afford to burn #coal? asks @MarkFarmaner #climate

How China Produced More Coal Than It Thought in 2013 – and Why That Means It May Cut Emissions Faster

“When China released its latest economic data all anyone talked about was the dramatic 2.9% fall in coal consumption. But there was another bombshell tucked away in the official communique that could have a major bearing on China’s coal use and carbon emissions in years to come. Though there was a decrease in coal production and consumption from 2013 to 2014, the absolute level for 2013 had been revised upwards by 400-600 million tonnes (from 3.62 to 4.05 billion) … It may mean China has burnt more coal than we thought, but because the [coal consumption] targets are set, it also means it can now burn far less than thought,” writes Lauri Myllyvirta.

Suggested Tweet: How #China produced more #coal than it thought in 2013 & why that means it may cut emissions faster @laurimyllyvirta


Canadian First Nation welcomes deal to buy out Klappan coal licences

The Tahltan Central Council (TCC) has welcomed the US$15.1 million purchase of 61 coal licences in the Klappan and Sacred Headwaters area in British Columbia. Under the deal brokered by the provincial government, a publicly-owned railway company bought the licences from Fortune Minerals and Posco Canada. However, the companies retain a 10-year option to buy them back at the same price should the TCC agree to the development of the area. In 2013 the Tahltan Nation blockaded work at Fortune Minerals proposed Arctos metallurgical coal mine. The TCC, which continues to oppose the proposed coal mine, has agreed to develop a long-term management plan with the provincial government to protect the cultural and environmental values of the Sacred Headwaters area. (Tahltan Central Council, Business Vancouver)

Suggested Tweet: Canadian First Nation welcomes deal to buy out Klappan #coal licences

Australian farmer’s refusal to sell blocks coal company’s expansion plan

Wendy Bowman, a sixth generation farmer, has stopped in its tracks a plan by Yancoal to expand its Ashton mine in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. In December 2014 the Land and Environment Court approved Yancoal’s proposed mine expansion but imposed a condition that it could only proceed if the company purchased Ms Bowman’s 190-hectare farm. As she is refusing to sell her farm, Yancoal appealed against the initial decision. In mid-April the court rejected the company’s appeal. Yancoal – which is a subsidiary of the Chinese company Yanzhou Coal – said it is reviewing the decision. (Newcastle Herald)

top news

300 priests rally against new coal plant: 300 Catholic priests led a prayer rally against a proposed 600 megawatt (MW) coal power station proposed to be built in Batangas City. The rally was held outside a committee hearing of the Batangas City council, which is considering a permit application for the proposed plant. The council has asked JG Summit Holdings and church leaders to present their arguments at a hearing to be scheduled for later in May. (Inquirer)

Adani’s Galilee mine claims shattered in court testimony: The Queensland Land Court has been told by Adani’s own financial consultant on the Carmichael coal mine that he would not invest in the project. The company’s claims that it would create 10,000 jobs and be viable have also been contradicted. Adani Mining’s group financial controller, Rajesh Kumar Gupta, told the court that it had received a US$680 million loan from Standard Chartered Bank in the UK for the project, contrary to the bank’s commitment that it wouldn’t support the project. (Sydney Morning Herald, Guardian)

Concerns raised about coal ash dam liners: In response to a North Carolina law requiring Duke Energy to move coal ash from leaking tailings dams by 2019, the company is seeking approval for new plastic-lined landfills at three of its power station sites. While shifting the coal ash – which contains heavy metals – to safer locations has been broadly welcomed, many residents are concerned that the liners will fail. (News & Observer)
Thousands turn out to oppose Myanmar coal plants: Over 6000 people turned out to a rally oppose a proposed 1280 MW coal plant near the township of Ye in southern Myanmar.  The government entered into an agreement with the Thai-based Japanese company Toyo-Thai Corporation on April 9 despite the concern of villagers about pollution. Another coal plant proposed to be built in the western state of Rakhine by a consortium which includes the Korean company Daewoo, is also facing public opposition. (Myanmar Times, Radio Free Asia)

Indian MP charged over coal allocation: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recommended that Naveen Jindal, the Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power and a member of the Indian Parliament, face charges for bribes allegedly paid by the company for the allocation of Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block in Jharkhand. The CBI has also recommended prosecuting five firms and nine others over the coal allocation including the former Minister of State for Coal, Dasari Narayan Rao, and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda. (Times of India, Economic Times)

“Climate change is already a reality. From an ethical perspective the focus of the investing bodies must be on assisting the transition to a low carbon economy. The Church has a moral responsibility to speak and act on both environmental stewardship and justice for the world's poor who are most vulnerable to climate change. This responsibility encompasses not only the Church's own work to reduce our own carbon footprint, but also how the Church's money is invested and how we engage with companies on this vital issue,”

says Reverend Canon Professor Richard Burridge, Deputy Chair of the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group announcing that the church would divest from most companies with thermal coal interests.


Australia: Shenhua mine faces legal challenge over threat to local koala population.

Bangladesh: Environmental conference calls for Rampal and Orion power plants to be dropped.

Canada: Fraser Surrey Docks wants permit change for direct loading to ships rather than barges.
India: NTPC renews interest in 4000 MW Tilaiya power project after Reliance Power withdraws.

Mongolia: Deal to offload Rio Tinto’s troubled coal subsidiary collapses.

UK: Glencore’s involvement with London Garden Bridge project dismissed as greenwashing.

“Although climate change issues are part of the political, societal and regulatory landscape, we do not believe that the global energy reality will economically support carbon measures that would prevent us from fully utilising our fossil fuel reserves. Nor will shareholders be prevented from realising the full value of Glencore’s fossil fuel assets,”

wrote Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Glencore, dismissing the risk of stranded assets in the company’s Sustainability Report 2014.

companies + markets

Mozambique coal sector vulnerable, warns Fitch: In a review of the Mozambique economy the financial analyst firm Fitch Ratings has warned that the “potential development of the coal sector is being undermined by high transportation costs and low prices.” While the firm assumes that infrastructure development to cater for an expansion of the coal sector will continue it warns that “sustained low commodity prices” could “erode external debt sustainability and jeopardises the development of the coal and LNG sectors.” (Fitch Ratings)

Goldman Sachs looks to offload Colombian mines: Goldman Sachs is reportedly investigating the sale of its Colombian coal mines which export coal through the Rio Cordoba port owned and operated by Drummond. While Goldman Sachs’s mines had a nominal production capacity of over five million tonnes a year – along with major expansion potential – they have been constrained by labour disputes and the failure of Drummond to comply with new environmental regulations affecting coal loaders at the port. (SNL, Wall Street Journal)

Church of England divests from most thermal coal: The Church of England has announced that neither it nor The Church of England Pensions Board will make “any direct investments in any company where more than 10 per cent of its revenues are derived from the extraction of thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands.” In its new climate change policy the church said that these “are the activities from which there is a pressing need to re-direct investment and the companies with whom there is least scope for productive engagement.” (Church of England, Church of England)
Poland’s Kompania Weglowa hunts for investors: Kompania Weglowa, the government-owned coal company and the largest coal miner in the European Union, is seeking investment of US$1 billion to enable a restructuring to proceed. After losing US$670 million in 2014, the government proposed the debt-laden company shut four mines but, after protests from unions, decided to sell them to another state-owned company. It is now seeking to raise funds to enable a new entity, Nowa Kompania Weglowa, to operate 11 of the more profitable mines. (Reuters)

Consortium wants to call time-out on CCS project: Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) – which is proposing a 300 MW coal plant with carbon capture and storage – has requested the California Energy Commission delay its certification proceedings by six months while the company seeks to find a new customer for its carbon dioxide. HECA recently informed the commission that negotiations with another company of a carbon dioxide off-take agreement had collapsed. Environmental groups and residents have requested the commission terminate the plant’s certification proceedings. (The Bakersfield Californian)

US export funding limits curb Egyptian coal plans: The Chairman of TAQA Arabia, Abu Bakr, says its investigation of building new coal-fired power stations in Egypt has been temporarily shelved because Obama administration policy bans public funding for international coal plants in all but exceptional circumstances. TAQA Arabia is the largest private sector energy distributor in Egypt. (Energy Collective)


An overview of Adani Enterprises’ Corporate Restructuring, Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, May 2015. (Pdf)

This report reviews the recent corporate restructuring by the Indian company Adani Enterprises, including its push into solar. The report concludes the restructuring means Adani’s proposal for the Galilee Basin mine and related infrastructure are far less attractive for banks to finance.

Mining, Resettlement and Lost Livelihoods: Listening to the voices of resettled communities in Mualadzi, Mozambique, Oxfam, May 2015. (Pdf)

This report examines the involuntary resettlement of 3600 people for the Benga coal mine in Mozambique which has been developed by Riversdale Mining, then Rio Tinto and now the Indian public sector consortium International Coal Ventures Limited. The report finds that most of those resettled have been left worse off.

The End of Coal: Coal Finance Report Card 2015, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack and the Sierra Club, May 2015. (Pdf)

This report finds financing of coal projects has changed little from 2013 levels. However, it notes the trend for more banks to reject destructive projects and practices such as coal mines in the Galilee Basin in Australia and mountaintop mining in Appalachia.

take action

Indonesian President Jokowi: Stop the Central Java Coal Plant!

The Indonesian government is trying to build a polluting 2000 MW coal plant in Central Java. For three years – in the face of tremendous odds and harassment – local villagers have resisted the project. A sign-on petition to President Jokowi supporting the villagers and their efforts to stop dirty coal and promote clean energy is here.

Suggested Tweet: Tell #Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo: stop the Central Java #coal plant! Sign on petition here


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