CoalWire 65, 28th November 2014

New Endcoal website

The new Endcoal website and resource centre for the global anti-coal movement features detailed background information on the problems with coal and solutions to meet global energy needs. The site also hosts the Coal Plant Tracker, a new interactive map and database that tracks all planned coal plants around the world since 2010. Please help spread the word.

features

Decline in China’s coal consumption steepens

“In October, Chinese coal production dropped 8.5 per cent, imports dropped 17 per cent (for the third month in a row), and coal-fired power generation dropped 6 per cent. This brought the coal production drop during the first 10 months of 2014 to 1.5 per cent and drop in imports to 8 per cent, while thermal power generation was still 0.1 per cent larger than last year. So what does this mean for China’s coal consumption this year, and for the following years?,” writes Lauri Myllyvirta in Greenpeace’s Energy Desk.

Suggested Tweet: Decline in #China’s #coal consumption steepens – how do we know and what does it mean? http://bit.ly/1HETowK @laurimyllyvirta

Peabody Fakes Social Media Campaign to Lobby G20 Leaders

“Earlier this year US coal giant Peabody Energy launched a social media campaign to promote coal as an ‘advanced energy’ that will solve energy poverty in the developing world. Called ‘Advanced Energy for Life’ (AEfL), the campaign was launched in February, 2014 and now has, according to chief operating officer Glenn Kellow, prompted ‘500,000 people to lobby G20 leaders on the issue of energy poverty’. Unfortunately for anyone that takes Peabody at its word, the campaign appears to have been faked,” writes Greg McNevin from TckTckTck in Climate Spectator.

Suggested Tweet: @PeabodyEnergy fakes “#LightsOnProject” grassroots campaign to pressure #G20 leaders http://bit.ly/1qYDsAI http://bit.ly/11NlzIF #Coal

Coal’s black wind: Pregnant women in parts of India advised to stay away

“In some regions of India, a married woman will return to her mother’s house for the last trimester of pregnancy and the birth of her child. But in Mettur, pregnant women are advised by their doctors to stay away. ‘Black wind’ from a coal yard wafts constantly across poor neighborhoods, settling on rooftops, walking paths and even indoor furniture. People complain of asthma, wheezing and frequent colds,” writes Lindsey Konkel in Environmental Health News.

Suggested Tweet: Indian doctors tell pregnant women to stay away due to air pollution from #coal http://bit.ly/1C7zmLa

top news

German Government debates coal plant closures: The German Government is contemplating the closure of as much as 10,000 megawatts (MW) of old coal-fired power stations as a way of meeting the country’s 2020 target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Goldman Sachs analysts have concluded that as all older coal plants are making losses it sees “no material downside risk for earnings of RWE and EON from closing older hard coal facilities.”(Deutsche Welle, Reuters)

Colombian companies under pressure to settle grievances: Five European power companies have issued a public appeal to Drummond to address the needs of the victims of human rights abuses which occurred near its coal mine. The appeal was issued during a tour of the mine by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, and power company representatives.  Drummond refused to allow a representative of the human rights group, PAX, to visit the mine site as a part of the delegation. (PAX)

European coal pollution imposes heavy toll: The European Environment Agency (EEA), which advises the European Union, has estimated that in 2012 air pollution imposed health and other social costs of up to US$235 billion. The report estimated that of the 30 most polluting industrial sources, 26 were coal or lignite power stations, with the majority in Germany and Eastern Europe.(Reuters, European Environment Agency)

BHP Billiton tight-lipped on Indonesian mine: At the annual general meeting of BHP Billiton’s annual general meeting the Chairman of BHP Billiton, Jac Nasser, declined to directly answer whether the company has undertaken an environmental impact statement on the Haju mine, the first stage of its billion tonne IndoMet Coal Project. Nor did Nasser indicate whether the company supported free, prior and informed consent of customary landowners before mines in the areas proceeded. (New Matilda)

Legal challenge to US federal coal leasing program: The Western Organization of Resource Councils and Friends of the Earth, with the support of Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, has filed a lawsuit aimed at requiring the Bureau of Land Management to undertake an environmental impact statement of its entire federal coal leasing program. The last environment review was done in 1979 but did not address climate change. (Western Organization of Resource Councils, Huffington Post)

US Judge bins proposed settlement: A Kentucky judge has rejected a proposed $310,000 settlement between Frasure Creek Mining and Kentucky environmental regulators over the submission of falsified water pollution data. Judge Phillip J. Shepherd ruled that the proposed settlement was against the public interest and – given the companies could have faced a fine of US$38 million – would create a “regulatory climate where cheating pays.” (The Courier Journal)

“It [an international climate change agreement] is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground,”

said Todd Stern, the US Special Envoy for Climate Change.

news

Australia: NSW Premier vows to fast-track mining projects and penalise protestors if re-elected.

Italy: Power plant closures and steel industry woes trigger eleven per cent fall in coal imports.

India: Jindal cancels US$10 billion coal-to-liquids and power project after coal block cancellation.

South Africa: Process for 2500 MW of private coal power project bids to be unveiled by year end.

US: Supreme Court to hear industry challenge against EPA mercury regulation in 2015.

US: Coal ship owner to pay US$850,000 for reef damage after Hawaii grounding in 2010.

“With banks baulking at funding the ­billions needed to build the mines, railway and upgraded ports facilities necessary for the export of coal from the Galilee [Basin in Queensland] to go ahead, it’s the politicians who need it to go ahead who are waving around the money,”

wrote journalist Andrew Fraser in The Australian.

companies + markets

BHP Billiton refuses to exit thermal coal:At the company’s annual general meeting BHP Billiton Chairman, Jac Nasser, refused to rule out further investments in thermal coal projects and infrastructure. While Nasser said the company accepted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “assessment of climate change science” he claimed that “there are no real alternatives for the growing demand of energy over the next decade.”(RenewEconomy)

Bumi Resources tries to stave off bondholders legal action: Indonesia’s largest coal exporter, Bumi Resources, has obtained a six-month reprieve from legal action by bondholders after it defaulted on making a payment on a part of its US$1.37 billion of bonds. At the end of June Bumi Resources had US$7 billion in liabilities and total debts of US$3.6 billion. In 2013 the company produced 80 million tonnes of coal.(Bloomberg)

Polish government wants private utilities to buy coal mines: The Treasury Minister, Wlodzimierz Karpinski, has flagged that state-owned power utilities may need to buy loss-making coal mines “if it addresses solutions good for Poland’s energy security or stability of supplies.” However, the minister stated that even if utilities bought some mines the government-owned coal companies would still require “deep” restructuring. (Bloomberg)

Indonesia’s coal production tumbles: In the first ten months of 2014 Indonesian coal production fell by 7.5 percent compared to the same period in 2013, the first recorded decline in 30 years. In 2013 Indonesia produced an estimated 444 million tonnes of coal of which 356 million tonnes were exported. (Reuters)

Norwegian pension fund outed: The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPF), has US$12 billion invested in 158 companies in the coal sector. A report by Urgewald, Greenpeace Norway and the Future in our Hands found that GPF had investments in companies producing 3.3 billion tonnes of coal annually, 42% of the global total. Earlier this year the fund’s manager stated that GPF interest in coal companies amounted to only US$370 million.(Urgewald)

Canadian export terminal expansion shelved: An eight million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) expansion of the Ridley Terminal in northern British Columbia has been shelved for at least five years. Coal and petroleum coke exports through the port have fallen by 38 per cent in 2014. In 2011 the capacity of the terminal was expanded from 12 Mtpa to 18 Mtpa. (Globe and Mail)

“Despite coal industry assertions that coal is required to lift developing nations out of energy poverty, we suspect that a variety of cleaner technologies will play a substantial role. Coal appears projected to play a minor role compared with hydro, gas, renewables and mini-grid/off-grid systems. To us, it looks almost like an ‘everything but coal’ scenario,”

states Citi in a new report, Climate Policy and Energy Outlook Developments.

resources                      take action

“Germany’s energy transition”, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, November 23, 2014.

As the debate over a coal phase-out in Germany increases, this article provides a useful overview of the Energiewende and the role of coal.

The Equator Principles and financing of coal projects in the Galilee Basin, Australian Conservation Foundation, November 2014. (Pdf)

This report argues that the likely impact of the proposed Galilee Basin mines is incompatible with the four main Australian banks’ stated support for the Equator Principles, a set of voluntary social and environmental standards for private banks.

Low-carbon development in South Asia: Leapfrogging to a green future, Christian Aid and Climate Action Network South Asia, November 2014.

This report outlines a low-carbon energy strategy in South Asia with a particular focus on Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Tell the Commonwealth Bank to dump Adani

If you are a Commonwealth Bank of Australia customer, please send a letter urging them to withdraw from supporting Adani’s proposed massive mines in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. The letter is here.