Anna

Anna's Blog Posts

New Database Reveals World’s Biggest Coal Plant Developers

A new website, coalexit.org, reveals which companies are at the forefront of plans to expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by a staggering 42.8%. The site identifies the top 120 companies responsible for two thirds of the new coal power stations planned around the globe. All in all, these 120 companies aim to build over 550,000 MW of new coal power plants – this is approximately 2.5 times greater than India’s entire coal plant fleet.

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UNESCO to Bangladesh: Cancel Rampal coal plant, or Sundarbans could be added to List of World Heritage in Danger in 2017

In October, the monitoring mission of the World Heritage Committee, conducted by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), recommended that the Rampal coal plant project be “cancelled and relocated to a more suitable location where it would not impact negatively” on the Sundarbans Reserved Forest and the Sundarbans World Heritage site. The mission concluded that should Rampal or other risky development proceed, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee should consider adding the Sundarbans to its List of World Heritage in Danger at its annual session in 2017.

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China cracks down on new coal-fired power plants

China is cracking down on its severe and growing coal power overcapacity crisis. The National Energy Administration (NEA) has ordered 13 provincial governments to stop issuing approvals for new coal-fired power plants until the end of 2017. It has also told 15 provinces to stop building new coal power plants that have already been approved. A Greenpeace analysis says this could affect up to 250 coal-fired power plant units with a collective capacity of 170GW. Despite the new rules, more than 570 coal-fired units with 300GW of capacity could yet come online.

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Coal mining sector running out of time, says Citigroup

US banking giant Citigroup says the global coal industry is set for further pain, predicting an acceleration of mine closures, liquidations and bankruptcies. The value of listed coal companies monitored by Citi has shrunk from $50bn (£32bn) in 2012 to $18bn in 2015, a trend it believes will continue.

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Heavy Rains in Vietnam Cause an Avalanche of Coal Waste, Threatening Communities and Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site  

Over the past two days, heavy seasonal rains in northeastern Vietnam have flooded local communities with industrial coal waste and threatened the safety of citizens, wildlife and the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site. Cam Pha City has already been flooded with an avalanche of coal mining waste and a second community is being evacuated. News photos and video footage from Cam Pha show men, women and children wading through thick mud contaminated with coal waste as they flee their homes.

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Chile’s Endesa says no new coal

Chile’s Diario Financiero newspaper reported on 27th July that one of Chile’s largest generators, Endesa, will no longer build coal plants in Chile and has abandoned the controversial Punta Alcalde coal project.

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Ukraine’s coal industry hits a wall, but who will pay for the fallout?

From 2005 to 2013, international commercial banks invested more than 1.5 billion euro in Ukraine’s coal industry, fuelling a massive increase in coal-fired power generation and mining. The country is now paying a high price for this investment. The country is torn by a conflict around the fossil fuel-producing Donbas region, and Ukraine has been left with a highly inefficient and decaying energy sector.

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Indonesia Stakes its Future on Coal

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo is staking the country’s future on a massive increase in coal-fired generating capacity. The government has announced plans to add 42,000 MW of new electricity capacity to the grid by 2024, around half of which would be coal. Instead of investing in renewable energy and addressing the very serious impacts of coal mining on local communities, the government is pursuing a rapid coal development strategy. The impacts could be enormous for the global climate and people's health.

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Coal mining: In the depths

This Economist article describes how in most countries the tide is turn against coal due to growing energy efficiency, rising pollution worries and stiffer competition from other fuels. Prices have been sliding, political opposition growing and demand dropping.

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Victory: coal power plant in Mauritius canceled

Environmentalists and locals have won the battle against a controversial 115 MW coal power plant on the small island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. The newly-elected government has announced that it "would consider other feasible options, with necessary transparency and clarity, to meet electricity demands for the period 2015-2019 and ensure energy security for Mauritius.”

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Norwegian pension fund gives clear message to banks on Rampal – stay out

The Norwegian Global Pension Fund divested from India's National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in early 2015 due to its investments in the controversial and destructive Rampal coal plant in Bangladesh. Private banks should now follow the lead of the Norwegian fund and publicly commit to not financing a project that spells disaster for the Sundarbans, a World Heritage Site and the world's largest mangrove forest.

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Norway’s sovereign wealth fund drops over 50 coal companies

The world’s richest sovereign wealth fund divested from over 50 coal companies in 2014, new analysis has revealed. The GPFG sold off its holdings in 53 coal companies in 2014, dumping 16 US companies including Peabody Energy and the mountain-top-removal companies Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources. The fund also dropped 13 Indian companies, including the giant Coal India.

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First Modi Budget Gives Coal a Risky Boost

The first Modi budget included the announcement of a number of Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) and saw India’s coal minister talking up a tripling of Indian coal mining to 1.5bn tons per annum by 2020. But is the Indian government putting its promise to electrify India at risk by relying on dirty energy just when coal is losing the battle with solar?

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China’s bursting coal bubble raises fear of stranded assets

China's love affair with coal has come to an abrupt end, with figures released last week showing that consumption fell in 2014 for the first time in 14 years. The shift in China’s demand could signal that the world’s second-largest economy has reached “peak coal”, whereby the country will make a long-term structural shift away from the dirty fuel towards a greater reliance on natural gas and renewables.

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EU silence on coal is telling

The EU's new energy strategy - known as the "Energy Union" - fails to mention coal even once, demonstrating that EU governments and policy makers do not buy the arguments of the coal lobbyists and no longer see coal as of strategic significance to the EU.

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Sundarbans Oil Spill Shows Why Bangladesh’s Rampal Coal Plant is a Bad Idea

A shipping collision in the Sundarbans World Heritage Area in Bangladesh has demonstrated the dangers of shipping coal, oil or other toxic products through the area. On 9th December the Southern Star-7 tanker, which was carrying about 350,000 litres of furnace oil, collided with another cargo vessel and sunk. The oil spill has apparently already reached 70 km on either side of the crash site, and continues its toxic spread.

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Central Kalimantan Railway Gets Thumbs Down from Jokowi Administration

The Indonesian Minister for National Development Planning said last week that he would not put the Central Kalimantan Railway in the Medium Term Development Plan for 2015-2019, thus withdrawing all central government support for the project. The project would not get the status of a Public Private Partnership and would not be provided with government guarantees.

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Chile’s Punta Alcalde coal plant postponed

Communities fighting the Punta Alcalde coal plant in Chile's northern Atacama region continue to fight for the project's permanent cancelation after parent company Enel announced that it was postponing the project due to a lack of demand for its electricity.

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Peabody coal fakes social media campaign to pressure G20 leaders

Earlier this year US coal giant Peabody Energy launched a social media campaign to promote coal in the developing world. Called "Advanced Energy for Life", the campaign now has, according to the company, “prompted 500,000 people to lobby G20 leaders on the issue of energy poverty”. But the campaign has been faked through buying Facebook supporters and Twitter followers.

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Peabody coal fakes social media campaign

Peabody Coal has bought hundreds of thousands of social media supporters for its Advanced Energy for Life campaign in order to fake grassroots support for its efforts to get the G20 to prioritise financing for new coal plants around the world.

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New Abbot Point dredge plan to dump spoils in wetlands

The Australian Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, appears poised to fast-track the approval of plans to dump millions of tonnes of dredge from a coal port expansion onto internationally significant wetlands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The government plans to assess the dumping of spoil from the proposed Abbot Point port expansion on the nearby Caley Valley wetlands under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act using "preliminary documentation".

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Artists, musicians, writers protest government plans for massive coal plant in the Sundarbans

Over the weekend, Bangladeshi artists performed plays, sang songs, and recited poetry all in a bid to protect the Sundarbans—the world's biggest mangrove forest—from the threat of a massive coal plant. Construction is already under way on the hugely controversial Rampal coal plant, a 1,320 megawatt plant set just 14 kilometers from the edge of the Sundarbans.

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As China and the US move away from coal, could global emissions really peak?

For the past decade, the two biggest reasons for despair for those who favour strong action to stop climate change, and the top two excuses for those who don’t, have been the rapid increase in coal-burning in China and inaction in the US.But in the past few years, to the surprise of many, both these countries have taken major steps away from coal. Their move opens up a crucial window of opportunity to achieve what many thought was a lost cause – a peak in global emissions of heat-trapping gases well before 2020.

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China to Ban Coal With High Ash, Sulfur

China will ban certain types of highly polluting coal starting next year, making good on a vow its cabinet issued late last year as part of an accelerating campaign to clean up its air. The directive from China's top economic-planning agency is aimed at low-grade coal mainly coming from Indonesia and Australia. But analysts say exporters likely would be spared from a harsher brunt because Beijing lowered its targets from earlier, tougher limits.

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