Russia’s war means fossil fuels will peak within five years, IEA says
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global energy crisis have “turbo-charged” the shift away from fossil fuels, with the IEA estimating fossil fuel use will peak within five years, writes Simon Evans in Carbon Brief.
Indian state government urges cancellation of coal mine permit in Hasdeo Arand forest
The Chhattisgarh Government has urged the Modi Government to cancel the forest clearance approval issued to a state power utility for the development of the Parsa coal mine in the Hasdeo Arand forest, write Ritesh Mishra and Sachin Saini in the Hindustan Times.
Indian journalist hit by arrest warrant due to Adani defamation claim
The Delhi Union of Journalists has condemned Adani launching a defamation case against freelance journalist Ravi Nair ostensibly over a series of Tweets. Nair recently revealed community opposition to the Adani Group’s proposed Pench coal plant in Madhya Pradesh, writes Geoff Law in Adani Watch.
First Nations group welcomes rejection of Glencore’s NSW mine expansion plan
Scott Franks and Robert Lester from the Plains Clans of the Wonnarua People have welcomed the decision of the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission to reject Glencore’s proposed expansion of its Glendell open-cut coal mine expansion in the New South Wales Hunter Valley. The commission found the proposed mine expansion would have “significant, irreversible and unjustified impacts on the historic heritage values of the Ravensworth Homestead complex” and was therefore “not in the public interest”. The homestead complex is considered of high heritage value. Heritage NSW notes the site is “connected to the story of dispossession and displacement of Aboriginal people” in the Hunter Valley region. Franks said the homestead should be placed in the state heritage register and “become a site of reconciliation.” (Guardian, Lock the Gate, Independent Planning Commission [Pdf])
UN agency says the rate of decline of coal power must accelerate: A recent report by UNEP estimates current policies put the world on track to 2.6°C of heating above pre-industrial levels. The agency warns that a temperature increase of up to 4°C cannot be ruled out due to climate modelling uncertainties. The report estimates that implementing net-zero emissions policies adopted by 88 countries responsible for about 79 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions could limit global heating to about 1.7°C. The report argues that the share of power generation from unabated coal “needs to fall to zero or near zero in 2030, requiring the pace of change to accelerate by about six times in the next eight years.” (Carbon Brief, United National Environment Programme [Pdf])
International Energy Agency tips coal uptick to fade: The IEA estimates that current government policies will result in the recent uptick in coal use fading within the next few years, with coal generation declining as renewable deployment accelerates. The IEA estimates that in its Stated Policies Scenario, global coal use will decrease gradually by 30 per cent by 2050 from the 5.6 billion tonnes of coal equivalent consumed in 2021. In the more aggressive Announced Policies Scenario, the IEA estimates that coal consumption will fall by 20 per cent by 2030 and 70 per cent by 2050, with peaks in China “in the early 2020s” and in India later this decade. In its Net Zero Emissions Scenario, the IEA estimates thermal coal use would decline by half and metallurgical coking coal by 30 per cent by 2030. (Guardian, International Energy Agency)
Eskom closes the last unit at Komati coal plant: Eskom has decommissioned the last operating unit at the Komati power station in Mpumalanga province. The final unit, which had a capacity of about 121 megawatts (MW), was the last of nine units built between 1961 and 1964 to give the plant a combined total of 1000 MW. The plant was mothballed in 1990, but the units were recommissioned after 2008. Eskom has announced that the Komati plant site will be redeveloped as a new training centre for renewable energy with solar, wind and battery capacity built on the site. (News24, BusinessTech, Global Energy Monitor)
US coal backers pour US$550,000 into Oakland election campaign: Jonathan Brooks from JMB Capital, the company seeking to operate a coal export terminal at Oakland, has contributed US$550,000 to Californians for Safer Streets, a group that is campaigning for the election of Ignacio De La Fuente as the mayor of Oakland City Council. De La Fuente supports the development of the coal terminal. Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, a company owned by Phil Tagami seeking to build the port and currently engaged in legal action with the council over the current ban on coal, has also contributed US$50,000 to Californians for Safer Streets. Individual contributions to candidate campaigns are capped at US$900. Unlimited contributions are allowed to independent campaign committees on the proviso that campaign activities are not coordinated with the candidates they are backing. The election will be held on November 8. (San Jose Mercury News, No Coal in Oakland)
UK delays decision on new coal mine until after climate summit: The UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has once again delayed a decision on West Cumbria Mining’s application for planning permission for the proposed Whitehaven mine in Cumbria. The decision, which has now been delayed three times by the government, was due to be announced by November 8. The department says the decision will be notified by December 8. Friends of the Earth UK said it was disappointing the government didn’t “rebuild its battered green credentials” by rejecting the mine ahead of the global climate talks in Egypt, which start next week. The proposed underground metallurgical coal mine is opposed by residents, environmental groups and the UK Government’s own climate advisory body. (BBC, Friends of the Earth UK)
Turkish police arrest 25 after deadly mine blast: Turkish police have detained 25 people, including the manager of the Amasra coal mine, where a methane explosion killed 41 workers. Eleven more workers were injured. The mine is operated by the government-owned company Turkish Hard Coal Institution. Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the cause of the explosion, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating that “no one would be spared”. However, unions and opposition parties argue mine safety has improved little under Erdogan after the 2014 Soma mine explosion that killed 301 workers. (Ahval)
Former Eskom boss and his wife charged: South Africa’s National Prosecution Authority (NPA) arrested former Eskom acting chief executive Matshela Koko, his wife Mosima and his stepdaughter, Koketso Choma. The NPA alleges that in 2015 Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), a Swiss engineering company, contracted Impulse International to install instrumentation systems at the 4800 MW Kusile power station. Impulse International was awarded contracts worth 845 million rand (US$46.6 million) by Eskom and ABB between 2014 and July 2017. Choma became a shareholder in Impulse in 2016, with the NPA alleging she gained 20 million rand (US$1.1 million) from the contract, with some of this paid to Mosima Koko. Koko and his wife reject the allegations. The former Eskom executive denies he initially knew of Choma’s shareholding in Impulse International and, when he became aware of the issue, directed her to offload it. (News24)
Energy Community initiates action against Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Energy Community has initiated action against the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for breaching pollution limits mandated by the Large Combustion Plants Directive. The continued operation of the 200 MW Tuzla 4 and 110 MW Kakanj 5 lignite-fired units is at issue. Both units were allowed to run for up to 20,000 hours after January 1 2018 without installing pollution upgrades when the directive came into effect. However, the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina has agreed to keep the plants operating until January 1 2028. The Energy Community said the plants’ continued operation is a “clear breach of the obligations” of the government, with the air pollution from the units “responsible for severe health and environmental damage.” Bosnia and Herzegovina has two months to respond to the decision of the Energy Community to open a case against it. (Energy Community)
“My message to the youth of today: Do not take up careers with the climate wreckers. I urge you to be the generation that succeeds in addressing the planetary emergency of climate change,”
Tweeted Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Australia: A 460 MW unit at the Callide plant in Queensland will be offline for three weeks after part of the cooling equipment collapsed. The unit was commissioned in 2001.
Australia: At the request of NSW Police, activists in Victoria, ACT and Queensland were visited by police telling them not to attend a protest outside a mining industry conference in Sydney.
Colombia: Cerrejon restarts its mine after protests had blocked access roads and the rail line.
Tesla backed away from a deal with Glencore over coal risk: Tesla was in discussions last year over the possibility of buying a 10–20 per cent stake in the global commodities company Glencore. Tesla has previously flagged its potential interest in securing access to commodities required for electric vehicle manufacturing. Glencore is the world’s biggest producer of cobalt which is necessary for battery manufacturing. However, anonymous sources told the Financial Times that the discussions stalled over Telsa’s concern about the risk to its environmental reputation if it invested in Glencore, the world’s largest thermal coal exporter. (Financial Times [Paywall])
US utility backs closing coal units but going slow on renewables: AES Indiana has proposed converting two 670 MW coal units at its Peterburg Generating Station in Indiana to run on gas in 2025. AES closed the smallest and oldest unit at the plant in mid-2021, with the 670 MW unit 2 scheduled to close in May 2023. The Petersburg plant has been labelled one of the country’s worst air and water polluters. Aside from converting the units to a 1052 MW gas plant using the existing pipeline, AES proposes to install or buy 500 to 900 MW of new wind capacity by 2027. It also flags longer-term plans for 450 MW of batteries, 1450 MW solar and 300 MW of additional wind capacity by 2034. The Sierra Club criticised the company for its preference for gas, the delay in investing in solar and batteries, and their limited support for wind. (Indiana Business Journal, Sierra Club)
Transition funding deal for Vietnam uncertain: An international coalition of countries – the US, European Union, UK, France and Germany – has reportedly proposed about US$2 billion in concessional loans and small grants to Vietnam as part of a package to support a shift away from new coal plants. Vietnam has proposals for eight new coal plants, with seven already under construction. Vietnamese officials are reportedly disappointed with the limited discount on loans and the small size of the grants proposed. Vietnam is also struggling with complex internal politics, with some government agencies hostile to increased renewables capacity and strongly supportive of new coal plants. A European Union official said on condition of anonymity that “we are quite far away from an agreement.” It was intended for an agreement to be announced at the global climate negotiations, which commence on November 7 in Egypt. The Climate Investment Funds, an affiliate of the World Bank, has announced it will provide US$500 million in concessional finance to South Africa and Indonesia to support a transition from coal power. (CNA, Bloomberg)
Blackouts hit four million customers as two coal plants go offline: Manila Electric Company estimates that over 4 million customers suffered blackouts as two coal plants and a geothermal project went offline due to Tropical Storm Paeng. The 960 MW Quezon Power Philippines plant had a problem with its feedwater control unit, and two of the three units at the 1155 MW Pagbilao coal plant also went offline. (Manila Standard)
Pakistan and China to discuss the fate of the Gwadar coal plant: The Chinese consortium that proposed the 330 MW imported coal plant at the port of Gwadar is reluctant to change the plant to run on low-grade Thar coal or shift the plant to near the mine site. The company is also wary of converting the proposal to a solar project. Pakistan has ruled out new imported coal plants. CHIC Pak Power Company has reportedly told government agencies that transporting domestic coal to Gwadar would involve high additional costs and combustion risks due to the high water content of Thar lignite. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a mine-mouth plant based on Thar lignite would require a new feasibility study. Changes to projects sponsored under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor need the support of the Joint Cooperation Committee involving officials from both governments, with the dispute likely to be discussed during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s two-day visit to Beijing this week. (Business Recorder)
Global alliance drops commitment to end coal financing: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) has abandoned its requirement for members to sign up for the UN’s Race to Zero campaign that requires members to “phase out development, financing and facilitation of new unabated fossil fuel assets, including coal”. GFANZ says members are now “encouraged, but not required” to support Race to Zero. The shift follows reports that US banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, threatened to end their involvement in GFANZ and the Net Zero Banking Alliance unless the requirement was dropped. The US banks argued that US regulations meant they could not support the condition and could make them vulnerable to legal actions brought by pro-coal states. Reclaim Finance said that irrespective of the change, the alliances and banks still had to address the fact that there is no scope for financing new coal or other fossil fuel projects to achieve the goals of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The Sierra Club said GFANZ and its alliances must determine how to “guide” members to science-aligned policies. (Reuters, Reclaim Finance, Sierra Club)
HSBC challenged over bonds used for fossil fuel projects: Data from finance industry sources reveal that as part of its plan to provide US$1 trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030, HSBC has raised US$2.4 billion for coal and other fossil fuel projects, deforestation and air travel. HSBC has raised funds via sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs) and “green bonds” with limited restrictions. Sean Kidney from the Climate Bonds Initiative described the SLBs market as “deeply compromised”. HSBC has raised funds for Worley, a company that plays a significant role in the coal and oil and gas industries and the China Construction Bank, which helped raise US$34 billion in 2021 for companies with thermal coal mine and power plant projects. (Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
World Energy Outlook 2022, International Energy Agency, October 2022. (Pdf)
The 524-page World Energy Outlook provides a detailed assessment of potential scenarios and their impact on energy demand. Chapter 9 of the report provides an 18-page overview of the likely trends with solid fuels, predominantly coal.
Global South Climate Database, Carbon Brief.
This online database lists over 400 scientists and experts from 80 countries in the Global South available to speak to journalists. The database currently has a limited number of experts on coal issues.
The Impact of Renewables in ERCOT, IdeaSmiths, October 2022. (Pdf)
This 21-page report estimates that increased solar and wind generation have saved Texas residents between US$39 and US$106 billion over the past 12 years by reducing fossil fuel use, water consumption and pollution.