Archive | Coal

Spain Nears Life Without Coal Sooner Than Anyone Thought – by Akshat Rathi and Jeremy Hodges (Bloomberg News – January 22, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — From Galicia in the north to Andalucia in the south — Spain’s old coal plants are running out of steam. The Iberian nation last year cut use of the dirtiest fossil fuel faster than anyone else in western Europe as renewable energy and cleaner natural gas take over.

The combustible rock, which has kept the region humming through world wars and economic boom times, is increasingly out of favor with lawmakers and executives under pressure to do more to stop global warming.

“We are in a hurry, we have to move fast, everybody has to move fast,’’ Iberdrola SA Chief Executive Officer Ignacio Galan said on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Spanish utility plans to permanently shut its two remaining coal-fired power stations this year, replacing them with new wind and solar capacity. Continue Reading →

The Limits of Environmental Activism From BlackRock’s Larry Fink – by Nathaniel Taplin (Wall Street Journal – January 21, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

The world’s largest active manager has taken a meaningful step, but corporate finance is relatively powerless to curb carbon emission as coal assets move into state hands

Saving the planet needs coordination from Washington and Beijing, not New York and Hong Kong. Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, BLK -1.02% made waves last week with his pledge to push environmental concerns up the corporate agenda. The world’s largest asset manager will drop major power-coal producers from its actively managed funds by mid-2020, among other plans.

This is no mere publicity stunt: Even a modest change to the composition of $7 trillion under management is nothing to sniff at. But if BlackRock really wants to avoid coal, it needs to sharpen its divestment criteria.

And if other money managers don’t follow suit—particularly on the debt side—then the impact will be limited. Wall Street also has minimal ability to influence state-owned companies, which are now among the top coal producers. Continue Reading →

Exit stage left: the big miners moving away from coal – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 21, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Rio Tinto sold its last coal mines in 2018, becoming the first mining major to go coal-free. Since then other mining companies have followed Rio Tinto’s lead and exited the coal industry; could the days of mining majors investing in coal be numbered? We round up the big names leaving coal behind.

Anglo-Australian mining major Rio Tinto is the world’s second-largest mining company, and the first big mining company to divest from coal. It completed its exit from coal in August 2018 with the sale of its assets in Queensland, Australia.

The company sold its interests in the Hail Creek coal mine and Valeria coal development project to British-Swiss multinational Glencore for A$1.7bn, as well as its 80% interest in the Kestrel underground coal mine to a consortium comprising EMR Capital and PT Adaro Energy for A$2.25bn. Continue Reading →

Australian bushfires hit coal output, hazardous conditions to return – by Byron Kaye (Reuters Canada – January 21, 2020)

https://ca.reuters.com/

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Mining giant BHP Group (BHP.AX) said on Tuesday that poor air quality caused by smoke from Australia’s bushfires is hurting coal production, as authorities said a reprieve from hazardous fire conditions would end within days.

The warning from the world’s biggest miner showed how an unusually long bushfire season that has scorched an area one-third the size of Germany is damaging the world’s No. 14 economy.

Australia’s tourism and insurance industries have already foreshadowed they face a A$1 billion ($687 million) hit each from the fires. Scores of fires were still burning on the east coast on Tuesday despite thunderstorms and rain in recent days. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China coal imports to rebound in January, rest of 2020 is cloudy – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – January 20, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Jan 20 (Reuters) – China’s coal imports are likely to show an impressive bounce in January after customs delays crimped December clearances, but questions remain as to the outlook for 2020 as a whole.

December imports were just 2.27 million tonnes, according to customs data released on Jan. 14, taking the full year figure to 299.7 million tonnes, up 6.3% from 2018.

It’s clear that most cargoes that arrived in December weren’t cleared by customs, most likely as part of efforts to limit growth in annual coal imports. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Australia’s big bet on coal is about to go from economic saviour to liability as the country burns – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – January 18, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The Australian economy shares a few sorry traits with Canada’s. Both countries dig enormous amounts of dirty hydrocarbons out of the ground for export. Both made fortunes doing so, for decades. And both might now be questioning whether those wonder products were too much of a good thing as rising temperatures damage, and potentially devastate, natural systems.

Canada’s hydrocarbons come primarily from the oil in the oil sands, more accurately called the “tar sands” by Europeans. The oil sands enjoy sacred status in Alberta and in Ottawa.

The Janus-faced federal government imposes a carbon tax and promises to meet the carbon-reduction targets set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement yet creates the conditions, such as nationalizing a pipeline, to allow – make that encourage – the oil sands to expand. Continue Reading →

How Hard Is It to Quit Coal? For Germany, 18 Years and $44 Billion – by Somini Sengupta and Melissa Eddy (New York Times – January 16, 2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Germany announced on Thursday that it would spend $44.5 billion to quit coal — but not for another 18 years, by 2038. The move shows how expensive it is to stop burning the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, despite a broad consensus that keeping coal in the ground is vital to averting a climate crisis, and how politically complicated it is.

Coal, when burned, produces huge amounts of the greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for global warming. Germany doesn’t have shale gas, as the United States does, which has led to the rapid decline of coal use in America, despite President Trump’s support for coal.

Germany also faces intense opposition to nuclear power. After the Fukushima disaster in 2011, that opposition prompted the government to start shutting down the country’s nuclear plants, a transition that should be complete by 2022. Continue Reading →

Adani’s coal mine plans, and why coal is still so lucrative – by Jeannette Cwienk (Deutsche Welle – January 16, 2020)

https://www.dw.com/en/

According to the MCC, there are 256 coal-fired power plants with a
capacity of 246 gigawatts being built worldwide, as well as another
359 power plants with a capacity of 311 gigawatts in the planning phase.

Siemens’ support for Adani’s coal mine in Australia has outraged environmentalists, but it’s not a unique case. Hundreds of companies and countries around the world are planning to expand their coal activities. But why?

An estimated 500 tankers a year will travel back and forth between Australia and India in the future. Fully loaded with coal, they’ll sail right through the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, which is already under threat.

And that’s just one reason why environmental activists are outraged by Indian Adani Group’s plans for mining coal. Once completed, its Carmichael mine in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland will be one of the largest in the world, emitting 705 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year, according to climate protection alliance Fridays for Future. Continue Reading →

Joe Biden Thinks Coal Miners Should Learn to Code. A Real Just Transition Demands Far More. – by Mindy Isser (InTheseTimes.com – January 15, 2020)

https://inthesetimes.com

As of 2016, there were only 50,000 coal miners in the United States, and yet they occupy so much of our political imagination and conversation around jobs, unions and climate change. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump ran on bringing coal jobs back to the United States, and Joe Biden said on December 30 that miners should learn to code, as those are the “jobs of the future.” His comments, made to a crowd in Derry, New Hampshire, were reportedly met with silence.

While coal miners aren’t the only workers in our society, coal miners’ voices do matter, and we can’t leave anyone behind. And it’s clear that they are hurting, a point illustrated by the coal miners currently blocking a train carrying coal in eastern Kentucky, demanding back pay from Quest Energy.

The coal industry is in decline, and mining jobs are disappearing. And the science shows that the vast majority of coal needs to stay in the ground if we want to have a shot at stemming climate change. But does that mean miners need to learn to code in order to earn a living? Coding isn’t necessarily bad or unimportant, and it could potentially be one of many retraining opportunities. Continue Reading →

New Coal-Killing Energy Storage Challenge Also Dings Natural Gas – by Tina Casey (CleanTechnica.com – Janaury 9, 2020)

https://cleantechnica.com/

It’s no secret that the Trump Administration has presided over the collapse of the US coal industry, but do they have to rub it in? The answer appears to be yes. On Wednesday, newly minted Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced an all-hands-on-deck initiative to push the energy storage envelope farther into coal-killing territory. For good measure, the new $153 million “Energy Storage Grand Challenge” will probably bump off natural gas, too. And all this under a President* who pledged to save coal jobs!

The Jig Is Up: Trump Hates Coal, Loves Energy Storage

Considering all the promises Trump made to coal miners, their families, and their communities, one would think that a major coal-killing announcement would get buried in a Friday evening news dump. After all, energy storage is the key that accelerates the renewable energy revolution.

Nope. Secretary Brouillette made the announcement in the brilliant light of day exactly in the middle of the week, on Wednesday afternoon at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The annual event, which is owned and produced by the US Consumer Technology Association, bills itself as “the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: BlackRock’s green investing strategy is not a moral awakening – by Ian McGugan (Globe and Mail – January 15, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Larry Fink, arguably the world’s most powerful investor, has just delivered his annual letter to chief executives. This year, the chairman of giant money manager BlackRock Inc. used his institutional pulpit to thunder about the mounting dangers of climate change and preach the virtues of sustainable investing.

It is all good, praiseworthy stuff from a company with nearly US$7-trillion in assets under management. Just don’t assume it means a major shift in policy.

Take, for example, Mr. Fink’s announcement that BlackRock’s actively managed funds are in the process of dumping bonds or stocks issued by companies that generate more than 25 per cent of their revenue from thermal coal production. Continue Reading →

Big Coal Escapes BlackRock’s New Climate Plan – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 14, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — BlackRock Inc. will cut exposure to thermal coal as the world’s largest asset manager moves to address climate change, but that doesn’t mean it’s selling out of the biggest producers — including top shipper Glencore Plc.

Producers of the dirtiest fuel are coming under increasing pressure from money managers to either abandon the business or show plans for an eventual exit. What investors don’t agree on, is how to measure progress and whether companies are complying.

BlackRock’s discretionary active investment portfolios will sell out of all companies that get more than 25% of sales from thermal coal, Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink wrote in a letter to clients that outlined a plan to put climate considerations at the center of its strategy. There isn’t a long-term economic or investment rationale for continuing to invest in the fuel, he said. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Targeted by Greta Thunberg Undeterred by Coal Protesters – by P R Sanjai (Bloomberg News – January 13, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The Indian conglomerate coming under increasing pressure over its controversial coal mine in Australia said it won’t let protests dissuade it from completing the project.

The group, controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani, is responding to an uptick in scrutiny over the Carmichael development, including from high-profile teen activist Greta Thunberg.

While the mine and rail project has been a target of environmentalists since it was proposed in 2010, its facing fresh global attention as Australia suffers unprecedented brushfires and as Germany’s Siemens AG comes under attack for its contract to provide rail signaling systems. The Munich-based company said Sunday that it will honor that commitment, defying demands of demonstrators in Germany. Continue Reading →

Nova Scotia: Donkin mine closer to resuming full production after shutdown last year – by Tom Ayers (CBC News Nova Scotia – January 13, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/

The underground coal mine in Donkin, N.S., is still operating under a limited licence from the province, but is inching toward approval for full production.

The mine was shut down for about a month last year after a series of rockfalls. It was allowed to reopen, but mining could only take place in a short section.

Harold Carroll, executive director of Nova Scotia Labour’s occupational health and safety branch, said mine operator Kameron Coal’s ground control and ventilation plans have been approved, and an electrical plan has been submitted and is under review. Continue Reading →

Teck Resources coal deal with Ridley raises concerns about rival Westshore – by David Berman (Globe and Mail – January 9, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Teck Resources Ltd. has struck a deal with Ridley Terminals Inc. to double, and perhaps triple, its shipments of steel-making coal through Prince Rupert, B.C., sending the shares of rival Westshore Terminals Investment Corp. to their lowest levels since 2016.

The deal, announced by Teck on Wednesday, will run from January, 2021, to December, 2021, and will increase its coal shipments through Ridley from a capacity of three million tonnes a year to six million tonnes. Teck has the option to further increase this volume to a capacity of nine million tonnes, effectively tripling the company’s current shipments.

The diversified mining company, based in Vancouver, has overhauled parts of its steel-making coal operations in recent months as it attempts to reduce costs. In December, Canadian National Railway Co. won a five-year contract long held by rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. to haul Teck’s B.C.-mined coal to West Coast ports – boosting CN’s annual revenue by as much as $250-million. Continue Reading →