Nova Scotia: March, memorial service to mark 30th anniversary of Westray disaster – by Paul Palmeter (CBC News Nova Scotia – May 9, 2022)

26 men died in underground explosion at Pictou County mine

Joe MacKay will never forget the explosion at the Westray mine 30 years ago today. The underground explosion in Plymouth, N.S., killed 26 miners. One of them was MacKay’s brother, Mike. “He loved his bikes, including a chopper he just thought the world of,” said MacKay. “He loved his family. His kids meant everything to him.”

Mike MacKay was 38. He was the father of two young children. Like the other men who worked at the mine, he had only been working there for nine months after it opened in September 1991.

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Heat wave in India sparks blackouts and highlights dependence on coal (CBC News/Associated Press – May 3, 2022)

An unusually early and brutal heat wave is scorching parts of India, with acute power shortages affecting millions as demand for electricity surges to record levels. Supplies of coal at many thermal power plants are running perilously low, spawning daily power outages in several states. The shortages are sparking scrutiny of India’s longtime reliance on coal, which produces 70 per cent of the country’s electricity.

The situation highlights India’s pressing need to diversify its energy sources, as demand for electricity is expected to increase more than anywhere else in the world over the next 20 years as the densely populated country develops, according to the International Energy Agency.

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Teck may unload oil sands unit, but met coal unit sale likely on hold: analyst – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – April 27, 2022)

Surging coal prices mean that Teck Resources Ltd. may put off selling its metallurgical coal unit indefinitely, but the recovering oil price could see Canada’s biggest diversified miner unload its oil sands unit, says Shane Nagle, analyst with National Bank Financial Inc.

Last year, The Globe and Mail reported that Vancouver-based Teck was exploring the sale of its coal unit. While the biggest by far of Teck’s divisions from a profit and revenue perspective, coal is problematic from an environmental, social and governance aspect.

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China is building more than half of the world’s new coal power plants – by Adam Vaughan (News Scientist – April 26, 2022)

China was responsible for more than half of the new coal power station capacity being built around the world last year, showing how much the country is propping up one of the worst drivers of climate change.

Nearly 200 countries pledged a “phasing down” of coal at the COP26 climate summit last year. But figures from a report by the non-profit Global Energy Monitor show that is nowhere near being realised yet. Globally, the number of coal power stations is actually growing as new constructions more than offset the closure of old plants.

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The [Resource] History of Donbass’ Donetsk and Luhansk Regions – by Patricia Claus (The Greek Reporter – February 22, 2022)

Greek News

When Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized the independence of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known together as the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, it was yet another pivotal, wrenching moment in the long and turbulent history of the area.

Putin signed documents purportedly declaring the regions were no longer part of Ukraine after Russian-speaking separatist leaders of the regions had appealed for the declaration hours earlier.

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What some see as the real reason behind Russia’s battle for Donbas – by Allan Woods (Toronto Star – April 20, 2022)

It is a region with complex and bloody history — and resource wealth

It’s a Russian battle for resources that has been cast as a humanitarian crusade, in the view of some.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented his bid to control the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine as an attempt to save Russian-speaking souls trapped in a foreign and hostile land.

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NDP to retable bill to block coal mining in Rocky Mountains – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/Edmonton Journal – March 14, 2022)

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government has refused for the second time to move ahead with an Opposition bill that would have placed legally enforceable restrictions on coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. That shuffles the Eastern Slopes Protection Act back to a legislative committee that could rule the bill won’t proceed at all.

On Monday, the Opposition New Democrats retabled the private member’s bill that would have substituted actual legislation for an order from Energy Minister Sonya Savage restricting coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. NDP Leader Rachel Notley, the bill’s sponsor, said a politician’s promise isn’t enough to protect those much-loved landscapes.

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Mining association objects to proposed federal coal effluent rules – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/Globe and Mail – March 13, 2022)

Canada’s mining industry is pushing back against proposed tougher federal coal effluent rules, saying the draft regulations aren’t practical or backed by science.

“We just do not see a path to achieving those limits,” said Pierre Gratton of the Mining Association of Canada, which expressed its concerns in a March 2 letter to Environment Canada. “(Environment Canada) has not articulated a justification for going further than the limits that have been agreed to.”

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U.S. Official Says South Africa Aid Aimed at Coal Plants Not EVs – by Antony Sguazzin (Bloomberg News – March 2, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — A group of the world’s richest nations that pledged $8.5 billion in climate finance to South Africa wants the money to be used to retire coal-fired power plants, according to a senior U.S. official involved in the talks, damping suggestions some could be channeled to producing electric vehicles and green hydrogen.

The funds pledged by the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and the European Union and announced at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, can also be utilized to construct renewable energy facilities, the official said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private.

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Can a tech billionaire squash Australia’s coal industry by buying it? – by Alice Klein (New Scientist – February 22, 2022)

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the third-richest person in Australia, has launched an audacious bid to buy the country’s biggest electricity company – and shut its coal-fired power plants. It is a bold approach to decarbonisation, but can he pull it off?

Australia currently produces the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world from burning coal for power generation. The country’s government is highly attached to fossil fuels. Not long before becoming the current prime minister, Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal to parliament and announced: “This is coal. Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you.”

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OPINION: Jason Kenney’s enthusiasm for coal mining makes little sense on most levels – by Ian Urquhart (Globe and Mail – February 14, 2022)

Ian Urquhart is executive director of Alberta Wilderness Association and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta.

Albertans have been waiting more than a month for the province’s Coal Policy Committee to release the results of its public consultations, along with recommendations for the future of coal mining in Alberta.

There shouldn’t be any doubt about what the public thinks. The chair of the committee signalled last fall that the public’s message was clear. Albertans, he said, are “strongly opposed” to coal.

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Industry, provincial lobbying weaken proposed federal coal effluent rules: critics – by Bob Weber (CTV News Edmonton – February 13, 2022)

CANADIAN PRESS – EDMONTON – The federal government has bowed to provincial and industry lobbying in weakening proposed standards for coal mining effluent, critics say.

The draft regulations, released earlier this year, would double the amount of toxins – such as selenium – the mines are allowed to release and wouldn’t apply to any mine that starts producing before 2027. Nor do they require companies to monitor overall environmental effects.

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Mayor fears Rocky Mountain coal-mining concerns will be ignored after meeting Kenney – by Bob Weber (CBC News Calgary – January 27, 2022)

Canadian Press – An Alberta mayor says he’s concerned a massive public outcry over coal mining in the province’s Rocky Mountains will be ignored after hearing Premier Jason Kenney tell him he remains an “unapologetic supporter” of the industry.

“It’s very clear to me that Premier Kenney is 100 per cent behind the coal mining companies,” said Craig Snodgrass of High River after meeting with the premier, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and his local member of the legislative assembly, Roger Reid, earlier this month.

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Global coal prices surge as Ukraine tensions worsen supply woes – by Sudarshan Varadhan (Reuters – January 28, 2022)

CHENNAI, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Global coal prices have shot back towards record highs as the Ukraine crisis raises expectations that European buyers will start loading up on the fossil fuel for fear that a standoff between Russia and western nations will cut off gas supplies.

The benchmark Newcastle coal index has soared by over a third this month to $262 a tonne, fuelled initially by a month-long export ban by top supplier Indonesia and now by worries that any military engagement in Ukraine will sever gas supplies from Russia.

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Europe Forced to Rely on Expensive, Dirty Coal to Keep Lights On – by Todd Gillespie (Bloomberg News – January 25, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — Coal will play a vital role in helping to keep the lights on in Europe this winter even as prices are jumping and lawmakers are doing their best to kill off one of the dirtiest power-plant fuels.

Northwest European coal for February rose more than 3% to trade at its highest in three months on Tuesday. The latest example of the fuel’s importance came on Monday as U.K.’s usage peaked at its highest level since March to help plug a gap in supplies early in the evening.

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