Why it’s premature to declare coal dead

Why it’s premature to declare coal dead

SOURCE: Yale Climate Connections DATE: August 28, 2019 SNIP: Coal’s story across the world is a study in contrasts: up sharply in some places and down in others. From a climate perspective, there is no simple characterization of the global status of coal, other than to say that overall, the world is still burning far too much of it. A few indicators point to a global slowdown in coal, but it’s unclear whether that can happen fast enough to meet global climate change emissions targets. A recent post at this site covered the downturn of the American coal market as a result of cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Although the U.S. is a major player in global energy, trends in American coal do not necessarily dictate or match what’s happening elsewhere in the world. It’s premature to say, as some do, that coal is dead. Domestic use of coal for electricity generation has dropped sharply, but American coal exports are up. Growing international demand for coal has boosted prices and made coal exports an attractive economic prospect. About 15% of America’s total coal production is exported. North America and Europe are leading the world in moving away from coal, but China and India are driving a surge in coal use. Increases in the Asia-Pacific region moved global coal consumption upward about 0.5% in 2017 and 1.4% again in 2018. The all-time global peak in coal use was in 2013, but the world once again is approaching that peak. Coal use is dominated by a handful of nations. China accounts for more than half of worldwide coal consumption, and then come...
India’s coal-fired generation needs growing 22 percent by 2022

India’s coal-fired generation needs growing 22 percent by 2022

SOURCE: Power Engineering DATE: August 7, 2019 SNIP: India expects that its coal energy generation will grow by 22% by the end of 2022, putting climate change goals – just recently reported as being on-track – in severe jeopardy. That’s the word from Ghanshyam Prasad, chief engineer at the country’s Federal Power Ministry, who told Reuters that the country’s coal capacity is likely to reach 238GW over the three-year period. India’s Coal Minister, Pralhad Joshi previously stated that the demand for coal for the year March 2018-19 had spiked by 9.1% and 991.35 million tonnes, with three-quarters of that figure due to utilities. If those projections prove true, it would jeopardise the country’s chances of achieving its climate-change goals, whilst worsening already-poor air quality. Minister Joshi said that despite thermal capacity out-performing power consumption in recent years, India would need more coal-fired plants in order to meet future growth requirements. He noted: “If we have to meet demand and address the intermittencies we have with solar and wind, we have no choice but to keep depending on coal-based generation in the near...
China coal mine approvals surge despite climate pledges

China coal mine approvals surge despite climate pledges

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: August 5, 2019 SNIP: Approvals for new coal mine construction in China have surged in 2019, government documents showed, with Beijing expecting consumption of the commodity to rise in the coming years even as it steps up its fight against smog and greenhouse gas emissions. Long-term cuts in coal consumption are a key part of China’s energy, environment and climate goals, but the fivefold increase in new mine approvals in the first-half of 2019 suggests China’s targets still provide ample room for shorter-term growth. China’s energy regulator gave the go-ahead to build 141 million tonnes of new annual coal production capacity from January to June, compared to 25 million tonnes over the whole of last year, Reuters analysis of approval documents showed. Lauri Myllyvirta, senior energy analyst with environmental group Greenpeace, said many of the newly approved projects would likely replace small or depleted old mines. “However, it is alarming that China’s energy planning seems to be driving at roughly maintaining current levels of coal output for the coming decade or two, which is very hard to reconcile with the goal of the Paris agreement (on climate change),” he said. Chinese coal output rose 2.6% in the first-half of 2019 to 1.76 billion...
India expects coal-fired power capacity to grow 22% in 3 years

India expects coal-fired power capacity to grow 22% in 3 years

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: July 31, 2019 SNIP: India’s coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to rise by 22.4% in three years, the federal power ministry’s chief engineer said on Wednesday, potentially neutralising its efforts to cut emissions by boosting adoption of renewable energy. India, the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, saw its annual coal demand rise 9.1% to nearly 1 billion tonnes in the year ended March 2019. Coal demand from utilities accounted for over three-quarters of total consumption. The International Energy Agency expects India to become the second largest coal consumer behind China early next decade. Electricity demand in the country rose 36% in the seven years to April 2019 while coal-fired generation capacity during the period grew by 74% to 194.44 GW, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). An increase in coal-fired power generation capacity would be bad news for India’s cities, 14 of which feature in the World Health Organization’s 20 most polluted in the world. Most of the capacity addition is likely to come from utilities owned by the state and federal governments, government officials...
The World’s Most Insane Energy Project Moves Ahead

The World’s Most Insane Energy Project Moves Ahead

SOURCE: Rolling Stone DATE: June 14, 2019 SNIP: Thanks to President Trump and his transparent and perverse desire to enrich his golfing buddies in the fossil fuel industry and to accelerate the climate crisis, the U.S. is the most notorious climate criminal in the world right now. But the Aussie’s are giving us a run for our money. Exhibit A: the decision this week by the Queensland State government to allow a big coal mine in northeastern Australia to move forward. The project, known as the Carmichael mine, is controlled by the Adani Group, an Indian corporate behemoth headed by billionaire Gautam Adani. If it ever opens, the Carmichael mine would not be the biggest coal mine in the world, or even the biggest coal mine in Australia. But it may be the most insane energy project on the planet, and one that shows just how far supposedly civilized nations (and people) are from grasping what’s at stake in the climate crisis. The site for the Carmichael mine is in the Galilee Basin, an unspoiled region of Queensland that Adani has been itching to get his hands on for at least a decade. The battle over the mine has been the usual sordid tale of fossil fuel industry development, in which a rich, powerful, politically connected corporation gets its way with weak and corrupt politicians. But of course there are a lot of stupid and destructive energy projects in the world right now. What makes Adani worse than the others? Let’s start with the Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Marine Conservation Society called the approval of the mine “bad...