Australia Fast-Tracks a $1 Billion Coal Mine

Australia Fast-Tracks a $1 Billion Coal Mine

SOURCE: Bloomberg DATE: June 11, 2020 SNIP: A giant Glencore Plc coal project in Australia has been fast-tracked as the nation turns to its vast natural resources to lift the economy out of its first recession in almost three decades. The A$1.5 billion ($1 billion) Valeria mine in Queensland has been designated a “coordinated project”, which the state said Friday would help to get new jobs happening quicker. That comes as the national government stands firm in the face of calls at home and abroad to shift away from the highly polluting fuel. “This new mine has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs as Queensland recovers from the extraordinary shock of the global coronavirus pandemic,” state Treasurer Cameron Dick said. “Coal mining has a long history in Queensland and will continue to be a major industry for many years to come.” The coal industry brings in around A$70 billion in annual export revenue. The government is betting on strong consumption of the fuel in Asia. Glencore’s proposed mine in the state’s Bowen Basin coal heartland will produce around 20 million tons a year of thermal and metallurgical coal, equal to about 4% of the nation’s output. That’s double the size of Adani’s controversial Carmichael project, also in Queensland, which has been targeted by climate activists for potentially opening up a new region to coal mining. Pembroke Resources Pty’s 15-million-ton-a-year Olive Downs met coal project, also in the Bowen Basin, is proceeding with the state’s backing after receiving environmental approval last month. Queensland is also encouraging the development of new gas resources, with a joint venture between Royal...
Coal mines emit more methane than oil-and-gas sector, study finds

Coal mines emit more methane than oil-and-gas sector, study finds

SOURCE: Carbon Brief DATE: March 24, 2020 SNIP: Methane emissions from coal mines could be more than double previous estimates, according to a new study. The fossil-fuel industry is understood to be one of the biggest sources of atmospheric methane, primarily due to leaks from the production of oil and gas. However, a new paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production suggests that coal mining may actually be a bigger contributor to levels of the greenhouse gas, with emissions set to grow considerably in the coming years. This is even more pronounced when accounting for the impact of old coal mines that continue to seep methane long after they have been abandoned. To date, attempts to curb methane emissions from mines have been limited. While there is considerable uncertainty around the contribution from fossil fuels, which makes up around a fifth of the total, previous work has suggested oil-and-gas production is the biggest contributor. Meanwhile, coal, which releases 75% more CO2 than gas per unit of energy, has been relatively overlooked when it comes to methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas. But coal can be a source of methane, too. The gas escapes from coal seams and is often siphoned off through ventilation systems to ensure a safe environment for miners. The IEA coal mine emissions estimate also comes to around half the 79Mt it estimated for oil-and-gas operations in 2018. However, the new study estimates that CMM in 2020 will be much higher than this, some 135bn cubic metres (bcm), equating to roughly 92Mt of methane. The authors also note that, for the first time, they...
Japan Races to Build New Coal-Burning Power Plants, Despite the Climate Risks

Japan Races to Build New Coal-Burning Power Plants, Despite the Climate Risks

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: February 3, 2020 SNIP: Just beyond the windows of Satsuki Kanno’s apartment overlooking Tokyo Bay, a behemoth from a bygone era will soon rise: a coal-burning power plant, part of a buildup of coal power that is unheard-of for an advanced economy. It is one unintended consequence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost a decade ago, which forced Japan to all but close its nuclear power program. Japan now plans to build as many as 22 new coal-burning power plants — one of the dirtiest sources of electricity — at 17 different sites in the next five years, just at a time when the world needs to slash carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming. “Why coal, why now?” said Ms. Kanno, a homemaker in Yokosuka, the site for two of the coal-burning units that will be built just several hundred feet from her home. “It’s the worst possible thing they could build.” Together the 22 power plants would emit almost as much carbon dioxide annually as all the passenger cars sold each year in the United States. The construction stands in contrast with Japan’s effort to portray this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo as one of the greenest ever. Under the Paris accord, Japan committed to rein in its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030 compared to 2013 levels, a target that has been criticized for being “highly insufficient” by climate...
Russia finds market for its vast reserves of Arctic coal

Russia finds market for its vast reserves of Arctic coal

SOURCE: The Barents Observer DATE: November 1, 2019 SNIP: It was not alternative and green power that was discussed when Indian Minister of oil, natural gas and steel Dharmendra Debendra Pradhan visited Russia last month. The minister was on a four-day tour in the Russian Far East and he had with him a powerful delegation of leaders from the country’s biggest industrial companies. It was coal that was on top of Mr Pradhan’s agenda as he sat down with Russian government officials and business representatives. “Our negotiations must end with a successful project decision on the development of metallurgic coal, that is to be exported from Russia,” the minster said in a meeting with the Russian Ministry of the Far East and Arctic. According to Pradhan, India needs about 70 million tons of high-quality coal for its aluminum and steel industry. Pradhan and the Indian business leaders are looking towards the Russian Arctic, where they will find all the carbon-rich rocks they ever might need. Several new major mining projects are under development in the remote northern region. Among them is the projects of company Vostok Coal in the Taymyr Peninsula. Vostok Coal plans to extract an annual 30 million tons of anthracite, a high-quality coal, from its fields in Taymyr. Since 2016, the company has prepared the ground for a huge industrial project that includes several open pits and the building of seaports, roads and other infrastructure. Coal India Limited is the largest coal-producing company in the world. It produces more than 500 million tons of raw coal per year and accounts for for more than 80 percent...
China struggling to kick its coal habit despite Beijing’s big climate pledges

China struggling to kick its coal habit despite Beijing’s big climate pledges

SOURCE: CNN DATE: September 29, 2019 SNIP: [E]ven as China reiterated its commitment to reducing emissions last week in New York, earlier this month at least three large, new coal-fired power stations appeared to be either operating or under construction in Inner Mongolia in northern China. On the outskirts of the Inner Mongolian city of Xilinhot, smoke could seen swirling from a number of power plants, while others appeared to be busily under construction. China’s economy has been looking increasingly shaky after decades of unprecedented growth, driven by a global slowdown and trade competition with the United States. China’s quarterly economic growth slowed to 6.2% at the end of June, the lowest level in three decades. “This has actually been the norm that we have observed over the past few years. Whenever there is downward pressure on an economic front, there is a tendency or desire from the industry and policymakers to unleash large-scale infrastructure projects,” Greenpeace senior global policy adviser Li Shuo said. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, far outstripping rivals such as the United States, India and Australia. But amid rising concern around greenhouse gases and manmade climate change, China’s reliance on fossil fuels has come under increasing domestic and international scrutiny. President Xi Jinping announced in 2017 that tackling pollution and greenhouse gas emissions would be one of his “three battles,” along with ending poverty and excess debt. “I think on one hand, China has already become the largest manufacturer developer and investor when it comes to some of the most advanced renewable technologies,” Greenpeace’s Li said. “But on the other...