Germany’s aviation industry and its railways, Deutsche Bahn, agreed for the railway network to ferry 20% of the country’s domestic flight passengers in a move that was termed by the latter’s manager as “active climate protection”. The move could cut the nation’s CO2 emissions from its domestic flights by a sixth. As in 2019, 15 million of its flights were purely domestic. However, flag carrier Lufthansa will continue to fly domestically, despite calls by environmentalists to ban all domestic flights and replace them with train journeys.
The move also comes in quick succession to France banning domestic flights where the distance can be covered by train in 2.5 hours or less.
Poland signs agreement to phase out coal power by 2049
Poland agreed to shut down all its coal power plans by 2049 in a landmark agreement with its dominant coal industry, even though the country still derives around 70% of its power from the fuel. The agreement will compensate all affected workers and also create alternative jobs for their reemployment, as coal’s share in Poland’s power mix is expected to be throttled to 11% by 2040. The agreement was termed as “historic” since Poland’s coal lobby is hugely influential in its energy policies and had so far firmly resisted a change in status quo. The country is also the EU’s largest coal consumer.
Japan cancels last-ever coal plant, Greece to exit coal by 2025
A 1.3GW coal plant in Japan, proposed by Marubeni Crop. and Kansai Electric Power Co., was cancelled over the government’s stricter environmental laws and the lack of financing from Japanese banks. The plant was supposed to go online in 2024 but its cancellation could mean that the country has cancelled its last-ever proposed coal plant, even though some other new units are already in various stages of construction. The country’s flatlining energy curve and the growth of cheaper renewable energy also led to the cancellation of another, 1.2GW coal plant recently, and the new government under Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to go-carbon neutral by 2050.
Meanwhile, Greece’s largest power company, Public Power Corp. (PPC), announced that it would repurpose its proposed Ptolemaida 5 from lignite to natural gas by 2025. The plant was supposed to burn lignite and come online in 2022, but the decision may have been influenced by the rising cost of EU’s CO2 emission certificates. The shutdown would make Greece the 10th EU nation to fully exit coal and lignite, even though it is the block’s fourth-largest lignite producer.
India: Jindal Steel to divest from coal power subsidiary
One of India’s largest private steel producers, Jindal Steel, announced that it would divest 96.42% of its holdings in the Jindal Group’s subsidiary, Jindal Power Ltd., in a bid to lower its carbon footprint and debt obligation. Instead, the company aims to become one of the top 10 cleanest steel manufacturers in the world, and the decision possibly marks a key shift in India’s steel industry, whose annual carbon emissions are projected to triple to 837 million tonnes by 2050.