It's alive: The Carmichael mine will start exporting coal to India later this year after operators struck the coal seam for the first time, even as protests against its existence continues | Photo: Wikipedia/Cameron Laird

Adani’s Carmichael mine strikes coal, will export to India starting this year

The controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia struck coal last week, and it will start exporting the fuel to India (amongst other markets) later this year. The mine is owned by the Adani Group and was strongly opposed by climate activists for its perceived impact on the local ecosystem. However, it has secured contracts for 10 million tonnes in annual exports, and will employ 2,600 workers in the outbacks of Queensland. Yet, the original investment of AUD 16.5 billion planned for the project was scaled to AUD 2 billion as several international financiers eventually refused to fund its operations. 

The Adani Group has repeatedly justified the mine’s operations by saying that it would provide cheap, high quality coal to India’s thermal power plants while generating jobs in Australia. Another report suggests that the coal may also be used to power a coal-to-PVC (plastics) plant in Gujarat, which may have its own environmental implications. 

Volvo to use steel manufactured using hydrogen for its cars by 2026 

Swedish carmaker Volvo announced it would use steel that was manufactured using green hydrogen (instead of fossil fuels) in its cars by 2026 to slash its products’ carbon footprint. The carmaker is already committed to only manufacturing 100% electric cars by 2030, and the new move would address the fact that steel, which is one of the most commonly used structural materials in modern cars, accounts for around 35% of the automobile manufacturing process’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

A test car will be produced using hydrogen (that itself would be produced using renewable energy) by 2025, and Volvo’s plants in Sweden would be prime candidates for the transition away from traditional steel as they would have access to plentiful hydro power. 

Maersk says “transition fossil fuels simply not relevant”, to explore methanol as shipping fuel

Shipping giant Maersk said the world’s so-called transition fossil fuels were “simply not relevant” to decarbonising the sector, and that it would instead explore the cleaner alternatives of methanol and ammonia to power large shipping containers. Maersk’s CEO insisted that the world adopt a “crisis mindset” when it comes to lowering the carbon footprint of commercial shipping—it accounts for roughly 2.2% of global emissions every year—and that massive quantities of methanol produced from biomass gasification eventually mixed with ammonia would need to be produced as a replacement fuel. 

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO)—the governing body of global shipping—meanwhile, adopted fresh new energy efficiency measures to lower container ships’ fuel consumption. However, critics of the IMO labelled the new targets as simply “cosmetic measures”. 

BP to drill for natural gas close to world’s largest cold-water coral reefs

British Petroleum (BP)’s first phase of drilling for natural gas off of western Africa was approved, which would allow it to attempt to drill 2.7km below the sea level and extract nearly 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas through 2050. However, any leaks from the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project could severely endanger the local cold-water coral reefs and the millions of birds that use the east Atlantic flyway to migrate to and from the Arctic. 

Burning all of the gas extracted could also release an estimated 2.2 billion tonnes of CO2 annually — more than the entire annual emissions of Africa — and eat up up to 1% of the remaining global carbon budget. On the other hand, a Nairobi-based climate think-tank stated that the project would be essential to the continent’s “water security, food security and public health”.

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