Coal's woes continue, as the world's largest coal port announces its decision to abandon the fuel

IEEFA: China pouring billions into dirty coal power across Asia

IEEFA’s new analysis suggests Chinese banks will spend nearly $36 billion to develop 102GW of coal power plants, mines and associated rail infrastructure in Bangladesh, VIetnam, Pakistan and Indonesia. It also suggests the loans will burden the host nations with expensive debt and expose them to coal’s price fluctuations – even though renewables are a better, cheaper option.

Surprisingly, around 23% of the capacity will run on emissions-heavy, subcritical technology, which is too dirty to be allowed within China’s own borders. China instead is expanding its own coal power fleet with much cleaner, supercritical and even ultra-supercritical plants.

Market Forces: Major Australian banks increasing exposure to fossil fuels

A new study by Market Forces has shown that the fossil fuel portfolios of three major Australian banks grew in 2018, after steady declines through 2014 – 2017. The biggest increases were by Westpac – a whopping 147% rise in coal mining projects and by the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) – 27%.

The total exposure of the banks – including National Australia Bank (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) – now stands at $29 billion, as opposed to their  renewables portfolio of $11.5 billion.

Although contradictory to their publicly stated policies on fossil fuels, the banks say the numbers reflect their commitment to reliable and affordable energy prices for the country.

Sinopec Capital urges end to fossil fuel use

Sinopec Capital has urged the world to stop burning fossil fuels at a recent EV forum in China, and to invest in renewable energy and e-mobility. The firm is the investment arm of China’s oil and gas behemoth Sinopec – the world’s largest oil refiner – and has even predicted that fossil fuel vehicles will be replaced by EVs within by 2045.

Germany confirms long-term support for lignite-mining states post-coal phase-out

Germany’s four lignite-mining states have been assured of long-term financial support by the country’s Coal Commission – beyond the $1.7 billion earmarked for them till 2021 – after the country exits coal mining and power (tentatively before 2040).

The four states had demanded up to €70 billion in support from the federal government, and after several internal disagreements, the commission’s final figures are expected to be released at its meeting on January 25th.

Rising US oil & gas output could release 1000 coal plants’ worth of CO2 by 2050

A new report by Oil Change International suggests that the US could release as much as 120 billion metric tonnes of CO2 between now and 2050 – equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 1000 coal power plants – from its ever-increasing exploitation of its oil and gas reserves. The report also suggests that US oil output could double by 2030 – despite it already being the world’s largest oil producer.

This would severely hurt the rest of the world’s meagre carbon budget, but a 2018 report has demonstrated that it is entirely avoidable – as the roughly $20 billion in annual subsidies that the country’s fossil fuel sector receives could easily be instead used to fund a just transition for its workers.

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