Good for them too: India’s mandate for new coal plants to ensure workplace health standards is good news for both their employees and daily wage labourers | Image credit: Wired.com

India’s environment ministry mandates workplace health measures for new thermal power plants

India’s  Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has mandated that all new thermal power plants in the country must obtain a “human health environment” clearance, with measures such as baseline health assessments and bi-annual health check-ups instituted to specifically protect the health of their workers, and of the people living nearby.

The plants will also have to mitigate against the adverse effects of heavy noise and air pollution on their workers, and against the health hazards of working at sites heavy in particulate matter – like excavation quarries, crusher plants and transfer points.

Mandatory late payment charges on DISCOMS amongst measures proposed to revive stressed assets

A high level committee constituted to revive India’s power sector stressed assets has recommended that DISCOMS that fail to pay power generators on time must also pay late payment charges. It has also recommended that banks can directly pay the power developers, and that the latter can terminate their PPAs with DISCOMS that default on their payments.

All the revenue generated from the new policy measures will be used to service the debt owed by the 34 stressed asset projects – which have a combined capacity of 40GW.

Hungary looking to quit coal, Germany may compensate coal plant owners over its coal exit

Hungary may look to quit coal by 2030 to distance itself from the increasingly high prices of lignite-fired power under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Its government has endorsed “smart, clean and affordable energy for all” and is reportedly working on a low greenhouse gas emissions development strategy.

Meanwhile Germany’s coal commission may offer compensation to the owners of the nation’s coal power operators when it starts phasing-out coal power by 2022. About 36% of the country’s power generation still comes from hard coal and lignite. A final decision on the exit strategy will be taken by December 11, 2018.

RWE Europe’s worst air pollution offender, Norwegian pension fund urged to divest its RWE holdings

A new report by Europe Beyond Coal has found Germany’s largest coal power producer, RWE, to be the worst contributor to air pollution in Europe. It has also been linked to 1,880 premature deaths and 5,00,000 lost work days in the region in 2016.

Norway’s $1trillion pension fund has been urged to divest its $169 million worth of investments in RWE over the report’s findings, but it has so far declined to comment — seemingly over uncertainties about whether RWE derives more than 30% of its revenues from its coal-inked businesses.

Brown to Green report: Fossil fuels still supplying 82% of G20’s energy, world could warm by 3.2˚C

Climate Transparency’s 2018 edition of the Brown to Green Report has found that fossil fuels still account for 82% of the G20’s energy supplies, and that current levels of the G20’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) could warm the world by 3.2˚C. Italy, Australia and Saudi Arabia were found to be the heaviest subsidizers of fossil fuel use [per unit of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP)]

However, India’s performance on its NDCs was the only national level climate action that could limit global warming to 2˚C, while climate action based on the NDCs of Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia could warm the world by a catastrophic 4˚C.

Taiwan to cut thermal power output by 1% each year, retains nuclear energy for stable power supplies

Taiwan has voted in a referendum to reduce power output from thermal power plants by at least 1% every year, and it will also cease the expansion of any coal power plants. The nation has, however, chosen to retain nuclear energy as a dependable source of power – with pro-nuclear voters saying that fluctuating weather conditions make solar and wind energy simply “too unstable”.

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