MAC: Mines and Communities

Greenpeace report: Coal projects' threat to the climate

Published by MAC on 2013-01-28
Source: Statement, mining.com, REDD Monitor, Jakarta Globe (2013-01-30)

A recent Greenpeace report places government promotion for the expansion of coal  (especially for the export market in Australia, the US & Indonesia) in pole position for the causes of climate change.

At the same time China (also responsible for increased coal use) has promised to close heavily polluting coal plans after unprecedented air pollution in Beijing.

Previous article on MAC: Are we all going to climate hell in a handcart?

Government hypocrisy on major projects will lock in climate chaos

New report reveals added emissions from coal, oil and gas projects

Greenpeace press release

22 January 2013

Sydney/Davos - Government hypocrisy on major energy projects is fueling climate change and placing populations at risk, Greenpeace International said as it released a new report revealing the alarming threat posed by a planned massive global increase in emissions from coal, oil and gas projects.

The 14 carbon intensive projects highlighted in the Point of No Return report range from massive coal expansion in Australia, China, the US and Indonesia, to oil expansion in the tar sands of Canada, the Arctic and Brazil to new gas production in the Caspian Sea and the US.

"These new climate changing mega projects are the direct result of the hypocrisy shown by a handful of governments. These governments claim they want to prevent catastrophic climate change, but shamefully continue to approve and promote major fossil fuel projects that will lead to climate chaos and devastation," said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International.

Groundbreaking analysis by consultancy Ecofys for the report shows by 2020 these 14 projects will increase CO2 emissions by six gigatonnes a year. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says despite years of government promises to reduce emissions, CO2 emissions are already at a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes.

The Ecofys modeling found that the yearly CO2 emissions from these projects will be higher than the total US emissions and will lock in catastrophic global warming.

Even the World Economic Forum, in its Global Risks 2013 report for this year's gathering in Davos, warns that we are on course for the global temperature to increase by 3.6 to 40 C, possibly by 6 degrees. These increases will be well above the promise of governments to keep global warming to below a 20 increase.

"Given the human suffering, destruction and economic turmoil of recent extreme weather events, a world with runaway climate change is a frightening prospect. We cannot let that be our legacy," said Naidoo, who is meeting key business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

The report features an Ecofys pathway showing a 75% chance of avoiding climate chaos if emissions peak soon and then drop by 5% a year and emissions from the 14 projects are cancelled. Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution shows that renewable energy and energy savings can deliver the energy our economies need.

"We are running out of time to prevent catastrophic climate change," said Naidoo. "The companies promoting and the governments allowing these massive climate threats must replace them with renewable energy right away and become part of the solution to climate chaos."

--ENDS--

NOTES
Point of No Return report: www.greenpeace.org/international/point-of-no-return/
Full report: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/climate/2013/PointOfNoReturn.pdf
Ecofys report with the supporting analysis for Point of No Return: http://www.greenpeace.org/ecofys-2013
Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution: www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution

For more information:
Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace International energy campaigner; mobile +358 50 3625 981
Greenpeace International pressdesk, +31 20 718 24 70


Coal export proposals are number one threat to the climate in the US: Greenpeace

Mining.com

23 January 2013

Coal export expansions in the United States would release more carbon pollution than any other new US fossil fuel project, according to a report Greenpeace released Tuesday.

The report, called "The Point of No Return," used analysis from Ecofys, an authority on the link between climate policies and global temperature increase, to quantify the carbon pollution that would be released if governments and corporations move forward with 14 planned coal, oil and gas projects around the world. The collective global warming pollution from those projects would likely send the planet careening over a climate change cliff, causing far more droughts, storms and floods like the ones that devastated people around the world in 2012.

The proposed expansion of US coal exports would produce 420 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually by 2020 - or more carbon pollution than the entire country of Spain produces. Coal exports ranked as the number one threat to the climate of all planned US fossil fuel projects.

The majority of the emissions for the proposed US coal exports expansion come from the plans of three coal companies - Ambre Coal, Arch Coal, and Peabody Coal - to move publicly-owned coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana to five proposed ports in Oregon and Washington in order to ship it to Asia.

"Americans are increasingly saying no to coal, but the executives at Ambre, Arch and Peabody seem perfectly happy to pocket big profits overseas while bringing Americans more droughts, fires and storms caused by climate change," said Greenpeace Coal Campaigner Kelly Mitchell.

The report showed that the earth has a "carbon budget," the amount of carbon we can burn while still maintaining a chance of avoiding going over an irreversible climate cliff. The new coal, oil and gas projects in this report alone would consume 20 - 33% of our remaining carbon budget through 2050 if they're allowed to proceed. The current heat wave in Australia, Superstorm Sandy and the ongoing US drought are all the result of the comparatively moderate climate change we've caused to date without these projects.

"Given the human suffering, destruction and economic turmoil of recent extreme weather events, a world with runaway climate change is a frightening prospect. We cannot let that be our legacy," said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo.

US government policy will be pivotal in deciding whether coal exports and other projects on the list go forward, including Arctic oil drilling (520 million tonnes CO2), deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (350 million tonnes CO2), and U.S. shale gas drilling or fracking (280 million tonnes CO2).*

In the Arctic, global warming is causing temperatures to rise faster than anywhere else on Earth, rapidly shrinking the ice at the top of the world. Instead of understanding that warning, oil companies like Shell, aided by the U.S. government, see the melting ice as a business opportunity to plunder the oil that is causing global warming in the first place.

The Ecofys analysis also identifies a pathway that offers a 75% chance of avoiding climate chaos, but only if companies, investors and governments abandon these 14 projects and begin rapidly transitioning from coal, oil and gas to clean energy.

--

* The report's estimates for fracking may be considerably conservative: Ecofys assumed a methane leakage rate for fracking of 3.9 %. A recent study by NOAA estimated that rate to be closer to 9 %, which would make the greenhouse gas emission estimates for US shale gas considerably higher than in this analysis.


The Point of No Return: How Indonesia's coal mining expansion is accelerating climate change

By Chris Lang

REDD Monitor

25 January 2013

Indonesia is the world's largest exporter of coal for power stations. The government is planning new infrastructure, including a US$2.8 billion railway, to help increase exports even further. How does this fit with the same government's promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Obviously, it doesn't.

This week, Greenpeace released a new report highlighting 14 planned carbon intensive mega-projects worldwide. If these projects go ahead, they will dramatically increase global greenhouse gas emissions and hugely reduce the chances of avoiding runaway climate change. The report's title, "Point of No Return", says it all.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International's executive director, focusses on the hypocrisy of government promotion of these projects:

"These new climate changing mega projects are the direct result of the hypocrisy shown by a handful of governments. These governments claim they want to prevent catastrophic climate change, but shamefully continue to approve and promote major fossil fuel projects that will lead to climate chaos and devastation."

Indonesia is fourth on the list, behind the expansion of China's coal mining, Australia's coal exports, and drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic. Digging out and burning Indonesia's coal will result in more emissions than tar sand mining in Canada or oil drilling in Iran.

In addition to adding 460 million tonnes of CO2 per year to the atmosphere, Indonesia's coal mining boom has serious impacts on people and forests in Kalimantan. The Indonesian NGO Mining Advocacy Network JATAM describes coal mining as "Digging your own grave," because of the impacts of the industry on water supplies, forests, biodiversity, poverty, health and human rights.

JATAM, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) and the Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMAN) are calling for a moratorium on coal mining on Kalimantan. They are also asking for a government review of existing concessions. Many coal mining concessions overlap with other forestry concessions. Some are in areas supposedly protected under Indonesia's two-year moratorium on new forestry concessions, part of the US$1 billion Indonesia-Norway REDD deal.

Greenpeace's report includes the following section about Indonesia's coal mining expansion plans:

Indonesian government risks Kalimantan wildlife with coal exports

Key facts: Increase in annual CO2 by 2020: 460Mt
Country with comparable annual emissions: UK
Companies involved: KPC, Adaro, BHP, Banpu

On Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, dirty coal is waiting to be unearthed. Indonesia is already the world's largest exporter of thermal coal used by power stations and it provides about half of China's coal imports.[1]

As a result of expansion in Kalimantan, Indonesia's coal output has been surging - reaching an average growth rate of 20% a year since 2000, from 77 million tonnes a year to 325 million tonnes in 2011.[2]

The planned increase in coal exports would produce an additional 460Mt of greenhouse gas emissions, as much CO2 as the entire emissions of the UK in 2010.[3]

The global picture

The extra coal would not only feed a burgeoning number of coal-fired power stations being built to meet local energy demand, but would largely go overseas to China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, adding to the thick cloak of coal smoke hanging over Asia.[4]

Who pays the bill?

Yet the value of the coal production is only 3%[5] of Indonesia's GDP, and - despite ambitious coal expansion plans - the share is set to decline as the economy grows.[6] Now, the Indonesian government is planning to spend public money on infrastructure investments and incentives that aim to dramatically increase coal exports from Kalimantan even further.[7] The toll on the people and the environment will be enormous.

To support this increase in coal exports, vast areas of Indonesian Borneo's wilderness - land with strong links to indigenous communities - have been allocated as coal mining concessions. And it's not just the new mines that will cut open the heart of Borneo, but new infrastructure for coal transportation will also be carved through the island's forests, home to one of the richest tropical forest ecosystems on the planet. The forest provides natural habitats for the endangered orangutan and other species of primates, as well as for important bird life, including the argus pheasant and hornbills.

While the Indonesian government pays lip service to environmental sustainability in the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia's Economic Development (MP3EI), it largely ignores the terrible price those living around the mines will have to pay. Reports have surfaced of the oppression of those speaking out against the destructive mining practices.[8] The coal industry makes an intensive demand on water resources but also releases acids and sulphates into rivers. These pollutants destroy water supplies that in turn decimate fish stocks and contaminate crops, leading to loss of livelihoods, a reduction in food sources and health problems for local communities.

Since coal mining and deforestation began upstream along the Mahakam River, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) "Heart of Borneo" report notes that flooding has become commonplace in Samarinda, in East Kalimantan. Major floods in 2008-2009 affected families and disrupted the economy, transportation, employment and livelihoods.

The total cost of these floods was estimated at US$9m, while the cost of flood prevention is far greater than the town's income from coal. Construction of a flood polder has already cost $7m, and the local government has put together a flood-mitigation plan that would cost another $350m.[9]

This deforestation-and-mining-induced flooding serves as an early indication of the kind of local impacts that Indonesians will experience if this dirty project goes ahead. On top of that would come the impacts of climate change on Indonesia, which include lower agricultural yields, leading to food shortages and price increases and damage to fisheries due to reduced coral reefs.[10]

Greenpeace and other groups such as Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI), the Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMAN) and the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) are calling for a moratorium on coal mining on Kalimantan.[11] The groups are asking the government to review existing concession permits, particularly where they overlap with areas that have already been protected under a two-year forestry moratorium on the allocation of new concessions that was declared in May 2011.[12]

Potential for renewable energy

Indonesia does not need to risk its natural environment and undermine Kalimantan's indigenous communities for the sake of development that is achieved through the unsustainable extraction of fossil fuels. There are other ways the country could meet its economic goals.

The Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution scenario for Indonesia shows how the country could meet its burgeoning energy demand with reliable, sustainable energy solutions without relying on coal. Instead of spending scarce public money on non-renewable, destructive extractive industries, the country could focus on high-value added industries, as a pathway to development.

Indonesia has the natural resources to become a leader in the provision of renewable geothermal energy. Together with other technologies such as solar and biomass, the
country's renewable energy industry could be worth $40bn by 2030; and could reduce the country's dependence on coal by as much as 15%. This kind of investment could cut Indonesia's emissions by at least 10% without taking into account other emissions-reduction strategies, such as energy efficiency.[13] These renewable-energy industries would keep on boosting Indonesia's economy into the future, long after the coal had run out.

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[1] The Age (2012). China slowdown hits Indonesian coal exporters. 7 September 2012.

[2] BP (2012). Statistical review of world energy, 2012. June 2012.

[3] IEA (2012a). CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2012.

[4] Harrington A & Trivett M (2012). Indonesian Coal Review - The short term option. Patersons Securities, Perth, Australia.

[5] World Bank (2012c). Coal rents (% of GDP).

[6] The value of the 2011 coal output of 325Mt at a free on board price of $60-80 US dollars was 2.3-3.1% of Indonesia's GDP of $846.45bn as reported in IMF World Economic Outlook Database, October 2012.
The planned coal export expansion implies a 5.0% annual growth rate of coal output and the IEA World Energy Outlook 2012 foresees coal prices declining from 2011 levels until 2015, meaning that the added value from coal production will grow slower than output. The IMF projects the Indonesian GDP to grow at 6.0-6.8% a year until 2017, implying a declining GDP share of coal production.

[7] Cosslett CE & van Paddenburg A (2012). Heart of Borneo: Investing in Nature for a Green Economy. WWF Heart of Borneo Global Initiative. Jakarta, Indonesia. p112.

[8] Jaringan Advokasi Tambang - Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) 2010. Deadly Coal, JATAM, Jakarta, Indonesia, p21.

[9] Cosslett CE & van Paddenburg A (2012) op cit.

[10] McKinsey Global Institute (2012). The Archipelago Economy: Unleashing Indonesia's Potential. McKinsey & Company, Seoul, South Korea, p61.

[11] Visit jatam.org to find out more about this local campaign.

[12] Cosslett CE & van Paddenburg A (2012) op cit.

[13] McKinsey Global Institute (2012) op cit, p61


Indonesia Digging Up Too Much Coal: Greenpeace

Jakarta Globe

30 January 2013

Indonesia's ambitious plans to boost coal production and exports from Kalimantan are ill-advised and not worth the environmental and social cost, according to a key report from Greenpeace.

In the "Point of No Return" report released last week, the environmental group said the Indonesian government was one of a handful of governments helping "push the world past the point of no return" by pursuing massive coal, oil and gas projects that would produce as much new carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 as the entire United States.

"These new climate-changing mega-projects are the direct result of the hypocrisy shown by a handful of governments," Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace International, said in a press release on the organization's website.

"These governments claim they want to prevent catastrophic climate change, but shamefully continue to approve and promote major fossil fuel projects that will lead to climate chaos and devastation," he added.

In Indonesia's case, the report said, the government was risking the livelihoods of indigenous people and the rich biodiversity in Kalimantan by continuing to increase coal production.

"As a result of expansion in Kalimantan, Indonesia's coal output has been surging - reaching an average growth rate of 20 percent a year since 2000, from 77 million tons a year to 325 million tons in 2011," the report said.

"The planned increase in coal exports would produce an additional 460Mt [megatons] of greenhouse gas emissions, as much CO2 as the entire emissions of the UK in 2010."

The report warned that in order to achieve that increase, mining firms would expand their operations onto land belonging to indigenous groups, resulting in polluted groundwater, loss of livelihoods, health problems and disputes.

"While the Indonesian government pays lip service to environmental sustainability in the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia's Economic Development (MP3EI), it largely ignores the terrible price those living around the mines will have to pay," Greenpeace said.

"Reports have surfaced of the oppression of those speaking out against the destructive mining practices."

Mining operations would also threaten huge swaths of rainforest that are home to endangered species such as the orangutan, thereby racking up major environmental and social costs, Greenpeace said.

"Now, the Indonesian government is planning to spend public money on infrastructure investments and incentives that aim to dramatically increase coal exports from Kalimantan even further. The toll on the people and the environment will be enormous," the report said.


Beijing plans coal pollution clampdown

Anthony Halley

Mining.com

23 January 2013

After off-the-chart air pollution in Beijing in mid-January, the city's acting mayor announced that 450 heavy-polluting coal plants will be closed.

Mayor Wang Anshun also claimed that 180,000 old cars will be taken off Beijing's roads, according to a news report by Xinhua.

Beijing residents, which number 20 million, are demanding better air quality after pollution monitors showed dangerously high levels of particulates.

The official measure of PM2.5, referring to minute airborne particulate matter which is the most hazardous to human health, peaked at 993 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing in mid-January, according to pollution monitors installed at the US Consulate.

The inhalation of fine particular matter over long periods of time can significantly raise rates of lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory illness.

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