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Monday, October 16, 2017

Strategic CSR - Coal

For all the progress we have made in renewable energy, the article in the url below reminds us that the majority of energy produced in the world today still comes from carbon-based sources. While in some parts of the world, additional production capacity is more likely to be renewable, in other parts, fossil fuel energy is not only prevalent, it is expanding:
"Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries."
It seems hard to believe, given our scientific awareness of the damage coal does, but coal is still the dominant energy source in many parts of the world:
"Overall, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald's tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world's coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent."
It is not only China, however. The article provides examples in Egypt, Pakistan, India, and other countries of how the need to develop energy capacity outweighs any professed concern about climate change:
"In Egypt, coal projects by Shanghai Electric and other global developers are set to bring the country's coal-fired capacity to 17,000 megawatts, from near zero, according to the Urgewald database. Pakistan's coal capacity is set to grow to 15,300 megawatts from 190. In Malawi, planned coal projects would bring its coal-fired capacity to 3,500 megawatts from zero. … The world's single largest coal-plant developer is India's National Thermal Power Corporation, which plans to build more than 38,000 megawatts of new coal capacity in India and Bangladesh."
And much of this expansion is being driven by western developers and investors:
"The AES Corporation, based in Arlington, Va., is building coal plants in India and the Philippines with a combined capacity of 1,700 megawatts. … Japan's Marubeni Corporation is involved in joint ventures for a combined 5,500 megawatts of new coal generation in Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia, according to the database. Japan is also adding to its coal-fired capacity at home, to make up for an energy shortfall in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. … Western investors also continue to play a role in financing new coal plants overseas. Bonds and shares of the world's biggest coal developers, like India's National Thermal Power and Marubeni, are frequently found in the portfolios of large institutional investors and banks."
The consequence of all this expansion is yet another nail in the coffin of the Paris Accord:
"The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep the increase in global temperatures from preindustrial levels below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit."
Take care
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As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants
By Hiroko Tabuchi
July 2, 2017
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final