Wednesday 28th of September 2022

burning the past to roast the future…...

Global coal demand could reach 8 billion tons in 2022, matching a historic high set in 2013, and further growing in 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a coal market update report published on Thursday.

“Based on current economic and market trends, global coal consumption is forecast to rise by 0.7% in 2022 to 8 billion tons, assuming the Chinese economy recovers as expected in the second half of the year... This global total would match the annual record set in 2013, and coal demand is likely to increase further next year to a new all-time high,” the report states.

According to the agency, demand is being driven up by rising natural gas prices, forcing many countries to increasingly switch from gas to coal and reopen previously closed coal-fired power plants.

The report states that China, which is “responsible for more than half of global coal consumption,” will be the main driver for the growth in demand in the second half of 2022, despite seeing demand drop by 3% in the first half of the year.

Demand for coal in India is also expected to rise due to the country’s economic growth and more widespread use of electricity. The EU is also forecast to contribute to demand, as it is increasingly turning to coal in electricity production to replace gas or save it for the winter due to the decline in Russian gas imports.

The IEA adds that the coal markets will remain volatile in 2023, especially after the EU coal embargo comes into effect, and prices may continue to grow well into next year.

“As soaring natural gas prices have made coal more competitive in many markets, international coal prices have risen in turn, hitting three all-time peaks between October 2021 and May 2022. Sanctions and bans on Russian coal have disrupted markets, and issues in other major exporters have contributed to supply shortages. With other coal producers facing constraints in replacing Russian output, prices on coal futures markets indicate that tight market conditions are expected to continue well into next year and beyond,” the IEA states.




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flicker netfllciker….

Netflix gives every impression of being one of the world’s most climate friendly corporations. 

The streaming company responsible for the blockbuster climate movie “Don’t Look Up” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence plans to slash or offset all of its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, a goal known as net-zero.

Netflix is producing and providing a platform for documentaries, TV series, and feature films educating viewers about the climate crisis — about 160 million households globally watched one of these stories in 2020, according tothe company.

“The film industry needs a leader when it comes to climate action,” Katharine Hayhoe, a chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy who belongs to an independent advisory group of experts for Netflix’s sustainability plan, has said. “I’m thrilled at how Netflix is taking on this leadership role.” 

But away from the public eye there is one area where Netflix is anything but green.

The company has donated to a rightwing think tank in Canada that has also been supported financially by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Exxon-owned tar sands producer Imperial Oil, and the Charles G. Koch Foundation, an organization linked to Koch Industries.

Known as the Macdonald Laurier Institute, this Ottawa-based think tank boasts of having “great influence” in pushing forward a massive tar sands pipeline expansion called Trans Mountain. That project’s greenhouse gas emissions could far eclipse any carbon reductions that Netflix promises in its “net-zero” plan.

The Macdonald Laurier Institute is a relatively new think tank. Founded in 2010, its board of directors and advisorscome from some of the top legal, lobbying and financial firms in Canada. It is also a member of the Atlas Network, a U.S.-based coalition whose hundreds of partners worldwide include the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch.

The Macdonald Laurier Institute has partnered with Atlas on a campaign to discourage the Canadian government from implementing laws that would give Indigenous communities greater power to push against oil and gas projects on their land.

Netflix is listed as a donor to the Macdonald Laurier Institute in the organization’s 2018 annual report, alongside Imperial Oil, the Atlas Network and several dozen other supporters. “We believe that with your help we will bring Canada closer to becoming the best governed country in the world,” the annual report says of donors like Netflix. 

The Macdonald Laurier Institute, also known as MLI, didn’t respond to questions about the Netflix donation.

This might seem like an odd pairing, because Netflix by some measures is one of the most politically liberal tech companies, and MLI is arguably one of Canada’s most rightwing think tanks. But at the end of the day, Netflix is a large corporation with financial interests that could potentially be served by supporting a think tank that claims it “has been regularly recognized for our influential thought leadership in Canada.” 

“Just because the Macdonald Laurier Institute is seen as more conservative, and Netflix is seen as having a more progressive agenda, doesn’t necessarily mean that their interests don’t align,” Donald Abelson, a professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario who is an expert on think tanks, told DeSmog.


But Abelson cautioned against assuming that Netflix supports MLI’s full political agenda; more than likely, its donation had nothing to do with pipelines. “Let’s say you joined a political party, does that mean you agree with all the policies or platforms that emerge from that party?” he said. 

Netflix didn’t respond to questions from DeSmog about the size of its donation or whether it was aware of MLI’s support for Trans Mountain, a pipeline designed to export an additional 590,000 barrels per day from the tar sands. 

The think tank has an entire section about the pipeline in its report naming Netflix as a donor. That section doesn’t once mention climate change and claims that a failure to build Trans Mountain “threatens Canada’s economy.” 

In the year that Netflix donated to the think tank, tensions were increasing over the Trans Mountain project, a 714-mile pipeline expansion connecting the Alberta tar sands to oil-carrying supertankers in the west coast city of Vancouver.

Many environmental groups and First Nations were opposed to the project, and so was British Columbia Premier John Horgan, whose government delayed issuing crucial permits while arguing that the environmental risks of a potential oil spill couldn’t be justified. 

“I do believe we have a mandate to defend the coast,” Horgan said in 2018

Kinder Morgan, the Texas-based company building the expansion, threatened to walk away entirely. All this constituted a “nightmare” to the Macdonald Laurier Institute, which argued in a report that “the attractiveness of Canada as a place for major investments is at stake.”

In May 2018, a senior fellow at the institute named Dwight Newman testified to Canada’s Senate, where he argued that the federal government had the legal authority to override environmental opposition to the pipeline in B.C. “Canada does have the legislative powers to get this project done if there is the will to do so,” Newman said

Two weeks later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government would pay $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan, effectively nationalizing the project. Trudeau called Trans Mountain “a vital project in the national interest” in a tweet, just one day after his government had declared a national “climate emergency” in Canada.

The Macdonald Laurier Institute was thrilled about the role it played in the pipeline fight. It claimed in its 2018 annual report to have shaped “government efforts to deal with the constitutional issues surrounding Trans Mountain,” adding that, “We have been at the forefront of efforts to chart a way out of the pipeline impasse.”

The Macdonald Laurier Institute didn’t say in its report how much money Netflix donated that year. But it is possible to quantify the climate damage that will be caused by Trans Mountain. 

The pipeline, whose cost has now risen to CAD $21.4 billion, could result in up to 15 million tons of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere annually once it’s completed in 2023, according to calculations by Environment and Climate Change Canada.  

Netflix, by contrast, is now promising to cut or neutralize roughly 1 million tons of greenhouse gases related to its operations by the end of the year. 

Trans Mountain threatens to wipe out those climate gains entirely. 







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coal — the fuel of last resort…..

Move over gas — there’s a new energy shortage in town.

As Europe faces its worst energy crunch in decades amid the war in Ukraine, national capitals have been scrambling to shore up their gas reserves ahead of the winter. But another fuel could also soon be in short supply: coal. 

Although the highly polluting fuel has earned pariah status as the EU looks to slash emissions, consumption is on the rise as a number of countries, including Austria and the Netherlands, either switch old coal-fired plants back on or boost existing capacity to save on gas. 


The problem is that the EU will soon be deprived of its biggest supplier: The bloc slapped sanctions on Russian coal in April, forbidding further imports starting August 10. 

That means the 2 million tons of coal it is set to receive from Russia this month will be the last such shipment, said Alex Thackrah, a senior coal analyst at the market intelligence firm Argus Media. 

Add to that serious logistical challenges in sourcing and transporting the fuel from elsewhere, and "it's certainly going to be a challenge to get enough coal this winter," he said.

Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia are all potential suppliers, but EU countries will face "extremely high prices" due to the particularly high-calorific type of coal normally used across the bloc, according to Thackrah. Coal prices on the API2 Rotterdam hub, a European benchmark, hit $380 per thousand tons this week, already a more than fourfold increase on this time last year. 

The EU will also face "stiff competition" from players such as India and South Korea, which have existing coal supply agreements with many of these countries, said Mark Nugent, an analyst at the shipbroker Braemar. 

Logistical issues risk complicating matters further.


Much of the EU’s coal — which arrives via ports in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp — travels along the Rhine river by barge. Uncharacteristically high temperatures this month have lowered the river's water levels to 65 centimeters, reducing how much cargo barges can carry by two-thirds, said Thackrah.

Although power plants typically have their own stockyards, coal that can't be delivered to them is typically stored in ports to await further transport, but "inventories at European ports are nearing maximum levels," said Nugent. 

According to data from coal trade association Euracoal, shared with POLITICO, some 8 million tons of coal are currently stuck in ports.

Bracing for blowback

Supply bottlenecks and shortfalls are likely to be felt most intensely in Poland and Germany. 

A shortage in Germany — which made up 37 percent of the EU’s total hard coal and lignite consumption last year — would be particularly painful for the steel and chemicals industries, said Rudolf Juchelka, professor of economic geography at the University Duisburg-Essen. Power generation would also be affected, but to a lesser extent.

Juchelka also warned that the government could be forced to implement stricter energy rationing measures if Russia shuts off gas supplies or logistical issues continue to snarl up coal deliveries. “If those [effects] come together … into one big effect, there will be problems,” he said.


restocking before sanctions…….

EU member states imported 28% more coal from Russia between March and May compared with the same period last year, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday. The European Union’s ban on Russian coal came into force on Wednesday.

According to its analysis of UN Comtrade data, deliveries amounted to 29.4 million tons during that period. In monetary terms, supply increased by 3.9 times to $9.3 billion. The average price of imported coal was about $317 per ton against $105 per ton between March and May 2021.

According to UN Comtrade, the main importers of coal were Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

The European Union embargo was agreed in April and took effect on August 10. It is part of the bloc’s fifth wave of Russian sanctions.

READ MORE: UK to sanction Russian oil and coal

Prior to the ban, Russia was the EU’s biggest coal supplier, accounting for about 45% of total imports. The bloc imported nearly €4 billion ($4.4 billion) worth of coal from Russia annually. Germany and Poland are particularly vulnerable to the embargo, which could inflict further pain on the 27-member bloc, which is already reeling from severe energy shortages and high oil and gas prices.








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