Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Former UNFCCC secretary Christiana Figueres, architect of the Paris Agreement, has called Australia’s planned giant new coal mine a “Kodak moment”, a doomed investment in a superseded technology, right in the middle of an unprecedented global rush to new coal capacity.
The ‘Kodak moment’ for coal, and why the Adani mine could be a financial disaster
The World Today By Stephen Long
The woman who led the world to a global climate change agreement has a message for Australia: “You really do have to see that we are at the Kodak moment for coal.”
Christiana Figueres, until last year the executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, doesn’t mean happy snaps for the family album.
Rather, the decimation of the once dominant photographic company Kodak by digital change — in the same way that coal-fired power is being eclipsed by renewable energy.
She hopes to see coal, like those sentimental moments in time captured in photographs, confined to history — with the world remembering the contribution the fossil fuel has made to human development, while recognising the need to retire it as a fuel source because of its contribution to global warming.
And, she says, it’s happening.
“The fact is that we are already seeing the decline of coal, we are seeing more and more countries phasing out of coal,” Ms Figueres, who is based in London, told the ABC.
“We just had 25 countries come together [at the latest international climate change talks] in Bonn to say that they are moving out of coal in the short term.
“That does not include Australia or India or China, but you can begin to see the trend.
“India is headed for peaking its coal consumption by the year 2027.”
Back in the real world, even green Europe is finally tiring of the expense and empty promises of the renewables industry (h/t Benny Peiser);
Spain resists coal phase-out
By Aline Robert
The Spanish government is challenging a decision by its main electricity provider to shut down two coal-fired power plants. An attitude that contravenes the Paris Agreement on climate change. EURACTIV France reports.
The Spanish government has engaged in a strange stand-off over Iberdrola’s plan to phase out coal, announced at climate talks in Bonn last week. The company’s CEO, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, pledged to close Iberdola’s coal power plants, including the two Spanish power stations, in Lada in Asturias and Velilla, in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon.
The Spanish company’s plan is to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a 50% reduction of its emissions in 2030 compared to 2007, and investments of €85 billion in renewables in total.
Electricity utility Iberdola is directing 42% of new investments into networks, hoping to reap the benefits of an economy-wide electrification process currently underway in Europe and across the world, a senior company executive has told EURACTIV.
However, rather than encourage the country’s biggest electricity provider, the energy ministry drafted a decree on the procedure of closure of energy facilities, which poses new and very restrictive conditions to close an electricity production site: a site cannot be closed if it is profitable, or if its closure is a threat to the security of supply, or if the prices of electricity may climb.
Germany meanwhile is clear felling protected ancient forests to dig up more coal (h/t Benny Peiser).
German court: Ancient forest can be cleared for coal mine
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BERLIN — Nov 24, 2017, 11:21 AM ET
A court in western Germany says an ancient forest near the Belgian border can be chopped down to make way for a coal strip mine.
Cologne’s administrative court ruled Friday against a legal complaint brought by the environmental group BUND that wanted to halt the clearance of much of the Hambach forest.
Sadly the German article does not detail whether the remains of the ancient forest will be fed into Britain’s huge Drax coal and biomass generator.
One day coal will be superseded; nothing lasts forever. But with formerly green Europe chopping down ancient forests and preventing plant closures to stave off energy disaster, with Asia building coal capacity as fast as they can churn out new generators, I suggest Christiana’s claim that coal is over is a little premature.