While the world looked the other way, corporate giants abandoned coal

Can we deal with a pandemic and global warming at once – both urgent, one an immediate hit, the other a decade-long burn? Well, yes, because – even with front pages dominated by COVID-19 – last month saw an astonishing concentration of decisions by international corporates to ditch carbon. And they slipped by, with the world looking the other way.

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IEEFA update: The renewable energy transition is coming to Asia

The US–China trade war and COVID-19 have massively impacted coal financing

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Coal's price collapse threatens Australian mines

Almost 60 per cent of the world's thermal coal and more than 30 per cent of Australian thermal coal is unprofitable at current prices, creating a horror backdrop for the long list of miners and ports seeking to refinance debt this winter.

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Grattan Institute report says the Hunter has an historic opportunity to become part of a multi-billion dollar export-focused manufacturing sector.

"The Hunter region deserves a better strategy than just hoping that demand for coal will continue Indefinitely," Tony Wood, Grattan Institute 

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'Never more critical': Government pressed on low-carbon recovery study

The Berejiklian government is being urged by a lower house committee to report within months how the promotion of low-carbon technologies can help revive NSW's economy as well as reducing its dependence on coal.

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Biomass plant set to power up in NSW’s Hunter Valley

The former Redbank coal plant in NSW’s Hunter Valley will be ­repurposed into a biomass fuels power station, with owner Hunter Energy planning to start supplying energy into the national electricity grid by early next year.

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Bioenergy push for emissions reduction and regional growth

Bioenergy could be the Morrison government's next step in its emissions reduction strategy, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency calling for public submissions to develop an industry growth strategy.

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Australia has an opportunity now to invest in the climate future

University of New South Wales Professor Jeremy Moss has taken a close look at the conservative federal Liberal-National government’s fossil fuel subsidies in the climate of COVID-19.

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South Korea is on track to set a 2050 carbon neutrality goal

Seoul is to set a 2050 net zero emissions goal and end coal financing, after the Democratic Party’s landslide victory in one of the world’s first Covid-19 elections

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Doubling down on utility-scale renewables Solar and wind continue to attract investors as fossil fuel assets fall

IEEFA update: Amid the global economic crisis, utility-scale wind and solar continue to be seen not just as a long-term investment but one for the near term as well. 

 

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Is this what the Hunter's coal miners can expect: locked gates, no retraining, no alternative economic strategies...?

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Coronavirus threat to coal exports, industry viability

Daily Mercury, 6th March 2020 - REPORTS this week indicate that air pollution in China has declined to a record low. Far less coal, gas and oil is being burned after travel restrictions and factory shutdowns as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.

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What is the future of Hunter mining and its 13,000 direct employees?

What is the future of Hunter mining and its 13,000 direct employee?

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Port of Newcastle 'clearly sees the risk' ahead for thermal coal

PORT of Newcastle's push to diversify from an over-reliance on thermal coal shows it "clearly sees the risk" and warning signs from Australia's biggest coal export destinations including Japan, said a leading energy finance analysis group.

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Germany is shutting down its coal industry for good, so far without sacking a single worker

Deep underground in Germany's Ruhr valley, Uwe Seeger plunges a drill into the black earth just as thousands of coal miners in this region have done before him.

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Capital flight from thermal coal is accelerating

IEEFA Update: Global capital flight from thermal coal and the coal-fired power sector is already at a canter in 2020.

BlackRock’s January announcement of its divestment from thermal coal is huge, and an unexpected move by this global giant (US$7 trillion assets under management (AuM), given the asset manager’s entrenchment as a climate action laggard.

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Port of Newcastle appoints Ross Cadell to advocate for Hunter economic diversification

Newcastle local and former NSW Nationals State Director Ross Cadell has joined Port of Newcastle at a critical time for the diversification of the Hunter economy and its international trade gateway. Mr Cadell begins as Special Projects Director on 3 February, leading the political and regional stakeholder engagement efforts as the Port works alongside all levels of government to advance key infrastructure projects that will future-proof the local, state and national economies.

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A fast train from Newcastle to Sydney could help the Hunter's economic transition

The former prime minister spoke up this week, calling for a fast train between Sydney and Newcastle.

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Hotel mogul launches solar farm in coal country

Multimillionaire cosmetic surgeon and Australia’s largest private hotel owner Jerry Schwartz has embarked on a new project – a $10 million solar farm in the NSW Hunter Valley.

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Billions of dollars worth of large-scale renewable energy are in the pipeline across the Hunter

The Hunter Region is fast becoming a powerhouse for large-scale renewable energy projects that will help drive the region's transition from coal to a low-carbon economy.

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What's the plan for Mudgee for the coming decades?

What will the Mudgee region do after mining?

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Loss of well paid jobs poses the greatest threat to a collaborative and 'just' transition

The strongest arguments posed by those who want a continuation of coal mining and coal fired power stations in the Hunter are where will the existing workforce in these two industries find such well paid jobs and what will be the economic driver of the region if not thermal coal?

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Singleton and Lake Macquarie councils have asked a federal jobs inquiry to help unlock mining's grip on Hunter land

Lake Macquarie Council has identified several former mining areas on the lake's west to reduce the cost of delivering new housing, while Singleton Council has told a federal inquiry its ability to transition from coal and a "single engine economy" relies in part on loosening mining industry control over large parts of the shire to stimulate non-mining jobs.

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The Port of Newcastle one of many groups calling for a Hunter plan to deal with climate change

THE Federal and NSW governments are under pressure over the lack of planning for the Hunter region's transition from coal after submissions from councils, trade unions, environment groups, Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper and the Port of Newcastle calling for government action.

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Region's mines face global 'headwinds' over the next two years, says Office of the Chief Economist forecast

HUNTER coal mines are competing in an "oversupplied" global market that will see Australia's thermal coal export earnings slump from $26 billion in 2018-19 to a projected $18 billion by 2020-21, says a two-year forecast by the Federal Government's Office of the Chief Economist.

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Lack of government leadership is the biggest issue as the region transitions away from coal

Energy Minister Angus Taylor's Liddell taskforce told Singleton 'comfortable' with Liddell closure plans.

LACK of government leadership is the biggest issue facing the Hunter in the lead-up to the closure of Liddell power station and as the region transitions away from coal, Hunter councils have told a federal/state Liddell taskforce.

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Hunter councils have told a federal/state taskforce it's time for governments to lead transition from coal

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Students from across Australia have written to Hunter miners about an issue 'bigger than we've ever faced'

STUDENTS from across Australia have written to Hunter coal workers on the eve of a climate action strike in Newcastle today, after Wednesday's landmark rejection of the Bylong coal mine because of "intergenerational inequity".

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Hunter Joint Organisation has formed a Regional Economic Transition Standing Committee

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Singleton's 'single engine economy' leaves its susceptible to coal price and demand fluctuations

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NSW energy inquiry

The NSW inquiry into the sustainability of energy supply and resources is an opportunity to give the people of the Hunter a seat at the table in diversifying and preparing our region for changes in energy and export markets. Make sure you grab your chance to have your say by making a submission by 15 September

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Macquarie, JPMorgan explore BHP thermal coal sell-off

Market focus remains on BHP’s residual thermal coal businesses with investment banks Macquarie and JPMorgan doing work on exploring a potential exit of the business.

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Roadmap to Taranaki’s success in low-emissions future

The Taranaki 2050 Roadmap will help the region’s communities, enterprises, and residents navigate New Zealand’s shift to the low-emissions economy of the future, while ensuring the important aspects of life in Taranaki can be shared by everyone.

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Smart countries adapt to finance industry’s exodus from coal

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Lower house inquiry to set 'responsible road map' out of coal for NSW

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BHP investigates moving on from thermal coal market

The Australian Business Review, 16th July 2019: Stronger signs are emerging that BHP is poised to exit the thermal coal market, with sources suggesting that the resources giant has hired Macquarie Capital to undertake a scoping study to determine whether to divest investments in the sector estimated to be worth more than $4 billion.

Under consideration is believed to be its Mount Arthur Coal business in NSW and the 33 per cent interest in its long-life Colombian mine Cerrejon.

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How Germany closed its coal industry without sacking a single miner

The Age, 14th July 2019: Hans Mohlek stood at the gates of the Prosper-Haniel coal mine in the Ruhr Valley in the west of Germany on a warm summer afternoon earlier this month, looked up and wept quietly.

The mine closed last December and Mohlek was among the last workers to leave. But what moved him so much on a recent visit with a handful of journalists was not just end of mining at Prosper-Haniel, but the end of a way of life that it represented.

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Australia’s key export market – Japan, moving beyond thermal coal

10 July 2019 (IEEFA Australia) – Australia will struggle to seek alternative markets for its thermal coal as a declining Japanese market increasingly turns towards cheaper renewable energy solutions, a new IEEFA report out today has found.

The report, Japanese Thermal Coal Consumption Approaching Long Term Decline: Australia’s Biggest Export Destination to Transition Away from Coal, examines the momentum away from thermal coal in Australia’s key export market.

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Chinese expert warns Australia against investing in new coal mines

The Age, 10th July 2019:  A Chinese renewable energy expert has warned Australia against investing in new coal mines because her country, one of Australia's biggest coal customers, is moving rapidly away from coal-based energy production.

Australian thermal coal prices have dropped this year as China officials officials slowed customs clearance.

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Germany's coal exit contrasts with Australia

Bochum, Germany: While the ink is still drying on the approval for Australia's new controversial coal mine, Germany is working to extinguish the coal industry entirely. Read the full article from The Age here

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What Australia can learn from Germany's coal exit

June 27, 2019. German social historian Professor Stefan Berger and Director of Global And European Affairs with German mining trade union IG BCE Michael Mersmann speak to AAP about the lessons Australia can learn from Germany's exit from coal mining. 

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AFR: BHP upgrades coal to dodge China ban

BHP is working on a plan to change the types of coal it produces in NSW  in response to the Chinese import curbs that shocked coal markets earlier this year.

China is the main buyer of export thermal coal from BHP's Mt Arthur mine in the Hunter Valley, but unofficial import restrictions on Australian coal shipments this year have prompted BHP to study ways to produce more of the coal specification demanded by Japanese customers.

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'No jobs on a dead planet', warns world's top union leader

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University of Newcastle researchers create a new material capable of storing energy when heated

A new material capable of revolutionising energy storage systems is on the verge of being commercialised at the University of Newcastle. Read the article in Newcastle Herald here

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Hunter Region sits on the fault line of renewable energy evolution and the traditional coal industry

If ever there was a moment in history that highlighted the tension between the promise of renewable energy and an entrenched reliance on the coal industry it is the Hunter Region in 2019. Read the article from Matt Kelly of the Newcastle Herald here 

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Coal transitions: What's at stake for workers, and what are the broader economic challenges?

If Australia is to move on from coal, how do we do it? An obvious gap in the Federal Election debates was a comprehensive plan for an industry, and employment, to replace coal in the regions.  Geraldine Doogue speaks with Chris Briggs, Research principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, at the University of Technology, Sydney and  Professor Frank Jotzo, Director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy, ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and director of the Australian-German Energy Transition Hub. Listen now

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Thermal coal falls to lowest level in two years as climate policies take hold

HUNTER Valley coal prices have slumped by a quarter in the past year as a number of Asian countries move to reduce their reliance on coal for electricity generation, a leading industry journal, the Australian Coal Report, has confirmed. Read more here

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IEEFA report: GE made a massive bet on the future of natural gas and thermal coal, and lost

Investors lost hundreds of billions by GE’s misreading of the energy transition

June 6, 2019 (IEEFA U.S.) – Investors lost billions when the (once) most valuable company in the world, General Electric Company (GE) and its largest shareholders – BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity – misjudged the pace of the global energy transition and subsequent collapse of the gas turbine and thermal power construction market, a new IEEFA report finds.

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Australia’s Resource Industry – A Look into the Crystal Ball

Alexandra Heath, Head of Economic Analysis addresses the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies 
Perth – 5 June 2019 Excerpt:
Global demand for Australia's commodities:

One of the biggest factors affecting the global demand for commodities is population growth – more people need more places to live, more food to eat and demand more energy. The process of industrialisation and urbanisation also increases demand for commodities, although the composition of that demand can change as countries become richer. For example, diets become increasingly protein-based and construction becomes more steel-intensive. The increase in demand from these factors will be offset to some extent over time by technological progress that allows commodity inputs to be used more efficiently. There are also policy considerations, such as governments' commitments to the Paris Agreement, that will affect the composition of commodity demand going forward.

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Road to renewal is region's route to resilience

The CEO of the Minerals Council of NSW, Stephen Galilee, doesn't seem keen for the Hunter to diversify its economy and prepare for the opportunities and challenges that will come as the countries we sell coal to switch their economies towards renewable energy. Read Daniel McLaughlin's opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald here

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