Union leader: ‘Coal’s not back. Nobody saved the coal industry.’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNN:The president of United Mine Workers of America said Wednesday that the coal industry is not “back,” despite President Donald Trump’s claims.Cecil Roberts said at an event in Washington that his message to Trump and others running for president in 2020 is: “Coal’s not back. Nobody saved the coal industry.” He said coal-fired plants are closing all over the country, calling it a “harsh reality.”Trump held a rally in West Virginia in August 2018 where he touted his administration’s proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. He declared at the time, “We are back. The coal industry is back.”The Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule could result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, while the Obama-era plan it will replace would have avoided 3,600 premature deaths due to pollution from coal-fired power plants by that year. The Obama Clean Power Plan was set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to the climate crisis, by up to 32% compared with 2005 levels by the same year.Roberts said Trump cutting back some of the Obama-era regulations that limited coal-fired power plant emissions “perhaps kept the coal industry…in existence” but that plants are still closing “dramatically,” and the market keeps shrinking. He said coal mining jobs will continue to be lost because of what he called bad public policy, and “eventually there will be no market here or only the strongest companies will survive.”More coal-fired power plants have closed under Trump than during former Obama’s first term, largely because of free-market forces.More: Miners union president: ‘Coal’s not back. Nobody saved the coal industry.’
BlackRock official says capital costs for mining, oil sectors to rise as investors back greener options
BlackRock official says capital costs for mining, oil sectors to rise as investors back greener options FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Huge flows of money into investment funds labeled environmentally friendly will make it more costly for some companies to access capital, BlackRock’s top mining sector investor said on Thursday.Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns have become a buzzword in the financial sector and investment products labeled ESG have multiplied, sucking up billions of dollars and putting pressure on sectors considered “dirty” such as oil and mining.“The weight of money flowing into products in this area, whether they are active or passive, will shift the cost of capital for companies,” said Evy Hambro, who manages the BlackRock World Mining investment trust, addressing the Joburg Indaba mining conference from London.“It’s only recently that we’ve been asked by clients in almost every encounter with them what we’re doing on ESG,” Hambro said.The actively managed BlackRock World Mining trust invests in mining companies including BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Vale and Newmont, according to its June 30 holdings report. BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment manager, has come under fire this year for its investments in coal mining companies.More: Boom of planet-friendly funds will impact companies’ cost of capital: BlackRock
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said on Friday that governments should put renewable energy at the heart of economic rescue packages launched in response to the coronavirus outbreak to avoid a rebound in carbon emissions.“Putting clean energy at the heart of stimulus plans is an excellent strategy for revitalising economies while building a more secure and sustainable energy future,” Birol said after co-hosting an online global ministerial meeting with Denmark.“It is crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Although emissions fell as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, they soon rebounded sharply. We must learn from that experience,” Birol said in a statement.Birol had earlier co-chaired an online meeting with Danish climate minister Dan Joergensen to discuss ways governments could pursue “green recoveries” to accelerate a transition to a low-carbon future while creating jobs and reviving economies.“All of the countries that participated, institutions that participated, agreed that we need to do this in the right way, we need to see this as an opportunity for making green investments,” Joergensen told Reuters.[Matthew Green]More: Put clean energy at heart of stimulus plans: IEA’s Birol IEA’s Birol: Put green energy investment at the center of global recovery efforts
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:China has excluded “clean coal” from a list of projects eligible for green bonds, according to long-awaited new draft guidelines published by the central bank on Friday.The new catalogue of eligible projects replaces the previous one published in 2015, and will be open to public consultation until June 12, the People’s Bank of China said in a notice.China has sought to use green financing to pay for its transition to cleaner modes of growth, but the previous catalogue allowed it to be raised for the “clean use of coal”, including coal washing plants that remove impurities, and technologies that cut pollution during combustion.The inclusion of “clean coal” in the 2015 list had put China at odds with global standards, a point of contention for some international investors and many environmental groups.Chinese financial institutions provided billions of yuan in green financing to coal related projects last year, and have also supported other fossil fuel projects, including the expansion of an oil refiner.The new guidelines include projects that help replace coal with cleaner forms of energy for winter heating. Green finance will also be available for renewable energy or carbon capture projects, and for steel mills to pay for mandatory upgrades to their emissions control technology.[David Stanway, Muyu Xu and Andrew Galbraith]More: China excludes clean coal projects from list eligible for green bonds China removes coal-related projects from green bond program
Norway’s Statkraft to build 519MW wind farm in Brazil FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Norwegian state-owned energy company Statkraft AS will invest roughly BRL 2.5 billion (USD 444.6m/EUR 381m) in the development of a 519-MW wind complex in Brazil.Named Ventos de Santa Eugenia, the asset is expected to break ground in January 2021 and have its first turbines generating power in 2022. Full completion is set for 2023, boosting Statkraft’s capacity in the country to 967 MW.Located in Bahia state, the wind complex will include 14 wind parks with 91 turbines of 5.7 MW each. German wind turbine maker Nordex SE is the equipment manufacturer.Together with Serra de Mangabeira, Santa Eugenia is part of the first phase of the 1.1-GW Ibipeba wind complex.[Lucas Morais]More: Statkraft to build 519-MW wind complex in Brazil
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Spain’s Iberdrola announced a deal worth $8.3 billion including debt on Wednesday, adding PNM Resources to its Avangrid business to create the third-largest U.S. renewable energy operator. Absorbing PNM into Avangrid will create an operator present in 24 states, Iberdrola said, and bring together firms with a combined market value topping $20 billion.PNM’s board unanimously approved the $4.3 billion offer to its shareholders of $50.3 per share, the filing said. Iberdrola expects the deal to close in 2021 and start boosting financial results from the first year.Active in New Mexico and Texas, PNM gives Avangrid a route to expand its regulated business beyond the U.S. northeast. PNM could also benefit from Avangrid’s renewables experience as it works to cut emissions. A plan has now been approved to close its coal-fired San Juan plant in 2022, Iberdrola said.Iberdrola said the merged company would have assets worth $40 billion, generate core earnings of around $2.5 billion and net profit of $850 million.This is Iberdrola’s eighth deal this year as part of a 10 billion euro ($11.85 billion) investment drive of which it has already spent more than 6.6 billion euros. It has shopped for assets in France, Australia and Japan.CEO Ignacio Galan said his strategy consisted of: “Friendly transactions, focused on regulated businesses and renewable energy, in countries with good credit ratings and legal and regulatory stability, offering opportunities for future growth”.[Isla Binnie]More: Iberdrola, PNM to create $20 billion U.S. clean powerhouse Spain’s Iberdrola makes $4.3 billion cash bid for PNM Resources in New Mexico
By Eric Angevine PW: We have performed on every continent in the world. We love to travel to new and different places. It was a real milestone in my life to be able to travel throughout Africa; also to go to China. All of these are places we’ve been that I never dreamed we’d be able to go to. People want to hear this music, thousands of miles away from where it was created, and that’s what’s carried us all over the world. John Cephas: It’s basically the same, and what’s so unique about the Piedmont style is the technique. The alternating thumb and finger picking is what’s made it so important, and that hasn’t changed. No matter what the song is, or what the tempo is, that is what’s unique about it. The governor of Virginia is here tonight. Does that kind of thing make you nervous? You travel a lot. Have you ever played anywhere unusual? The acoustic blues duo Cephas & Wiggins perform all over the country, mixing Delta blues from Mississippi with the local variant known as country blues, or the Piedmont style. They met in Washington, D.C. in 1977, played together in the Big Chief Ellis band, and have released more than a dozen albums since striking out on their own. As befits a national treasure, their most recent release, titled “Richmond Blues” came out on the Smithsonian Folkways label. People get the notion that the blues are all about being sad. There’s a lot more to it, isn’t there? Cephas and WigginsI spoke to guitarist John Cephas and harmonica player Phil Wiggins just before they took the stage in Ashland, Va. Governor Tim Kaine was in the audience. He, and his constituents, looked very happy to be there. BRO: Your recent album, Richmond Blues, follows the historical trail of country blues music throughout the Piedmont region, from Virginia down to Georgia. Does the music sound different in different localities? JC: The Piedmont style actually pre-dates the Delta style. I think that people have gravitated toward the Delta style because it’s much easier—more single-string progressions—where the Piedmont guitar style is a combination of thumb and finger-picking. It’s much more complicated, more melodic, and has a fuller sound. JC: We’ve played with and for just about anyone. We play our music, we’re proud of it, and we’re not intimidated at all. When we make an appearance, we come to play. He’s just a man who wants to hear some good blues. Our nation is in a real financial crunch right now, but there’s a lot of hope with the election of a new president. Is there a blues for that occasion? PW: For me, the challenge is to look at how good I am, and how good I would like to be. It’s a constant learning and growing process. I do look forward to meeting him, though. Phil Wiggins: Oh yeah. There’s a blues for every occasion and every emotion. All blues music is basically music to party to—it’s dance music. You don’t want to dance to something that’s going to drag you down; you want a good beat and something that will make you feel good. The Piedmont blues especially has that quality. It’s very uplifting. It has a real spark to it. Casual fans may be more familiar with Delta blues and its electrified cousin from Chicago. Do you feel like you still need to spread the gospel about the Piedmont style? PW: (laughs) They’re all for that occasion. It’s going to be a struggle, but we took the first step in the right direction.By the end of the evening, John Cephas and Phil Wiggins had found the perfect blues for the occasion, launching themselves into one last traditional tune. “I may be down, but I won’t be down no more,” they sang.
Green cities abound in North America, too. In 2005, Portland, Oregon became the first U.S. city to meet carbon dioxide reduction goals set forth in the landmark (if ill-fated) Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement forged to mitigate the threat of global warming. Seattle, Washington also committed to meeting Kyoto’s goals and has persuaded 590 other U.S. cities to do the same under the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. And Vancouver, British Columbia draws 90 percent of its power from renewable sources while its metro area boasts some 200 parks and more than 18 miles of accessible waterfront. While there is no formal green cities organization, per se, many groups have sprung up to help urban areas achieve their sustainability goals. GreenCities Events, for one, hosts conferences around the U.S. at which local experts, policymakers and business leaders share ideas for greening their region. And International Sustainable Solutions takes urban planners, developers and elected officials on tours so they can check out some of the world’s greenest cities to glean first-hand what works and what can be applied back home. Another green cities leader is Rekyjavik, Iceland, where hydrogen-powered buses ply the streets and renewable energy sources—geothermal and hydropower—provide the city’s heat and electricity. London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Barcelona, Bogota and Bangkok, not to mention Sweden’s Malmo, Ecuador’s Bahía de Caráquez and Uganda’s Kampala, also score high for their green attributes and attitudes. Dear EarthTalk: What is the “green cities” movement? — John Moulton, Greenwich, CT Best described as a loose association of cities focused on sustainability, the emerging “green cities movement” encompasses thousands of urban areas around the world all striving to lessen their environmental impacts by reducing waste, expanding recycling, lowering emissions, increasing housing density while expanding open space, and encouraging the development of sustainable local businesses. San Francisco is a leader in green building, energy efficiency and alternative energy, and has been on the forefront of the battle to reduce plastic usage. Austin, Texas is fast becoming a world leader in solar equipment production and has made great strides in preserving open space. Chicago has invested hundreds of millions of dollars revitalizing its parks and neighborhoods, and has built some of America’s most eco-friendly downtown buildings. It is also working to provide affordable clean power to low-income families. Of course, many would argue that New York City—with its densely packed housing, reliance on mass transit and walking, and recent green policy moves by Mayor Bloomberg—may be the greenest of all. Perhaps the archetypal green city is Curitiba, Brazil. When architect and urban planner Jamie Lerner became mayor in 1972, he quickly closed six blocks of the city’s central business district to cars, delighting residents and business owners alike. Today the pedestrian-free zone is three times larger and serves as the heart of the bustling metropolis. Lerner also put in place a high-tech bus system, greatly reducing traffic, energy usage and pollution; the move also encouraged density around transit hubs and thus preserved open space in other areas that would have likely turned into suburbia. Today the bus system still goes strong, and three-quarters of the city’s 2.2 million residents rely on it every day. CONTACTS: Mayors Climate Protection Center, www.usmayors.org/climateprotection; GreenCities Events, www.greencities.com; International Sustainable Solutions, www.i-sustain.com. SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; [email protected] Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php. EarthTalk is now a book! Details and order information at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalkbook.
Today is Earth Day.Conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson over 40 years ago, Earth Day is now a global celebration and call to action on all things environment. In the wake of the Vietnam War and a local oil spill, Nelson dreamt up a grassroots movement to raise awareness of environmental issues. It worked, and ignited a passion in Americans, and then the world, to fight the good fight and protect what’s most important.It’s hard to think of a time when the environment could have been a more important or prominent issue than right now, but think about the 1970s. Not only Earth Day, but the the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water, Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act all came out of that decade. The parallels between that period of America and this one are striking. Progressive, environmentally conscious presidents, economic turmoil, coming out of a war unpopular with the public, and swirling social issues involving equal rights in the eyes of the law. Of course, you could single out any decade in American history and probably pick out most, if not all of all these factors, but in no other time has the environment been this big an issue and had this big a profile.So what does it mean? It means events like Earth Day are more important than ever in getting environmental policy over the hump. Sure, some great things have happened on the protection and conservation front since the 1970s, but West Virginians can still light their tap water on fire due to fracking and mountain top removal mining, the Colorado River still runs dry before it gets to the sea, and some – politicians especially – still doubt the Earth is warming due to man’s influence. They refuse to believe, at least publicly, that we are killing the Earth. Here’s the thing: they’re right; we are not killing the Earth. We are killing ourselves.The Earth will remain, even if we continue down the path of virtually unchecked pollution and waste, especially in countries like China, Russia, India, and Brazil. These countries are major players in the global economy that are either too large, too corrupt, or growing too fast to keep tabs on all the ecological harm happening within their borders. While the U.S. is partially to blame – we built this country on the backbone of coal and oil, laying waste to nature along the way and now we want other countries just emerging into prominence to do it differently (see also nuclear weapons, imperialism, clandestine service, etc.) – we should not abandon policies what will end up having the largest impact on our future. It starts locally, for sure, but it also starts young.It is hard to change the mind or attitude of an adult; old dogs and new tricks don’t mix well. When I see a beer bottle or potato chip bag on the side of a country road, I think to myself, “How could anyone just throw trash out their window for someone else to pick up?” But then I realize that people have been tossing trash out their windows forever and whoever did that probably saw their mom or dad do it and that’s just the way it is; they don’t care, and they’re not going to change. So that’s where it starts, with the kids.The saying is we don’t own the land, we rent it from our children. As a child, I like to think that I was taught to appreciate nature and the environment, but that is not exactly true. No one ever said to me, “This is nature. Some people don’t care enough about it and hurt it. Don’t do that.” But I was always out in nature playing in the woods, swimming in the water, climbing the trees and feeling the wind in my face. My parents took me camping, on mountain hikes and fishing trips. No one had to tell me it was bad to pollute or litter or otherwise deface the natural world, I just knew.It’s a strange juxtaposition: environmental issues are more prominent than ever, but children are more removed from it than ever. Kids not outside enough, too much computer time, too much hyper-competitive schoolwork, and not enough playtime results in higher rates of obesity and less appreciation for the natural world. While climate change and global warming may be a permanent part of the next generation’s lexicon, the actual concept of protecting open spaces, forests, rivers, and mountains may not be. Without the tangible, physical experience of getting outside the concept of saving the planet, and ourselves, may not manifest itself productively.Turn this Earth Day into Earth Week, Earth Month, Earth Year, or even Earth Life. Planting some trees is a great start, but keep an eye on the bigger picture, also. Plant the seed of consciousness in a child by taking them on a hike in the woods, ride a bike or walk instead of taking the car, pick up litter, recycle, hang clothes to dry. Do whatever it takes, just do it in front of your kids. Expose the next generation to the beauty of the natural world and our responsibility to preserve it, and they just might follow our lead.
Dear Mountain Mama,The busy summer season already seems to be in full-swing for me. Every weekend I drive to a festival, race, or the beach. Having so many fun things to do on the weekends helps make my 9-5 office gig pass painlessly. The only hitch — I’m struggling with how to eat healthy along the way. Gas station food and fast food joints provide such a tempting quick fix to my hunger, but I often end up eating salty, sugary, and fattening foods.Help!On-the-Go Dear On-the-Go,Why not combine cooking with driving? Next time, try a Car-B-Que. Grill while you drive and enjoy a healthy meal ready to eat when you arrive at your destination.Pop your hood and check out your engine space to find ideal grilling spots. Each vehicle is different, so you want to look for places that get hot. Be careful to watch out for places where food slippage could cause damage.Next slice, season, and wrap your favorite grilled foods. Be sure to slice into thin strips so meat cooks thoroughly. Wrap in foil and secure with zip-ties to prevent food from dislodging when the engine rattles. The muffler can be another great grilling spot.On-the-Go, select lean meats and plenty of veggies to keep your diet healthy while on the road. Car-B-Ques take a little planning on the front end, but a survey of your engine and a quick trip to the grocery store means fast food stops are a thing of the past.Bon Appetit!Mountain MamaGOT A QUESTION FOR MOUNTAIN MAMA? SEND IT HERE