Australian news, and some related international items

Unique to Australia – the use of climate funding for upgrading COAL -FIRED plants !!

Out on its own: Australia the only country to use climate funding to upgrade coal-fired plants, Guardian, Adam Morton  @adamlmorton 1 Mar 2019 

Green finance experts say Australia is out of step with World Bank, Europe and the US, which are using funding to combat global warming

Australia is the only developed country that allows climate change funding to be used to upgrade coal-fired power plants, green finance experts say.

Experts say allowing Vales Point coal-fired power station to register with the Morrison government’s emissions reduction fund, rebadged this week as a “climate solutions” policy, puts Australia out of step with the World Bank, Europe and the US, which have all rejected using climate financing for coal power retrofits.

The World Bank has issued US$13bn in green bonds since 2008 to stimulate spending to combat global warming.

China has used green bonds to help build new coal-fired plants to replace older, dirtier stations on the grounds it reduces nitrogen-based emissions causing the country’s oppressive air pollution. But it announced in Decemberit would no longer consider “clean coal” plants – which still emit significant amounts of greenhouse gas – investments in green technology.

Sean Kidney, chief executive of the London-based Climate Bonds Initiative, says China’s shift leaves Australia out on its own.

“If you were committed to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which the Australian government says it is committed to, this is just lunacy,” Kidney says.

“No investors in the western world will accept any green bonds that incentivise anything like coal station retrofits. From an investor’s perspective, coal is a dead duck.”

Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change, says Australia is moving across the trend by considering giving taxpayer support to coal. In addition to the potential support through the climate solutions fund, the government is considering underwriting the cost of building new coal-fired power stations.

In the past fortnight, mining giant Glencore has said it will cap coal production in response to pressure from shareholders, while Rio Tinto stressed it was the only large mining company with no fossil fuel investments, having sold its final coal assets to Glencore last year……..

Even if Vales Point is not successful, critics such as the Australian Conservation Foundation say there is nothing preventing other coal-fired  plant owners from applying for a climate subsidy. Major companies are being paid from the fund for other fossil fuel projects: South African miner Gold Fields is getting $1m for a gas-fired plant the company says it would have built regardless; Rio Tinto has received $2m for a diesel-fired power plant at a bauxite mine.

With prime minister Scott Morrison announcing the Coalition would top up the $2.55bn fund with an additional $2bn over a decade, economists and environmentalists have called for emissions from fossil fuels to be dealt with through different policies and for the fund to focus on projects that restore or protect natural habitat……..


March 2, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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