Abbot Point Coal Port Expansion in North Queensland

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1) Climate, coal & India: Australia announces weak emissions targets – faces problems with giant Indian coal mine as India attacks coal opponents

The Conversation covers Australia’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, the federal government announced today. The target is below the 40-60% target recommended by the government’s Climate Change Authority as a fair contribution to keeping warming below 2C. The announcement comes as secret modelling commissioned by the Australian government is reported (in The Guardian) to show ambitious targets would cost little more than more modest ones.

The climate commitments come amidst an ongoing fight over plans for a new wave of coal exports to India, driven largely by Indian companies Adani and GVK’s proposals to open Queensland’s vast Galilee Basin coal fields.

Business Green reports that Standard Chartered bank is pulling out of a vast coal mining project in Australia that critics say threatens endangered species and could wreck international efforts to contain global warming and The Guardian notes that the Carmichael also faces being left marooned with a new forecast predicting India will phase out coal imports by 2021. Indeed writing for RTCC a senior Indian politician questions whether the coal is necessary for India’s development.

But the decline in the global coal sector is failing to cause panic in India – according to the country’s Economic Times. The paper reports that coal giants believe the Indian government and financial institutions have enough money to fund a rapid expansion in the coal sector without foreign investment.

All of which makes domestic support for coal power and coal mines in India more important. The Guardian’s long-read examines India’s ‘war on Greenpeace’ and the links between the government’s moves to shut down the NGO and it’s efforts to support the coal sector.

2) Gazprom: Energy giant sees profits boost but faces future uncertainty

Russia’s largest gas producer Gazprom beat expectations with a 71 percent jump in first-quarter net profit after weakness in the ruble more than compensated for a drop in sales volumes to Europe.

However the boost comes amidst a flurry of worrying reports for the firm. The FT reports that Gazprom’s 30-year contract for gas supplies to China was based on an optimistic view of the oil market and offered no protection in the event of a prolonged period of low prices, the Russian company said on Monday.

Whilst Reuters reports that Shell’s plans to build a strategic alliance with Russia’s Gazprom could be in jeopardy after the United States added one of Gazprom’s biggest gas fields to its list of Russian sanctions on Friday.

3) Nuclear power: Japan re-starts reactors as China comes to rescue of UK projects

The Guardian reports that a power plant operator in southern Japan has restarted a reactor, the first to begin operating under new safety requirements following the Fukushima disaster.

It comes as RTCC reports that the Chinese are planning to come to the rescue of a European nuclear industry so short of money that it cannot build any new stations without outside help.

In other news

Offshore wind: Reuters reports that France has launched a tender for several floating offshore wind turbine projects in what is set to be the first attempt to test this new technology on an industrial scale.

Polish coal: Global carmakers and big automotive suppliers as well as steel group ArcelorMittal and chemical major Grupa Azoty were among those hit by the power cutbacks, which are the first such restrictions since the country emerged from under communism and have been blamed on unseasonably hot weather.