Questions on Australian ‘Big Four’ Banks’ Support for Coal Industry

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Slezak for The Guardian:Australia’s big four banks are continuing to finance fossil fuel projects despite embracing a 2C or better global warming target, according to figures from financial activists Market Forces.The Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank signed off on loans totalling $5.5bn to coal, oil, gas and liquefied natural gas projects in 2015, a figure that is higher than three of the preceding eight years.Among the deals were eight loans for coal projects signed in Australia in 2015, with a total value of $4bn, including for struggling Whitehaven Coal, operator of the controversial Maules Creek mine. All of the projects had some financing from the big four banks, with their contributions totalling $995m.“It’s pretty much business as usual for the big four,” said Julien Vincent from Market Forces.It comes amid a series of dire warnings for the future of coal, with consumption declining in major economies such as the US and China. Last week, Goldman Sachs forecast that coal may be in terminal decline, with the fall in demand possibly being irreversible.All big four banks have made statements supporting a 2C target and they have acknowledged the need to play a role in achieving a shift away from fossil fuels.After the Paris climate accord of December 2015, Westpac went so far as saying it would take “concrete action to ensure our lending and investing activities support an economy that limits global warming to less than two degrees”.ANZ’s statement acknowledged worries that lending to fossil fuels was in conflict with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It committed to not lend to any new coal-fired power plants that didn’t use high-quality coal.The data was collected from public announcements made by the banks since 2008 and shared with Guardian Australia by Market Forces.Vincent said it showed the banks’ actions were not consistent with statements about climate change because continuing to exploit fossil fuels would blow the carbon budget, increasing warming beyond 2C.Among the $5.5bn of financing from the big four banks, there were 21 fossil fuel projects, including $300m for the struggling Whitehaven Coal, which had its loan refinanced by ANZ, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank.Under the new terms, Whitehaven Coal was given a lower interest rate, despite its share price plummeting to a quarter of what it was when its controversial Maules Creek mine was first approved in July 2013.When the refinancing was announced last year, Whitehaven Coal’s chief executive, Paul Flynn, was quoted in Fairfax Media trumpeting the support from the banks as a mark of confidence in the coal industry.“For those who think the coal industry is part of the past, they may need to rethink their views, because that is certainly not the view of those who have just funded the deal,” Flynn said.“To have all the major banks represented in our syndicate and for them to sign up again, on even better terms than what we had before, obviously their belief in our business and our industry is very strong.”Since that deal was announced less than a year ago, the company’s share price has fallen 65%. Tim Buckley, an analyst from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Guardian Australia the banks immediately started trading the debt in secondary markets and lost 20% on it in the first few months.Buckley said the bad performance of that loan was an “a-ha moment” for the banking industry. He said he was sure that next year similar analysis would show a drop in fossil fuel lending but not because of environmental concerns – simply because they are realising fossil fuels are a bad bet.“The financial markets have realised that [the Paris accord] was a massive aha-moment for everyone … They are saying, ‘Look, we know that policy action globally is inevitable,” Buckley said. As a result they were beginning to be more cautious about financing fossil fuels and that would be reflected at the end of this year, he said.In response to the Market Forces figures, the big four banks all sent statements to Guardian Australia emphasizing their lending to renewable energy projects.Full article: Australia’s biggest banks pump billions into fossil fuels despite climate pledges Questions on Australian ‘Big Four’ Banks’ Support for Coal Industry
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Japanese investment bank launches $45 million fund to seed domestic ‘mega solar’ plants

first_imgJapanese investment bank launches $45 million fund to seed domestic ‘mega solar’ plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Environmental Finance ($):Daiwa Securities Group has launched the Daiwa GI Green Fund, called the “Solar Fund,” with a committed capital of totally ¥5 billion (US$45 million).The two asset managers of the fund, which will invest into large-scale solar projects in Japan, are GI Capital Management and Daiwa Real Estate Asset Management.The fund seeks to deliver stable operations by building the ‘mega solar’ plants with funding that partially finances the projects’ pre-construction phase and by receiving funding from financial institutions.Daiwa, with ¥67 trillion ($605 billion) assets under custody, has established Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure (DEI) to expand its business in the energy and infrastructure sector. As the Solar Fund is part of this expansion, it is planned that Daiwa will transfer its interest to DEI in the future.More ($): Daiwa launches solar fundAsset Publishing and Research Ltd.:Daiwa Securities Group and GI Capital Management are establishing the Daiwa GI Green Fund that will invest in large-scale solar power projects in Japan.The launch of the fund forms part of Daiwa’s plan to expand into the renewable energy space. It set up the Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure Co with the purpose of boosting its energy and infrastructure assets.According to Daiwa, its interest in the solar fund will eventually be transferred to the new Daiwa energy company.The solar fund’s business activities will contribute in achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy and Goal 13: Climate Action.Daiwa Real Estate Asset Management is also a partner to the fund. Daiwa and Daiwa Real contribute in accelerating the introduction of renewable power generations in Japan through the funding of large-scale photovoltaic solar power plant projects.More: Daiwa Launches New Solar Fundlast_img read more

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Gas industry may be next target for renewables, analysts say

first_imgGas industry may be next target for renewables, analysts say FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The global gas industry, boosted by a host of new projects to feed booming demand, is in better shape than at any point in the last five years but analysts warn it is getting ahead of itself, pointing to the rise of renewable energy as a threat.Commodity merchant Vitol expects trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) to double to 600 million tonnes annually (mtpa) in the coming years, reflecting forecasts by Russian LNG producer Novatek which sees 700 mtpa by 2030. To meet that demand, companies are working on final investment decisions for a new wave of mega projects.“The industry is confident,” said Christian Brown, president for the oil and gas sector at Canadian-listed SNC Lavalin, an industrial project management company. Brown said the industry was in its best shape since 2014, when a slump in oil and gas prices led to aggressive cost cutting and scrapping of projects. He said most growth was coming from U.S. unconventional oil and gas.Still, not everybody is buying into the industry’s confidence, warning the fast rise of cheap renewable power generation, backed up by improving battery technology, would increasingly take market share away from the gas industry.“The oil and gas industry are undergoing major disruption from electrification and renewables,” said Bernadette Cullinane, of Deloitte Consulting. “LNG producers must lower costs to compete with solar plus storage,” she said, warning that projects vying for investment, but unable to reduce costs enough to compete with renewables, were likely fail.Following a sharp price falls in panel costs and improvement in efficiency, global solar power capacity has soared from just 15 gigawatt (GW) a decade ago to around 400 GW now, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) showed. Most forecasts expect capacity to double again by the mid-2020s. “Given how fast this disruption is occurring, we believe the oil and gas industry must act now,” Deloitte’s Cullinane said.More: Buoyant gas industry may be blindsided by renewableslast_img read more

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Disney moving closer to meeting green energy goals

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The New York Times:Even the visionary Walt Disney probably could not have imagined this one.The Walt Disney Company is just months away from generating enough renewable solar energy to fully power two of its four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida. Before the end of 2018, Disney will flip the switch on a sprawling 50-megawatt solar power facility composed of more than a half-million solar panels, just outside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The move is aimed, in part, at helping Disney achieve its larger plan to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent worldwide by 2020, compared to 2012.The soon-to-open Disney World solar facility, spread along a 270-acre designated renewable energy area, will produce enough energy to supply 10,000 homes annually and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 57,000 tons per year, according to Disney’s estimates. That is the annual equivalent of removing roughly 9,300 automobiles from the roads, the company says.The energy will not actually go to Disney’s theme parks, but rather into the local power grid. Nonetheless, with one eye on its global reputation and another on its customers’ increasing focus on sustainability, Disney is emerging as a renewable energy force.Disney’s move toward cleaner energy comes when brand image for global giants goes far beyond, say, merely a ride on Space Mountain — particularly among free-spending but environmentally sensitive millennials. Indeed, some 79 percent of consumers say they seek out products that are socially or environmentally responsible, according to a 2017 study by Cone Communications.More: The Magic Kingdom is going green Disney moving closer to meeting green energy goalslast_img read more

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Rystad Energy group: Green energy investment to top oil & gas in Asia Pacific region by 2020

first_imgRystad Energy group: Green energy investment to top oil & gas in Asia Pacific region by 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Oil and gas majors are increasingly investing in renewables in the face of mounting pressure from consumers, investors and regulators pushing for an energy transition. In the Asia-Pacific region outside China, renewable energy investment will overtake spending on upstream oil and gas projects as early as next year, according to a report by Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy.By 2020, capital expenditure on renewables will surpass US$30 billion and leave fossil fuel exploration and production spending in its wake for the first time. The trend will be driven by big contributions from Australia and Asian countries including India, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea.“These countries each have strong pipelines for renewable energy developments of all types, including offshore wind,” said Gero Farruggio, head of renewables at Rystad Energy. “And importantly, most have large targets outlining the inclusion of renewable power sources within their respective energy mixes, with corresponding support policies.”According to Rystad, the step change came with the emergence of oil and gas majors as investors. “By 2020 it is feasible that the majors will be the dominant renewable developers in Australia as they pursue ‘oil and gas’ scale opportunities. Commercial drivers are increasing the desire to ride the ‘solar-coaster’,” Farruggio said.Although only 1% of the country’s solar, wind and utility storage projects are owned by oil majors, the consultancy forecasts upstream companies will become the dominant renewable developers in the years ahead. “Upstream companies will lead the charge, building sizable utility storage, solar and – ultimately – offshore wind portfolios,” Farruggio added. “Solar panels, lithium ion batteries and turbines will soon be conventional segments of Australia’s oilfield services.”The pipeline is already taking shape across the country. For instance, Total Eren has started construction of Victoria’s biggest solar project, the 256.5 MW Kiamal Solar Farm, and is looking to add a second stage with a generation capacity of up to 194 MW. On top of that, the renewables developer – which is 23% owned by French oil and gas giant Total – is exploring commercial options for an approved 380 MWh of energy storage.More: Oil and gas majors join rush to renewables in Australia and Pacificlast_img read more

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Australia’s Westpac Banking to stop thermal coal financing by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Financing a thermal coal project in Australia just got a little bit harder after Westpac Banking Corp. said it would exit the sector by 2030, leaving Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. as the last of the country’s big four yet to commit to dropping the most polluting fuel.Australia is the world’s second-biggest thermal coal exporter, generating A$26 billion ($16.6 billion) in export revenue in the year to end-June 2019, but it has become increasingly difficult to bring new resources on stream as financial institutions across the globe bow to pressure from shareholders and climate groups to avoid coal investments.Westpac has already reduced its total coal exposure to A$700 million and said in its climate action plan on Monday that it would not establish relationships with any new thermal customers. The bank would continue to finance metallurgical coal, while backing initiatives that reduce the steel industry’s dependence on the fuel.“We continue to evolve our sustainable finance approach, recognizing the role financial institutions can play in facilitating the transition to a low carbon economy,” Westpac said in the report. It has also set a target of A$3.5 billion in new lending to climate change solutions over the next three years.Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank Ltd. plan to be out of thermal coal by 2030 and 2035 respectively, while ANZ has said that it expects its involvement to decline, but has not set an official exit date. Japanese banks, among the world’s biggest lenders to coal power developers, are also starting to pare back their exposure, albeit at a slower pace, leaving the industry to turn elsewhere in search of funding.[James Thornhill]More: Coal loses backing from another big bank Australia’s Westpac Banking to stop thermal coal financing by 2030last_img read more

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Trauma Tuesday: Santa Fails Edition

first_imgThe man in red has brought immense joy and wonder to kids across the world and across time. He is generous, jolly, joyful, and kind.He can also be a big dope.Playing the role of Santa on a local level requires several traits and skills the outdoor enthusiast knows all too well. Besides the standards of the stamina required to deliver gifts the world over in one night and the agility to hop along rooftops with nary a sound or stumble, there are the less obvious talents he must employ on Christmas. There’s the climbing up and down the chimney using raw strength and possibly a little parkour action. There is the enormous amount of cookie consumed, fuel for the big night like those guys who inhale Butterfingers on Everest. I’m assuming there is at least a little bit of skiing involved in the northern hemisphere. Despite his size and reputation for snacking, one has to think that Kris Kringle is one of the finest outdoor athletes out there.Hope you enjoy these Santa Fails, and don’t make the same mistakes when you don the white beard. Your kids my never forgive you.last_img read more

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Kelly Parham: Giving Part of Yourself

first_imgKelly Parham is not normal. The 57-year-old bike shop owner, husband, and father of two is an accomplished cyclist with some impressive ultra-marathon distance bike records to his name (not to mention an indoor rowing world record). Impressive, but what sets Parham apart from the rest of us is that when his cycling buddy, Peter Kite, needed a kidney, Parham offered his own. Without thinking twice about it. Then, just months after the transplant surgery, Parham rode 3,000 miles on his trainer, just to prove to the world that life doesn’t stop after donating a kidney. Below, Kelly Parham and Peter Kite talk with us about friendship, sacrifice, and eating Big Macs on a bicycle.On how they met… Parham: Peter told a pastor friend of mine that he wanted to ride a bike across the U.S. and the pastor sent him to us at the bike shop because we’d done a Race Across America as a relay team. He comes into the bike shop, small, but energetic, and says he wants to ride across America. But he hadn’t been riding a bike at all. So we sent him to the mall parking lot and told him to ride for an hour. He started hanging out at the shop all the time. We told him we were going to charge him rent.Kite: In ’06, I met Kelly at Northstar Bike Shop. I had a hybrid bike but didn’t know anything about biking other than you pedaled and went forward. People told me, if I wanted to learn how to ride bikes, go find Kelly. I started hanging out at the bike shop and met so many people and learned so much about cycling. It was very peaceful in a way. One day, I walk in there and they had a road bike for me and told me just to pay them whenever I could. After that, I started riding with them on shop rides.On giving up a kidney…Parham: Peter has suffered from renal disease since he was born. He’s had more than 30 major surgeries and had already gone through one transplant when we met. We’d tease him all the time that we had a kidney for him if he ever needed it. One day, he walked into the store and told us his kidney was down to five percent functionality. I called Johns Hopkins and told them I wanted to be a donor, went through every test you could imagine, and was a 98 percent match.Kite: When my kidney started to fail, I was looking at having a transplant from a high-risk donor. A drug addict or prisoner. Kelly didn’t want me getting a high-risk kidney, so he said, “I’ll just give you a kidney,” like he had it on the back shelf in the parts department. He told his family while having dinner, just like it was something completely ordinary, and there was no discussion. They just kept eating.On sacrifice…Parham: We have a Bible study group called Third Level. It’s a bunch of guys that are mostly ex-military. There are three levels of motivation. Basically three reasons why people do things. The first level is fear. The second level is greed. The third level is because it’s the right thing to do. We try to live our lives on the third level.On gifts…Kite: I was surprised Kelly offered a kidney, but it didn’t hit me right then, because you don’t want to get your hopes up. After all of the testing was done, and the transplant was going to happen, then it hit me. It still hits me. Kelly didn’t have to do this. It hits me every day that I have Kelly’s kidney. We don’t talk about it, but we know it. The relationship has gone up a step.On friendship…Kite: The relationship has been like Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi. He had me riding around an outlet mall parking lot for an hour a day before it opened each day. I did it religiously. If Kelly said ride faster, I rode faster. I could see this change in myself. Kelly helped me prepare for a big ride across Georgia from North Carolina to Florida. He did the same ride in 26 hours. It took me 7 days. It was brutal, but I had a lot of fun doing it and it helped raise awareness for organ transplantation. Every time I want to ride and do something big, Kelly has supported me. He’s a blessing. Not just as a donor, but as the person who has introduced me to this wonderful life.Parham: Pete has become a part of our lives, and I love having him around. He has so much energy. He’s small, but tough. He’s the toughest guy I know. You hang around with Pete for one day, and you’ll stop complaining about your own life.On second thoughts…Parham: I had to set a lot of people straight who thought I was putting my life or the well-being of my wife and kids at risk. As a donor, you don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to you. The doctors won’t let you go through with a transplant if you’re not healthy. They asked me over and over if I’d go through with the transplant if I couldn’t ride long distance anymore. I told them I’d been living for 55 years. I’ve had my fun. If the worst thing to happen is I have to cut back on my bike riding, then so be it. Still, they’d call me once a week asking if I wanted to back out. They said they’d make up a medical excuse if I didn’t want to go through with it. Turns out, they’ve had so many people make it all the way to donation day, only to back out right before surgery.On recovery…Parham: I had to stay in Johns Hopkins for a week after the transplant. It’s basically like having a C-section. I look like I have four gunshot wounds and a knife wound. I had to walk for a few weeks, then as soon as I was cleared to ride a bike, I was riding up the gaps here in North Georgia. It really didn’t slow me down much at all. Turns out, as long as you pay attention to your hydration and nutrition, you can do anything you want. It doesn’t matter if you have one kidney or three.Kite: The doctors will tell you that a donor’s life will be back to normal sooner than they think. But Kelly’s a machine. He’s not normal. Three days out of the hospital, he was walking 12 miles. His philosophy is simple: you can sleep when you’re dead. Until then, you’ve got a lot of things to take care of.On riding across America…Parham: We had the idea for the indoor ride across America to prove that people who donate kidneys don’t have to slow down. It took 11 days to do the ride. Pete was there hanging out. We watched all the tough-guy movies you can think of—Rambo, Rocky, movies where the good guys win. I’d take a four-hour break every night between 1am and 5am to sleep. The first two to three days went well, and then I developed bad saddle sore issues. I had doctors in there all the time checking on me, but there was nothing we could do about it. I just had to tough it out and work through it. I craved Big Macs. I normally don’t eat that stuff, but that’s what my body wanted: Cokes, Mountain Dews, Big Macs, and chicken soup from the Mexican restaurant down the street.On kidney donations…Parham: There are 90,000 people waiting for a kidney, and 13 die every day. Johns Hopkins is trying to build up a donor bank. You’re not at risk when you donate. The doctors wouldn’t put a donor at risk. There’s no reason why a healthy person couldn’t donate a kidney, but people don’t know that donating a kidney doesn’t slow you down. Our transplant was in April and I rode 3,000 miles in December. After hearing about the ride, eight people called Johns Hopkins about donating.Kite: I founded a nonprofit called Team Green. We work with the Georgia Transplant Foundation doing education and fundraising. Donors are back on their feet quickly after surgery, and the recipient has a second chance at life. It gives them a way to walk away from the dialysis machine and hopefully never have to go back to it.On looking on the bright side…Kite: After my first kidney failed, I went on dialysis for more than eight years. I learned how to play golf on the machine. Life is all in what you make of it. It sucks to come to the hospital, but life is still good. I have no complaints. Maybe I’m tough, or I’m crazy. I don’t let things get to me. It is what it is.last_img read more

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Swimming Hole Essentials

first_imgNational Geographic, Dupont State Forest Map ($12)Dupont State Forest might be swimming hole Nirvana. Nat Geo’s new Dupont map helps pinpoint the good stuff with its waterfall table and loop hike suggestions that call out specific landmarks.dupont cover_FIXWatershed Ocoee ($105)The Ocoee is perfect for our day trips. If you add the shoulder strap, it becomes the perfect camera bag. That’s what our guides are taking for their cameras on all our treks.OcoeeOrange_0035_FIXPacSafe VentureSafe X30 ($170)Travel safely through rugged terrain or rough city streets with this anti-theft adventure backpack, featuring hard-to-cut webbing straps, slashguards, and security buckles.venturesafe_x30_60415510_FIXEnerPlex, Kickr  IV ($130)The 6.5-watt flexible solar panel can charge your phone, GPS, or any USB device. It’s blade-thin, lightweight, and built for backcountry adventure.Ascent Aug 3013_260_FIXMountain Khakis Equatorial Pant ($85)Built for adventure, these lightweight, high-density nylon weave pants feature six mesh-lined pockets and reinforced, adjustable heel cuffs. They pack easily, breathe well, and offer superior mobility on the trail.M-Equatorial-Pant-RetroKhaki_FIXRelated Content: Sara Bell started Green River Adventures, in Saluda, N.C., 10 years ago with the idea that she would teach the fundamentals of paddling. It was a simple business plan. Fast forward a decade, and Green River Adventures has grown into a full-fledge adventure guide business, with a kayak school, zipline canopy tour, and canyoneering and waterfall treks.“We do this really cool waterfall trek that begins with a 200-foot waterfall rappel linked up with an intense swimming hole hike, where you’re roping up and jumping off of 15-foot drops,” Bell says. “It’s like an amphibious hike.”We asked Bell for her top gear picks for an adventurous day exploring swimming holes. Here are her picks in her own words.Osprey Rev 24 ($130)This is basically a trail running pack, but it’s big enough to carry snacks and some light gear, and it also has a hydration sleeve. It dries really fast. All of our guides use these, and they can get pretty ragged after constant use, but when we retire them, our guides fight over who gets to keep them.Rev18_S14_Side_FlashGreen_FIXPrana Lahari Halter Top ($55) and Immersion Research Guide Shorts ($65)Sometimes in the office, this top doubles as a bra, it’s so comfortable. The IR Guide Shorts offer good coverage for when you’re rappelling or hiking. And yeah, I wear them in the office too.prana halter_FIX71001_GuideShort_Nightshade_FIX Recover Recycler, Dry Tee ($25)These shirts are made out of 100% recycled material—eight water bottles and some recycled cotton go into each shirt. The shirts are really soft, and they perform well on the trail.Recycler_RD1000HeatherGrey_FIXlast_img read more

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