Climate change has long had its heaviest impact on people of colour. Were it not for structural racism that dehumanises them, and the interconnections between big oil and the arms industry, the world would have taken action to protect the climate long ago.
The Philippines has opened a new chapter in the fight against climate change. The south-east asian nation has initiated legal proceedings to summon the 47 worst polluting corporations to its Commission on Human Rights. The case asserts these major polluters should be held to account for climate change and its impact upon the human rights of Philippines citizens; notably the death and destruction that resulted from ‘super typhoons’ linked to climate change. The lawsuit is being brought by the survivors of these intensifying super typhoons, which batter the archipelago annually. These kill people thousands, and displace people in their millions. Defending against the effects of these unprecedented storms, and clearing up afterwards, consumes an increasing proportion of the nation’s GDP. To continue with this destructive business as usual, big oil conglomerates must both deny the destruction and deny the worth of those being annihilated.
Arch Coal and its subsidiaries received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri today for its reorganization plan that will require the company to replace all of its existing self-bonds with more reliable financial instruments to assure funding for required future environmental reclamation. Arch Coal filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2016, and today’s reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is expected to become effective sometime later this month. The approved reorganization plan also leaves in place Arch Coal’s additional environmental obligations at its coal mines across the country.
Ohio leading Nation in coal retirements; has an opportunity to lead the country in clean energy production and manufacturing.
Today, FirstEnergy (FE) announced it would retire five coal generating units no later than 2020, specifically Units 1 through 4 of its W.H. Sammis Plant and the sole remaining unit of the Bay Shore Plant; totalling 901 MWs of coal retirements. The majority of these units have been front and center in an ongoing two-year fight before the Ohio Public Utilities Commission where FirstEnergy has been trying to secure subsidies from its customers that could be used to keep these aging and ailing coal units open. In a news release, the company also raised the possibility that it could sell the Bay Shore unit instead of simply deactivating it — but FirstEnergy Generation President Jim Lash acknowledged that “[i]t’s no longer economically viable to operate these facilities.”
In my home country of Russia, open-cast coalmining is expanding, leading to growing environmental devastation and countless human rights abuses affecting indigenous peoples. Coal consumption within Russia is dropping, but exports have grown tremendously in recent years, with Britain the second-biggest consumer of Russian coal, after China. A new report, the Cost of Coal produced by my organization, Ecodefense, establishes a direct link between increased extraction and expanded coal exports over the past decade.
Over 60 per cent of Russian coal is extracted in the Kuzbass region of Siberia. Part of it – 15.6 per cent of total exports – is then transported almost 6,000 kilometres to be burned in British power stations. The human and environmental costs of this coal are high.