Today, Urgewald and 30 partner NGOs released a new update of the “Global Coal Exit List” (GCEL), the world’s most comprehensive database of companies operating along the thermal coal value chain. “We are in a climate emergency and a speedy exit from coal is more urgent than ever.
Our database identifies 935 companies the finance industry needs to exclude if it is serious about fulfilling the Paris goals,” says Heffa Schuecking, director of Urgewald. Since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, the world’s installed coal-fired capacity has increased by 137 GW, an amount equal to the operating coal plant fleets of Germany, Russia and Japan combined. And over 500 GW of new coal-fired capacity are still in the pipeline.
“Almost half of the companies listed on the 2020 GCEL are in expansion mode,” says Schuecking.
437 of the 935 companies featured in the database are planning either new coal plants, new coal mines or new coal transport infrastructure. Less than 25 of the companies on the GCEL have adopted a coal phase-out date.
“The data we have collected is a frightening testimony to the coal industry’s refusal to deal with climate reality,” she adds.
The GCEL was first launched in November 2017 and is updated each fall. It has played an influential role in shaping the coal divestment actions of many large investors, especially in Europe.
Over 400 financial institutions are now registered users of the database and Investors representing over US$ 14 trillion in assets are using one or more of the GCEL’s three divestment criteria to exclude coal companies from their portfolios. As Peter Cashion, Head of Climate Finance at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) says: “The GCEL is a one-of-a-kind resource for investors and financial institutions that want to understand and manage climate risks in their portfolios.
The GCEL covers the largest coal plant operators and producers, companies that generate over 20% of their revenues or power generation from coal, and companies that are planning to expand coal mining, coal power or coal infrastructure. The database features 935 parent companies as well as over 1,800 subsidiaries and affiliates, whose activities range from coal mining, coal trading and transport to coal power generation and manufacturing of equipment for the coal industry.
Most of the information in the database is drawn from original company sources, such as annual reports, investor presentations and stock filings.1 All in all, the companies listed in the GCEL represent 88% of the world’s coal production and ϴϱй of the world’s coal-fired capacity.
New Coal Plants Totaling over 520 GW in the Pipeline While China has announced a 2060 carbon neutrality goal, the real litmus test for the governments’ climate ambition is its upcoming 14th Five Year Plan to be decided in 2021. Currently, almost half of the 522 GW of new coal-fired power capacity planned worldwide are located in China. Accordingly, ϰ of the world’s ϱ top coal plant developers are Chinese companies: China Energy (43 GW), China Datang (34 GW), China Huaneng (29 GW) and China Huadian (15 GW). With close to 14 GW in the pipeline, India͛s National Thermal Power Corporation is the world’s ϱth largest coal plant developer. In many Asian countries, the prospects for new coal power projects are, however, beginning to crumble.
In India, coal power projects totaling 47 GW were cancelled in 2019.2 In Bangladesh, which has the world’s ϲth largest coal plant pipeline, the State Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources announced in October 2020 that 16 out of 21 coal power plants would likely be cancelled. And in the Philippines, which has the world’s ϳth largest coal plant pipeline, the Department of Energy in October 2020 declared a moratorium for further new coal power plants.
The Philippine People for Power Coalition is adamant that the new policy must also be applied to the over 10 GW of coal-fired capacity in the pipeline. In Malaysia, the country’s state-owned utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad declared in September 2020 that it will not build any new coal power plants. Coal Means Conflict
“Wherever the coal industry operates, it is embroiled in conflicts,” says Schuecking. “Communities are no longer willing to accept the massive land and water grabs and the pollution and health impacts associated with the industry. They are fighting back in the courts and streets with increasing success,” she adds.
In 201ϵ, Turkey’s highest administrative court struck down the permit for a new coal plant to be built by Hattat Holding near the scenic town of Amasra on the Black Sea coast. The lawsuit was filed by more than 2,000 people – a record number of plaintiffs for an environmental court case in Turkey.
In January 2020, a Greek court annulled the permits for the Public Power Corporation͛s Meliti 1 lignite power station and the planned Meliti 2 plant. In the same month, lawmakers in the US port city of Richmond, California passed a law banning coal transport from the LevinRichmond Terminal that handles a quarter of coal exports from the US West Coast. In February 2020, a Brazilian Federal Court ruled against Copelmi MineraĕĆo͛s plans