CHINA CONTINUES ITS WAR ON COAL; THAILAND AND SINGAPORE JOIN IN

02/27/2017

The Chinese government continues to pursue its goal of reducing the country’s coal-power capacity. Last week the government announced considerations for what would be its third “major shift in policy” to move the country toward renewable energy: limiting the amount of coal that can be mined. In April 2016, the government capped the number of days a mine can operate in an attempt to reduce the supply of coal. The limit was reversed in November in order to meet the country’s winter energy needs, but as the weather warms, the government is considering reinstating the limit. At the same time, Beijing will further its goals by cracking down on illegal mining. The government intends to better enforce work safety standards in coal mines and will shut down those illegal mines, mines that are operating illegally (for example, by mining more than permitted), and mines that are unable to meet safety standards. 
In Thailand, the government has halted plans for a coal-fired power plant in a region popular to tourists after meeting with protest leaders. Those opposing the plant cited problems with the lack of public participation in the environmental impact study, which caused the government to change its mind (the government had approved the plan only a few days before). 
In Singapore, last week the government announced a proposed carbon tax on “direct emitters.” Singapore is Asia’s main oil trading hub and hosts three oil refineries. The tax, which would be introduced in 2019, is expected to impact oil refiners, making this a particularly significant demonstration in favor of the country’s interest in clean energy and a clean economy. For the full stories, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-china-coal-output-idUKKBN16017Q; http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-coal-output-idUKKBN1600AL; http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-coal-idUKKBN15Z023; and http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-singapore-carbon-tax-idUKKBN16013U.