Russia is betting on coal because most of the nations in the world want it

With the second largest known reserves of coal in the world Russia could easily take over from Australia and become the world leader in making money out of “black gold.” Not to mention the diplomatic and strategic advantages.

The Greens and others like Joe Biden and the US Democrats passionately want to see coal stay in the ground in the western world and that would hand the world coal market to Russia on a platter. Whose side are they on?

Read a roundup of commentary on the Soviet coal initiatives.

Russia is spending more than $10 billion on railroad upgrades that will help boost exports of the commodity. Authorities will use prisoners to help speed the work, reviving a reviled Soviet-era tradition.

The project to modernize and expand railroads that run to Russia’s Far Eastern ports is part of a broader push to make the nation among the last standing in fossil fuel exports as other countries switch to greener alternatives. The government is betting that coal consumption will continue to rise in big Asian markets like China even as it dries up elsewhere.

They are betting on a sure thing. The developing nations in the world are determined to have a better future and it will be powered by coal more that anything else. China and India are the most obvious users with a huge potential demand to be satisfied for decades to come. And China is especially active in financing and building coal stations in other parts of the world. The Global Warming Policy Forum provided an overview of coal prospects and projects around the world.

China funds more than 70% of all new coal plants being built globally. It is reported that, “Nearly all of the 60 new coal plants planned across Eurasia, South America and Africa –70 gigawatts of coal power in all – are financed almost exclusively by Chinese banks.” Among the most recent of its coal investment is the $3 Billion coal plant in Zimbabwe. With its “Belt and Road initiative”, China is helping around 150 countries with fossil fuel production and coal technology. Beijing is unlikely to compromise on its Belt and Road Initiative, especially when most of the countries relying on its help are developing countries that desperately seek fossil fuel driven energy growth.

Indian government officials have gone on record to reiterate the importance of coal to the country’s future energy prospects and continue to announce major investments to boost production. 

For Africa, coal is not an option, but a necessity. Energy access is the foundation of any economy and much of Africa is nowhere close to alleviating the rampant energy poverty in the continent.  Scientific American reported that, “more than 60 percent of Africans are without basic energy services and coal, oil and natural gas may be a necessary bridge.”

Even big banks continue to be indirect funders of coal projects. HSBC is now confirmed to be indirectly aiding the development of more than 70 new coal plants in Asian and African countries, including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.

The continued coal demand in Asia-Pacific countries has also kindled prospects of increase in exports from Russia and the U.S. During the past two decades Russia has registered a 2.9% increase in coal production and 9.6% increase in coal export. It is estimated that if Russia continues to produce coal at 440 million tonnes a year (the current rate), its coal reserves will last for the next 370 years. The reserves are the second largest in the world, next to those in the U.S.

Even the US is still participating in the push for coal, whatever the administration wants or says, with exports of thermal coal around 9.4  million mt of U.S. thermal coal in the first quarter of 2021, “up from 7.5 million mt in the same period last year.”

From the comments, courtesy of Old Ozzie

4 Articles on Coal Fired Power by Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.

The Benefits That Coal Fired Power Gave Us – UPDATE May 2021
https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/the-benefits-that-coal-fired-power-gave-us-update-may-2021/

1. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part One – Introduction
https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/05/29/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-one-introduction/

2. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part Two – Electrical Power Generation In China
https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/05/31/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-two-electrical-power-generation-in-china/

3. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part Three – Coal Fired Power In China
https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/06/05/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-three-coal-fired-power-in-china/
4. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part Four – SteamH, The Future For Coal Fired Power

https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/06/13/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-four-steamh-the-future-for-coal-fired-power/

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18 Responses to Russia is betting on coal because most of the nations in the world want it

  1. Paul says:

    What climate emergency?

  2. RobK says:

    From a security perspective, Australia can ill afford to turn its back on coal. Like China, it should develop all forms of energy for the niches they fill best. Forget about trying to drive square pegs into round holes.

  3. Fat Tony says:

    Russia is spending more than $10 billion on railroad upgrades

    Rail – not trucks…..

    Looks like the Rail – Truck War in Russia has been won convincingly by the rail good guys.

    Please note Struth…… 🙂

  4. Perfidious Albino says:

    Much easier to rail coal from Russia to China I expect – would the ChiComs want to be funding their Communist frenemies though – probably safer to pay us where they can be sure any profits will be repatriated via captive suppliers or mostly be pissed up against a wall by our Government rather than on an optimally funded and equiped military.

  5. Lutz says:

    I still don’t understand the problem. Coal is old trees that took CO2 from the atmosphere in the past. So there was no problem for them making a living,

  6. PeterW says:

    Looks like the Rail – Truck War in Russia has been won convincingly

    Rail is expensive to build and lacks flexibility. It works brilliantly when you can load it directly at the mine site and unload it at a port. That is why we move coal and iron ore by rail in Australia, too.

    It does not work so well when dealing with commodities that are produced at widely distributed point of origin and must be widely distributed. When you have to use road transport to get it to and from the rail depots, it can be more cost effective to leave it on the truck.
    Load once. Unload once.

  7. BrettW says:

    Funny how the two major companies Hunter Biden was involved with in Ukraine and China were both big in energy production.

    His Wiki entry makes hardly any mention of China connections.

  8. Fat Tony says:

    PeterW says:
    June 14, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Peter – you obviously missed the Great Train-Truck War here a few weeks back…. 🙂

  9. Mark M says:

    If not aware, the loss of Germany in the second WW was many factors, but one of their biggest failures was their failure in running the railways, and the movement of coal using the rail …

    “ With the invasion of the Soviet Union the demand on railways reached crippling proportions, culminating in the coal shortage of winter 1941/1942.
    There was no shortage of coal, but lack of coal wagons which had been appropriated by the Wehrmacht …”

    https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/07/31/german-transport-system-wwii/

    FWIW, I happened upon an sbs special on this last weekend interested folk might like to search out.

  10. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Looks like the Rail – Truck War in Russia has been won convincingly

    Haha, no. When the Chinese and Mongolians built some coal mines in southern Mongolia they didn’t bother with a railway. Or even a road. They just drove the coal trucks straight across the Gobi Desert to the Chinese border in a sort of giant permanent Paris-Dakar.

    That made quite a mess of the desert, so eventually a road was built, which also helped control the border (presumably with appropriate baksheesh). Whereupon there was an instant permanent traffic jam.

    Border jam puts Mongolia’s coal lifeline under threat (2017)

    KHANBOGD, Mongolia (Reuters) – In Mongolia’s Gobi desert, thousands of heavy-duty trucks laden with coal inch along a cluttered highway towards the Chinese border in a journey that can take more than a week.

    Truckers cook, eat and sleep in vehicles covered in coal dust, many subsisting on the same meat soup that fueled Genghis Khan’s Mongol Horde more than eight centuries ago.

    Alongside the trucks a bustling microeconomy has sprung up of traders peddling cigarettes, water and diesel as drivers wait to clear Chinese customs in a queue that can stretch for 130 kilometers (80 miles).

    Fun that the Mongol Horde is now delivering coal to China. Maybe Cossacks could be the train drivers on Russia’s new railway.

  11. Fat Tony says:

    BoN
    That made quite a mess of the desert, so eventually a road was built, which also helped control the border (presumably with appropriate baksheesh). Whereupon there was an instant permanent traffic jam.

    That still looks like a convincing win for rail…..

  12. Bad Samaritan says:

    Didn’t we already have this discussion on the thread about the burning buses?

    In my neck of the woods there are 5 huge new petrol stations with about 80 new pumps. For hundreds of kilometres every coal mine is going flat out and the demand for workers / drivers/ tradies etc is far outstripping supply. There is no retreat from fossil-fuels whatsoever. The Carmichael mine (“Adani”) is roaring ahead….

    Think of it like this….

    The Mrs is nagging you about something she’s nagged you about for decades. You can “argue” but you know this won’t get her off your back unless you actually do what she wants. On the other hand you can agree with her but not do what she wants…..

    This latter is the approach being taken by big business fossil-fuel firms, and many many others. when confronted by the infantile whining woke. Take Coles or Woolies which have claimed to be wokesters to appease the dills….https://www.colesgroup.com.au/about-us/?page=board-of-directors……https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/page/about-us/our-leadership-team/board-of-directors….

    Anyone see the much trumpeted diversity and inclusion here? Signal left but full steam ahead as usual!

    BTW: Got an e-Mail from Woolies last week telling me how many disposable plastic bags had not gone into landfill since they ditched the free ones at the checkout. No mention of plastic garbage bags bought and sent to landfill, nor of added bottom line result from them. Well played!

  13. OldOzzie says:

    4 Articles on Coal Fired Power by Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.

    The Benefits That Coal Fired Power Gave Us – UPDATE May 2021
    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/the-benefits-that-coal-fired-power-gave-us-update-may-2021/

    1. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part One – Introduction
    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/05/29/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-one-introduction/

    2. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part Two – Electrical Power Generation In China
    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/05/31/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-two-electrical-power-generation-in-china/

    3. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part Three – Coal Fired Power In China
    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/06/05/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-three-coal-fired-power-in-china/
    4. Coal Fired Power Dying – Not So Fast – Part Four – SteamH, The Future For Coal Fired Power

    https://papundits.wordpress.com/2021/06/13/coal-fired-power-dying-not-so-fast-part-four-steamh-the-future-for-coal-fired-power/

  14. John A says:

    Mark M says: June 15, 2021, at 6:48 am

    If not aware, the loss of Germany in the second WW was many factors, but one of their biggest failures was their failure in running the railways, and the movement of coal using the rail …

    Ahem, I understand there was some significant interference with their operations during that time. Underground resistance and aerial challenges come to mind…

  15. Rafe Champion says:

    OldOzzie, Thanks for those links to Anton Lang, his work deserves more circulation and recognition! FWIW I have put them into the body of the post.

  16. Herodotus says:

    Climate Change = deindustrialize and kneecap the west.

  17. Herodotus says:

    Meanwhile at Wikipediacalafragilisticexpialadocious Jo Nova is described as follows:
    Joanne Nova is an Australian writer, blogger, and speaker. Born Joanne Codling, she adopted the stage name “Nova” in 1998 when she was preparing to host a children’s television program. She is prominent for promoting climate change denial.

  18. John A:

    Ahem, I understand there was some significant interference with their operations during that time. Underground resistance and aerial challenges come to mind…

    In 1934, the Nazis – mostly brownshirts – just took over the railways, booting out all the people from the offices and putting their own people in. Those people had no bloody idea of what they were doing and the Reichsbahn never recovered.
    Naturally enough, the Allies didn’t help either after 1939.

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