Issue 6, 2020
"Global emissions remained at approximately 33 gigatonnes in 2019 despite the world economy growing by 2.9%, the IEA said."

Why this is important:  The IEA’s report identifies the single largest challenge to reducing global emissions: Asia. While the United States has faced global derision for backing out of the Paris Accord, it led the world in reduced emissions in 2019 and has the largest absolute decline of any country since 2000. Conversely, China’s emissions increased despite slowed economic growth with Asia accounting for 80 percent of the global increase in emissions in 2019. The United States’ and the European Union’s efforts in reducing emissions are for naught until China and India start reducing their emissions. --- Nicholas S. Preservati
"A glut of natural gas, which has its roots in the U.S., is starting to have political as well as economic consequences as far away as Asia."

Why this is important: Plans by ExxonMobil and partners to expand a liquefied natural gas project and invest up to $20 billion in Papua New Guinea have stalled indefinitely after a breakdown in negotiations. The cause for the breakdown is likely record low prices for LNG, making world-wide investment projects in this industry financially untenable. Indeed, over the past two weeks, Chinese demand for energy tanked in an already flooded market as the country closed sections of its economy to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. One of China’s biggest LNG buyers declared force majeure on some short-term (or prompt) deliveries, just as U.S. companies planned to ship some of their surplus product to Asia. Plummeting LNG prices and decreasing demand, along with rising pressure from increasingly more viable renewable energy sources, continue to have far-ranging impacts on the world-wide economy. These impacts will have political ramifications, particularly for those countries with emerging economies. --- Dennise R. Smith
"Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced up to $64 million of federal funding for coal research as part of the Department of Energy's Coal FIRST initiative kicked off in 2019."

Why this is important: The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $64 million in funding for 14 projects in seven states that focus on increased coal efficiency and lower emissions from coal burning as part of the 2019 Coal First program. The DOE Secretary stated coal usage for U.S. electrical generation continues to decline and that trend will advance. The DOE sees opportunities for Powder River Basin coal to be exported to Asia through Canada. Along with the coal research, DOE also is spending $125.5 million for solar energy research. --- Mark E. Heath
"The state’s economic development organization said it awarded the grant to Thai chemical company PTT Global Chemical America and its South Korean partner, Daelim Industrial Co."

Why this is important: The establishment of a robust down-stream petrochemical manufacturing business is essential for the long-term success of the natural gas industry in the Appalachian Basin. The liquid rich production from Marcellus and Utica Shale reserves provides an abundant and low cost feed stock for such operations. In addition, the use of existing brown field sites, where former chemical, steel and utility facilities were along the Ohio River Valley, for new petrochemical plants will serve to clean up these locations and return them to a productive use. Ohio's funding for the proposed PTT Global Chemical America facility is a wise investment in the area's economic future. --- William M. Herlihy
"But that network has miles to go, requiring fast and scalable solutions that are also clean and affordable — a dynamic that means off-grid, solar-powered stations are just around the corner." 

Why this is important: Solar charging stations alleviate one of the three primary criticisms of electric vehicles. There are studies that imply EVs are no more environmentally friendly than internal combustion vehicles because of the amount of coal and natural gas-fired generation used to charge EVs. Solar-powered charging stations will transform EVs into a truly green form of transportation. Not only will the vehicle itself have no emissions, there will be no emissions resulting from the generation of the electricity used to charge the EVs. --- Nicholas S. Preservati
"The age of digitalization has meant that more and more of these control systems have been increasing in their scope and the technologies used have meant the emergence of the term Operational Technology​ as opposed to Information Technology, to delineate the hardware, software, and systems used in this type of environment."

Why this is important: This is important because communities are becoming more connected every day, and the tools on which we rely to function daily as a society can be used to attack a community's infrastructure. What was once used as an action movie plot device is becoming an increasing reality as cyber-attacks are deployed remotely to target countries' infrastructure. The article dispels the belief that the defense to these attacks is as simple as having the most sophisticated security measures in place. Indeed, as security measures become more stringent, the costs rise, and speed, functionality, and performance decrease. Instead, communities, countries, and businesses should perform a Cyber Vulnerability Assessment tailored to their specific needs and taking into account the increasing number of cyber-attacks, the state of the law in a particular jurisdiction, and the increased digitization and connectivity the future will bring. --- Nicholas P. Mooney II
"The Queensland Government has released more than 7000km² of land in the Bowen and Surat Basins for companies for coal exploration in 2020."

Why this is important: As U.S. coal usage declines, Australia continues to increase production. The Queensland government just announced 7,000 square kilometers of land will be open for coal exploration and production. Located in a metallurgical coal basin, these lands will continue to increase seaborne metallurgical coal exports to Asia. In addition to 2020’s numbers, Queensland has released 64,000 square kilometers of land for coal production in the past three years. --- Mark E. Heath
"President Trump has made a U-turn on funding the long-delayed and long-debated Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada — but it’s unclear what his decision means for moving the 3.55 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant."

Why this is important: One of the best, perhaps the only, large-scale source of dispatchable, low carbon electricity is provided by nuclear power. A stumbling block to greater development of nuclear power has been the lack of long-term storage for nuclear waste. President Trump's refusal to fund the most advanced project for such storage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is a setback to those who advocate greater use of nuclear to limit greenhouse gas emissions. --- David L. Yaussy
"But it seems cheap shale gas, Consol’s competitor in its own backyard in southwestern Pennsylvania, has caught up with it on other continents as well."

Why this is important: In the past 10 years, natural gas has steadily reduced the steam coal used for electrical generation in the U.S. Consol Energy, Inc. has lessened those losses by exporting more steam coal and now exports one-third of its production. It reported in a recent earnings call it now finds cheap natural gas has slowed the export steam coal market as gas now is pushing out coal for electrical generation in Europe. These changes mean that in 2018, Consol had net income of $178.1 million and in 2019, it was $93.6 million. Consol is now reducing capital expenditures for 2020. These issues will continue as natural gas prices are now sub $2. --- Mark E. Heath
"'Australia is set to become the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter this year, overtaking Qatar, with its supplies expected to reach 81 million tonnes as Ichthys LNG and Prelude FLNG increase production,' Rystad Energy said."

Why this is important: Australia has taken the lead in liquefied natural gas exports, but other countries, including the U.S., likely will challenge for the top spot. LNG is becoming a mainstay of international energy as it is easily shipped by sea and placed into pipelines on land, making it an easily transported energy source. Wider adoption would greatly help U.S. natural gas producers, who are seeing some of the lowest prices for methane in history and need new markets to provide increased demand. --- David L. Yaussy
"Mongolia is currently exporting coal through two main border crossings with China; others have been closed in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has hit over 20 countries."

Why this is important: The coronavirus continues to have a significant impact on China’s economy and its coal markets. Mongolia is now able to export coal to China at only two crossings and the amount of coal China is importing is down 90 percent. At both crossings, only 160 to 180 truckloads of Mongolian coal a day are entering China. The coronavirus continues to impact all of Asia’s economy. --- Mark E. Heath
EIA Energy Statistics
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