ESG: Low water levels on the Rhine threaten coal supplies
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ESG: Low water levels on the Rhine threaten coal supplies

While Germany fires up its coal-burning power stations once more, it’s almost as if the country itself is protesting.

Low water levels are preventing cargo vessels from sailing fully loaded on the river Rhine. Photo: Reuters

Euromoney sits down with a source to discuss electronic bond trading. The conversation soon turns to the comparative market share of the big platforms in green bonds and to how asset managers incorporate ESG considerations into secondary markets in fixed income.

The trader shows us a photo from a recent trip to the Swiss mountains and the source of the Rhine. Within the normally wide and steep channel, lies a narrow brown trickle.

Back in the office, Euromoney reads a note from economists at Deutsche Bank. Low water levels are causing growing concern. Germany is turning its coal-fired power stations back on to ease the country through Russia’s withholding of natural gas.

[In 2018,] traffic came to a standstill. If that happens again, the economic consequences will be much more serious

Much of that hard coal travels by barge along the Rhine, coming from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp. One 110-metre-long barge can normally carry as much as 150 heavy trucks: that is roughly 3,000 tonnes of coal.


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