COP26 calls time on coal, but Aus stuck in the dark ages

THE END of coal is in sight with a group of 190 countries and organizations agreeing to phase out coal power quickly at COP26, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just announced – but Australia is missing from the list.

The “World Declaration on the Transition from Coal to Clean Energy” commits the signatories to both phase out coal-fired power and end support for new coal-fired power plants. It already has signatures from Vietnam – a major and talked about destination for Australian coal – and Poland – a country that ranks ninth in the world for coal consumption.

Climate Advisor, Professor Will Steffen: “It’s the coal recall. This is a major global commitment and the world’s second-largest exporter of thermal coal, Australia, is nowhere in sight. First, we refused to join over 100 other countries in the global methane commitment, and now this. Australia is so out of touch and out of touch with the rest of the world, and it’s going to hurt our economy, our climate and our future prosperity.

The UK government has said, alongside pledges from major banks to end coal – and earlier commitments from China, Japan, Korea and G20 countries to end foreign funding for coal by the end of the year. end of 2021 – this effectively ends international public funding for relentless new coal-fired power.

“Fossil fuels like coal must be phased out, as they accelerate global warming, making extreme weather events like the Black Summer bushfires harming Australians worse. We have known about the risks, impacts and costs of climate change for some time, but it seems that the prosperity and well-being of Australians is once again being overlooked in favor of the short-term profits of coal companies and gas, ”said Professor Steffen.

“We need to stop clinging to our polluting past and look to the future. It’s not just about saving face internationally, it’s about creating a future where our children and grandchildren can not only survive, but thrive, ”he said. .

“Australia is acting as a hand brake on global climate action. Government officials are spouting gas, a fossil fuel, as well as carbon capture and storage at this climate conference and are resisting the push to phase out fossil fuels globally, ”said Professor Steffen.

“Whether Australia likes it or not, the world is heading towards net zero and this has serious ramifications for our country, especially for communities and sectors that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels. We need to react quickly and decisively by reducing emissions quickly during this decade and supporting the zero-emission products and industries that prepare us for the future, ”he said.

The Climate Council recommends that Australia reduce its emissions by 75% (below 2005 levels) by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035. This is based on rigorous scientific risk assessments.

Facts about coal in Australia:

  • Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of thermal coal – the type used in power plants – and produces 20% of the total coal traded internationally.
  • The Australian government is still pursuing the search for new thermal coal, funding a $ 3.6 million feasibility study for a potential new coal-fired power plant at Collinsvale in Queensland.
  • The top five countries to which Australia exports coal are: Japan (43%), South Korea (16%), Taiwan (13%), India (7%) and China (3%) .
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison traveled to Vietnam for trade talks which included talks on importing Australian coal.
  • Despite considerable progress, Australia has one of the most emitting electricity grids in the world, with 54% of the country’s electricity coming from coal and an additional 20% from gas. It also has some of the most inefficient coal-fired power plants in the world.

For interviews

For media based in Australia: Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Hannah Izzard on 0475 247 754

For Glasgow-based media: Alex Soderlund on +61 429 664 572

The Climate Council is Australia’s premier community-funded climate change communications organization. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policy makers and the wider Australian community.

For more information, visit: climatecouncil.org.au or follow us on social media: facebook.com/climatecouncil and twitter.com/climatecouncil


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