Australia Defies U.N. Climate Alarmists: Vows to Continue Coal Mining

A truck is loaded with old coal on March 16, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. In November 2016, French owners of the Hazelwood Power Station, Engie, announced plans to shut the brown coal fuelled power station, citing lack of commercial viability and environmental reasons. The short notice given to the hundreds …
Robert Cianflone/Getty

Australia backs coal-fired power and will continue to mine the resource in direct defiance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) call to phase out coal power by 2050.

Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said on Tuesday Australia should “absolutely” continue to use and exploit its massive coal reserves, despite the IPCC’s latest dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe.

He said there would be no policy change, “just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do”.

Mr. McCormack told Sky News coal mining was “very, very important” because it provided 60 percent of Australia’s electricity, 50,000 jobs and was Australia’s “largest export”. Iron ore will be Australia’s biggest exporter earner in 2018-19.

McCormack said he “understands the concerns” expressed in the IPCC report, but “the fact is, coalmining … and coal-fired power stations do play an important part of our energy mix in Australia and will do so going forward.”

The deputy prime minister observed he hadn’t “seen anything that’s going to replace coal in the near future”, predicting it would be an important part of the energy mix “for more than just 10 years”.

“The Liberals and Nationals in government are supportive of small business, of industry, of farms, and of coalmining.”

The Australian government’s desire to stick with coal is a continuation of a policy first made public by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

In 2015 he said he believes coal is the future because it’s good for humanity.

Mr Abbott’s stated belief was that fossil fuel not renewable energy holds the key to a viable future – not just in Australia but across the developing world. In November, 2104 he said:

For the foreseeable future coal is the foundation of prosperity. Coal is the foundation of the way we live because you can’t have a modern lifestyle without energy, you can’t have a modern economy without energy.

So if we are serious about raising people’s living standards in less developed countries, if we are serious about maintaining and improving living standards in countries like Australia, we have to be serious about making the best use of coal.

Clearly the current government agrees and will work to make Australia a major contributor to global coal consumption for at least another 30 years.

In 2013, Australia was the world’s fifth-largest coal producer, after China, the United States, India and Indonesia. However, in terms of proportion of production exported, Australia is the world’s second largest coal exporter, as it exports roughly 73 percent of its coal production. That is more than the US and Russia combined.

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