The Australian today ran this story. May we then assume that the letter to halt all coal mining signed by 61 Australian mental giants, who so foolishly climbed upon the Warmista’s showboat, will now meet with the office shredder?
Malcolm Turnbull has repudiated calls for a moratorium on new coal mines, in a fundamental break with environmental activists that aims for the middle ground on climate change policy amid rising global demand for fossil fuels. The Prime Minister drew industry acclaim but sparked fury from green groups for dismissing the attacks on coal exports at a time of escalating legal challenges to major mining projects worth billions of dollars.
Source: News Corp 28/10/15
Malcolm Turnbull repels anti-mines push with coal hard facts
The International Energy Agency also countered predictions of an end to the coal trade, declaring yesterday that other energy sources had little chance of beating the cost of coal-fired power stations in the rising economies of Asia. With global demand for coal rising 2.1 per cent a year for the next five years, the Turnbull government sees the nation’s $40 billion in annual coal exports as vital to the economy, despite a price slump that has hit the federal budget.
The coal trade has seen a doubling of capacity at Port Waratah in Newcastle, NSW, in the time that coal services worker Shaun Sears has made his living from the exports. “The port’s capacity has gone from 70 million tonnes to 145 million in the 12 years I’ve been here,” the 52-year-old said yesterday.
The Prime Minister yesterday issued a swift response to an open letter from 61 prominent Australians, including Nobel laureate Peter Doherty, rugby union player David Pocock, former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser and ABC radio host Adam Spencer, in which they called for a global climate change agreement to stop new coal mines.
Mr Turnbull embraced the prospect of cheaper renewable energy from solar and wind power but debunked the idea of a rapid shift away from fossil fuels and warned against driving the world’s poor into “energy poverty” by clamping down on coal.
“If Australia were to stop all of its coal exports it would … not reduce global emissions one iota,” Mr Turnbull said when asked about the call. “In fact, arguably it would increase them because our coal, by and large, is cleaner than the coal in many other countries. So with great respect to the motivations and the big hearts and the idealism of the people that advocate that, that is actually not a sensible policy, either from an economic point of view, a jobs point of view or, frankly, from a global warming or global emissions point of view.”
Government ministers and backbenchers saw the remarks as a signal of Mr Turnbull’s approach to climate change policy after the bitter Coalition divisions of the past, with a pragmatic new message that rejects the extreme positions taken by some green groups or those who reject the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb stepped up the government’s message, declaring that Australia had a “moral obligation” to sell its coal to developing nations. Mr Robb, who is in India for the latest round of talks on a free-trade deal, said it would be wrong to deny electricity to millions of people. “No matter which way you look at it, over the next 50 to 70 years there is no alternative to coal as part of the mix,” he said.
Bill Shorten also rejected a moratorium yesterday.
The IEA, the world’s top energy authority, has issued robust forecasts for the use of coal. Its executive director, Fatih Birol, told a conference in Singapore yesterday that coal would not “disappear quickly” because it had a significant cost advantage over gas.
Dr Birol cautioned, however, that unless policies changed there would be “serious environmental impacts” from the widespread use of coal-fired power across Southeast Asia.
The IEA estimates that coal demand will rise 2.1 per cent a year to 2019, down from the 3.3 per cent rate in recent years but still growing. Chinese coal consumption will not peak during the five-year outlook.
The signatories to the moratorium turned on the Prime Minister yesterday, saying he should act on a warning from Kiribati President Anote Tong to halt new mines. “In essence, Malcolm Turnbull misses the whole point,” said La Trobe University emeritus professor Robert Manne. “The call is for an international moratorium on new coal mines and that reflects our understanding that the planet is not to be destroyed. Eighty per cent of known reserves of fossil fuels have to be left in the ground. The issue is as simple as that.”
The Australia Institute’s executive director, Ben Oquist, said Mr Tong had not called for an export ban but had made a “considered call” for a global moratorium on new mines.
Company director and former Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd said critics of coal needed to accept that wind and solar were not capable of providing reliable base-load power. Mr Turnbull had made “sensible, balanced comments” that Australians should welcome, he said.
Australian Mines and Metals Association chief Steve Knott said Mr Turnbull had highlighted that if Australia did not export coal then other countries would.
Additional reporting: Amanda Hodge, Gina Rushton