Coalition’s friendless coal huggers increasingly isolated as Australia’s largest thermal miner caps production
SYDNEY, Feb 21, 2019 - Australia’s largest thermal coal miner has sent a strong signal that coal production has peaked and is now in decline as the world seeks clean energy alternatives.
Yesterday Glencore announced it would cap thermal coal production, citing investor concerns over coal’s contribution to climate change.
“The announcement by Australia’s biggest thermal coal producer that it will limit coal production due to climate concerns is leaving the Federal Government increasingly isolated on the future of coal,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner Jonathan Moylan.
“Coal is the biggest contributor to climate change and Australians are feeling the impacts right now. Labor MP Richard Marles is correct to acknowledge that as the world moves to harness the power of the sun and the wind, coal will increasingly become obsolete.
“The Coalition’s insistence on underwriting uneconomic projects will cost future generations of Australians through large taxpayer handouts to coal, and expose the nation to significant sovereign risk.”
Glencore said the policy was a direct response to growing concerns about coal’s contribution to global warming.
“To deliver a strong investment case to our shareholders, we must invest in assets that will be resilient to regulatory, physical and operational risks related to climate change,” a statement said.
“To truly align with the Paris Agreement, Glencore must go much further in reducing its coal operations,” the Dutch branches of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and ActionAid International said in a joint statement.
“Halting expansion is not enough, we have to move towards rapid fossil fuel phase out to avert catastrophic climate change,” the groups added.
Moylan said the global transition to clean energy was already underway and that any responsible government would plan for the future rather than propping up the dying industries of the past.
“Rather than playing politics, Resources Minister Matt Canavan needs to explain how the government is planning for a future beyond coal,” he said.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan
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