Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, is distorting the latest Energy in Australia 2010 analysis to construe it as an endorsement of the further mining and export of coal. He is ignoring the significant impact of these activities on climate change, according to NSW’s peak environment group.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is appalled by Minister Ferguson’s ‘business as usual’ approach to digging up and burning 490 years’ worth of brown coal and 90 years of black coal in Australia that would generate dangerous amounts of carbon pollution and lock in disastrous levels of climate change.
“Minister Ferguson makes no reference to climate change in his statement announcing the Energy in Australia 2010 report. Either he is ignorant of the fact that coal is the major cause of climate change, or he does not believe climate change is a problem,” said climate campaigner Max Phillips.
“Australia cannot blindly congratulate itself for exporting nine per cent of the world’s coal without taking responsibility for the resulting carbon pollution created when it is burned.
“Australia exported 262 million tones of coal in 2008, which will produce 626 million tonnes of CO2 when burned, more than Australia’s total emissions. Every tonne of carbon used in electricity production accelerates the rate of damage to our planet and leaves a toxic legacy for generates to come.
“Talk of a ‘sustained expansion of the resources sector’ is a furphy. The science is telling us the future of the Great Barrier Reef, thousands of coastal homes and infrastructure, the Murray-Darling Basin and Australia’s food security are all on the line with climate change
“Our earth simply cannot afford another 490 years of emissions from dirty fossil fuel sources. The science tells us levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may already be too high and we must immediately reduce emissions to safe levels.
“The Nature Conservation Council calls on Australian governments to count the true cost of coal and start an urgent phase-out of the nation’s reliance on exports of polluting coal.
“Australia’s abundant natural renewable resources present a unique opportunity for an energy future based on clean energy like solar, wind and geothermal, not a denial of our role as a global pollution pusher,” Mr Phillips said.