If the Morrison government really wants us to believe it will ship 70,000 tonnes of Australian coal straight by the Russian navy in the Black Sea, bang through a war zone, it is proving very reluctant to share even the slightest detail of how it might accomplish this feat of ridiculousness. Callum Foote and Michael West report.
In a major step forward for Australia’s clean energy transition, the country’s biggest coal-fired power station Eraring is set to close seven years early in 2025, Origin Energy announced this morning. Eraring has been operating for 35 years in the central coast of New South Wales. Last year, it alone was responsible for around 2% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, based on calculations from electricity market and emissions data. The fundamental reason for its early closure is the brutal impact the growth of renewable energy is having on the profitability of coal plants. Origin has announced it will be building a large, 700 megawatt battery on-site in its place to store renewable energy.
Australia’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 does not involve a phase-out of coal, and ( PM Morrison says): “Australia’s coal and gas export industries will continue through to 2050 and beyond, supporting jobs and regional communities.”
“The pressure on Australia, both international and domestic, is just going to keep growing. And the cost will be felt not just in the loss of international reputation, but economic damage as the rest of the world moves faster, and starts to impose border tariffs on Australian exports.”
While Morrison says there is “no line in the sand”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he hopes the event will be a line-in-the-sand moment that would see “all the countries in the world … move off coal”.
In the tradition of Coalition environment ministers, Sussan Ley has knocked back a large renewable energy project while waving through three new coal mines. Callum Foote reports on an Environment ministry which has found more renewable projects “clearly unacceptable” than coal mines.
The Coalition’s election war-chest will be brimming with fossil fuel donations thanks to demands by Barnaby Joyce and Keith Pitt to transfer $250bn from Australia to Chinese and other coal and gas companies. Michael West reports on the National Party’s latest brainstorm.
Yes Minister and Politi-Speak : Sussan Ley controls the world’s coal demand and use
Ley wrote that she had found the mine’s expansion was unlikely to lead to an increase in global average surface temperatures, based on advice she received from the department. She said this was because the mine was unlikely to cause more coal to be consumed globally than would be consumed if she refused the project. She also found the project was unlikely to cause harm to human safety because it was likely that a comparable amount of coal would be consumed in its place if she rejected the development. She concluded that this meant the project would not result in an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions – a finding Lock the Gate labelled “bizarre”.
India is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its transition to a low-carbon economy is crucial to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. But unfortunately, the nation is still clinging firmly to coal.
Joel Fitzgibbon is trying to walk both sides of the street on coal and climate. As everyone knows you can’t. This week the Labor member for the federal seat of Hunter asked whether his party had the “agility” to appeal to residents of progressive inner Sydney and Melbourne suburbs and resource-rich regions. Two-faced politics rarely succeeds, certainly not over time and on issues as serious as climate change.
The Australian Labor Party’s fossil fuel faction claims that Labor lost the Upper Hunter by-election because it didn’t back coal enthusiastically enough. But this strategy is the road to nowhere for workers and the ALP alike. To win back its lost supporters, the ALP must back a Green New Deal.
Australia is building a slew of new coal projects just as global demand for coal is in retreat. It’s justified by “independent expert” reports from the likes of Big Four firms Deloitte and EY. Luke Stacey and Michael West report on the flawed economics and compromised reports of the consultants.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s plan to turn brown coal into a hydrogen export market to save the La Trobe Valley, which he described as a “significant project”, defies financial credibility, writes Brian Toohey.
Daniel Mercer at the Australian Broadcasting Company reports that the newest coal-fired power plant in the country, the 10-year-old, nearly $1 bn. USD Bluewater facility, has been written off as worthless by its investors.
Southwestern Australia has so much cheap solar energy that the coal plant’s prospects cratered, especially once it faced some supply problems.
Mercer reports that financial analysts are predicting that there is going to be a lot of this sort of thing.
In fact, if any of you has coal stocks in your retirement portfolio, I’d drop them like a hot potato.
Brookfield’s make-up artists are hard at work. They’ve taken “coal” out of the title, hired every broker in town to flog the thing and, in the most telling move, are rushing to get the deal done before the end of the year. Michael West reports on the ASX float of Dalrymple Infrastructure, which looks set to siphon off Aussie cash to an offshore haven, with yield-hungry retirees paying the price.
Is Barilaro, Berejiklian or Morrison to blame for the annihilation of Australia’s favourite furry marsupial, the cuddly koala? And why is there such a kerfuffle over recent legislation changes affecting koalas?
The future energy market can serve consumers well without big government subsidies despite the unprecedented disruption in the shift to renewables, said Energy Security Board (ESB) chair Dr Kerry Schott. The ESB is proposing a range of market reforms in a new study released for consultation on Monday.
Marles refused even to offer a position on the inherent desirability of new coal-fired power stations, leaving Anthony Albanese to clean it up the next day by saying “I don’t think there’s a place for coal-fired power plants in Australia, full stop”. Now we learn of a group of some 20 pro-coal Labor MPs (including nine frontbenchers), calling themselves the OTIS group, meeting in secret without Albanese and with the aim of bringing Labor to a more coal-friendly position.
Whether this is merely an informal gathering or a more concerted lobbying attempt, it underscores Labor’s limitations on climate politics. This is a fifth of the party who probably see far greater political peril for Labor in distancing itself from coal than in making peace with it.
Coal-fired generation in the EU declined by a quarter, helped by a drop in gas prices and higher carbon costs under the EU’s emission trading system.
Super giants funnel billions into fossil fuels, vote down climate push
So, politically, what exactly has this summer changed? The Coalition is still split on the issue, meaning that a serious climate policy is not an option because it will tear the government apart from within. Meanwhile, it’s unclear precisely where the current policy vacuum will hurt them electorally.
And Labor seems to agree enough with that assessment to continue to be spooked by the damage it sustained last year in coal-mining seats. It’s worth monitoring how this evolves from here, because right now, the signs are that this is the summer that changed everything in politics, except what really counts.
To put that into perspective below are a few companies to contrast the total number of jobs created:
Coles 112,000 Woolworths 100,000 McDonalds 90,000 KFC 34,000 Thermal coal industry 29,000
But that isn’t what the Coalition is doing. Rather than offering a “Bush New Deal” to ensure its prosperity as it struggles to adapt to climate change and the drought, the Morrison Government is ensuring that Adani mine goes ahead, with a relative handful of jobs used as a justification.
While LNP policy uncertainty is ensuring investment in the renewable’s boom is down by 56% in Australia and coal subsidies and promotion are up the tide of the free market is running in the opposite direction. The LNP is openly conducting a market manipulation scam the equivalent of an insider trading rort. If Scotty from marketing were the CEO it’s time he got the sack and /or was charged. (ODT)
BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund, is quitting thermal coal. The move by the $10 trillion fund has stunned financial markets. Climate change and coal: while the people protest in the streets, progressive analysts such as IEEFA’s Buckley protest to global finance bosses. Tim Buckley, who had lobbied hard for the BlackRock exit, reports on the revolution in big money.
Let’s call it pollution, unprecedented CO2 pollution which has been increasing at an unprecedented rate and the warming of the planet. Like smoking causes cancer the statistical evidence and correlations are in. Australia has seen and is experiencing the effects of that warming with 9 of 10 record-breaking years this century and a fire season like no other predicted last century and scoffed at. The most significant voice heard in recent times was PM Tony Abbott declaring the science of global warming was “crap”. It cost him his seat of Warringah. Yet the LNP have still been treating the current unprecedented fires accordingly. To Morrison, Craig Kelly, Taylor and others it still is a purely “natural event” with policies in place capable of addressing it. and still claiming we will reach our global emission obligations in a “canter”. “It’s Time isn’t it?” as we are today the worlds biggest polluter with a leadership ethically and morally in total denial. (ODT)
UN chief Antonio Guterres told Asia it is “lagging behind” and said the rollback of coal could help curb rising global temperatures
Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter
According to the Minerals Council of Australia, most of Australia’s coal production is sold overseas, and mainly to Asia