Australia’s new climate promise is in line with the reality of mining

A forest fire is burning near Canberra in February 2020. Climate change has increased the threat of fire

A forest fire is burning near Canberra in February 2020. Climate change has increased the threat of fire.

Floods, fires and droughts Australia is trying to clean up its actions on climate change, but dependence on fossil fuel resources could hamper national transformation.

Center-left Prime Minister Anthony Albanese came to power in May, promising weary Australians that he would succeed climate change.

He fulfilled a key part of that promise on Thursday, almost doubling the country’s 2030 emissions reduction target to 43 percent.

Albanese faces a difficult dilemma: Australians want real steps to slow global warming, but they live in a country that depends on exports of the fossil fuels that cause it.

Emissions in Australia – albeit high per capita – account for just over one percent of global emissions.

They are much more significant fossil fuels excavated in Australia and burned abroad.

Estimates vary, but they can account for between three and five percent of global emissions, making Australia one of the world’s largest carbon polluters.

Another beneficiary of the May elections wants to end this.

“You are not ending climate wars by opening new coal and gas mines,” said Australian Green leader Adam Band, whose party now holds the balance of power in the Senate and wants radical energy reform in exchange for working with the government.

The recommendation for the Greens, Band told AFP, was that the government had promised support for 114 new coal and gas projects already on Australia’s investment pipeline.

Green modeling has found that these projects will more than double Australia’s emissions.

“None of these new projects the government wants to open are involved in their climate modeling,” Band said.

Wilder climate

First discovered in 1791, Australia’s vast coal deposits make it the world’s second largest exporter.

It is also one of the largest exporters of gas – mostly natural gas and coal-fired gas.

Fossil fuels account for about a quarter of Australia’s exports, with most going to Japan, China and South Korea, according to an analysis by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

About 70 percent of the country’s electricity comes from coal and gas, according to official figures.

Given economic sensitivity, the Albanian government has so far avoided calls for a deadline for withdrawals from the sector, saying international markets will decide when coal is no longer viable.

The approach could quell the disagreement of the coal and gas industries, accustomed to making their way after a decade of conservative governments.

But it can cause economic shocksas central bank analysts warn that demand for coal could fall by up to 80 percent by the middle of the century, leaving “stuck assets” that cannot be sold.

The strains are already beginning to appear.

Mining giant BHP said on Thursday it had failed to sell its coal assets in the New South Wales state.

The country’s largest energy producer and carbon source, AGL, also faces uncertain future.

When AGL tried to separate the most polluting parts of its business, green technology billionaire Mike Cannon-Brooks tried to buy the company to stop the plan.

His offer was rejected, but Cannon-Brookes successfully lobbied other investors to block the spin-off, arguing that it would hurt shareholders and delay coal-closed power plants.

Greenpeace Australia CEO David Ritter said the AGL experience was a lesson in listening to the call for climate action.

“Any corporation that makes the same mistakes can also expect to fall into real turbulence very, very quickly,” he told AFP.

This turbulence will come from activists, but also from the Australian public, which has seen first-hand how the wilder climate can affect them.

After “Black Summer”

Forest fires in Australia in 2019-2020 “Black Summer” burned 24 million hectares of land, covered the cities in smoke and killed more than 30 people, along with tens of millions of wild animals.

Over the next two years, dramatic floods swept Australia’s east coast, killing more than 20 people this year as water reached rooftops and swept away cars.

Before the fires, veteran firefighter Greg Mullins tried to warn the government that he was not prepared for the coming hell.

For 14 years, Mullins ran the fire department in Australia’s largest state, New South Wales, and was joined by other retired emergency services leaders on the alert that climate change has dramatically escalated the threat of fire.

“Everything was political. Because we mentioned climate changethey just locked us up, “he told AFP.

He and his colleagues from emergency leaders on climate action are calling for far more ambitious reductions in emissions – 75 percent by 2030.

“We have lost the last decade of climate action, they need to do a lot to catch up,” he said.


Australia presents UN with more ambitious emissions target for 2030


© 2022 AFP

Quote: Australia’s new climate promise is in line with the reality of mining (2022, 17 June), retrieved on 17 June 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-australia-climate-reality. html

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