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Friday 30 October 2015

Au contraire there is a strong moral argument to keep mining coal

Once again this week in the lead up to the Paris Climate change conference next month Climate Change advocates have released a letter signed by 61 notables including Bernie Fraser and Tim Flannery declaring ;-

"We, the undersigned, urge you to put coal exports on the agenda at the 2015 Paris COP21 climate summit and to help the world's governments negotiate a global moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions, as called for by President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati, and Pacific Island nations," - SMH  Pressure mounts on Malcolm Turnbull over coal

Underlying this latest missive is the argument raised by Josh Frydenberg defending coal mining on moral grounds, and the everpresent push by the Greens, and others, to stop coal mining in Australia.

There are compelling arguments to the contrary

Consider these; - 
  • If Australia were to stop exports of high quality thermal coal, no country would stop using coal, they would simply replace Australia's output by imports from other countries. So the total emissions would not change and there would be no reduction in global warming. As Turnbull noted ;- 
“If Australia were to stop all of its coal exports it would … not reduce global emissions one iota,” The Australian - Malcolm Turnbull repels anti-mines push with coal hard fact 
  • Coal is today a vital part of the worlds energy mix and will remain so for decades. 
 "The latest Report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that by 2040, coal will surpass oil to become the most consumed fuel in the region, and grow at 4.6 per cent per annum over the same period." 
Minerals Council of Australia -Coal will remain key part of energy mix
  • Coal is helping to raise the living standards of the poorest people of the world. Restricting the access to coal would prevent these people increasing their standard of living. 
"Nearly half the world's population has limited or no access to electricity. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 18 per cent of the world's population have no access to electricity at all and 38 per cent are dependent on wood, crop residues and animal waste as their main cooking and heating fuels." 

Climate change is hotting up, excuse the pun. All manner of interest group are sprouting half-baked solutions. The elimination of coal is just one of them. Low lying Pacific Islands face an existential threat with predicted rises in sea levels. So their agitation for urgent action is understandable. However their call would be better directed to demanding compensation for the damage their countries suffer due to the actions of the large emitters (See my earlier post Seeking a fair GHG reduction target - Part 4: Propositions for consensus which cover a suggested CC Compensation Fund). 
Nonsensical claims to put a moratorium on a resource which is vital to the world's poor is not only impractical, such calls damage the credibility if those making them.

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