China moves to ban coal in heavily polluted provinces

August 8th 2014

Greens WA spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Robin Chapple MLC, claims Australia’s commitment to coal is verging on dangerous in the face of dwindling markets and changing attitudes.

The Chinese government recently announced plans to ban coal and close coal-fired power stations in Beijing, with the neighbouring provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Shaanxi likely to follow, in an effort to combat chronic air pollution across its major cities and as part of a broader shift towards clean energy nation-wide.

Mr Chapple said the move by China, Australia’s largest coal trading partner, reflects a broader global shift in attitudes and recognition that greater responsibility needs to be taken against climate change.

“Both our state and federal governments either can’t, or won’t, see the absolute need to start making serious commitments to clean energy,” he said.

“They continue to make massive concessions to the big polluters, at a cost to every Australian, whilst simultaneously watering down initiatives to combat the damage.

“Current emission reduction targets are laughable - Australia is way behind globally, and frankly the lack of foresight here is embarrassing.

“The state and federal governments must prioritise sustainability beyond this finite period of resources driven prosperity.”

Mr Chapple says even the current downturn in coal prices, driven by oversupply from large export markets such as Australia’s, has not had any discernible effect on the state government’s stance on sustainability.

“The demand for coal is only going to continue to slump into the future as more and more of our export markets turn to alternative, renewable energy methods long term,” he said.

“Current forecasts by ANZ have the price of coking coal down more than 20%, and thermal coal down more than 10% for the medium term future.

“Australia needs a Plan B, and fast.”

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