International

Australia vows to sell coal ‘for decades’

By AFP

Australia said on Monday, November 7, 2021, it will sell coal for “the future in the decades” after turning down a deal to phase out polluting fossil fuels to prevent catastrophic climate change.

More than 40 countries pledged to eliminate coal use within decades during the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow, aiming to keep the warming of the Earth between 1.5 and 2.0 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution.

Australia, along with some other major coal users such as China and the United States, did not sign up.

“We have said very clearly that we are not closing coal mines and we are not closing coal-fired power stations,” Australian Resources Minister Keith Pitt told national broadcaster ABC.

Defending Australia’s decision, Pitt said Australia has some of the highest quality coal in the world.

“And that’s why we’ll have markets for decades into the future. And if they’re buying… well, we’re selling.”

The minister claimed that the demand for coal is expected to increase by 2030.

“If we don’t want to win that market, someone else will,” Pitt said.

“I would very much like it to be a high quality product from Australia that delivers Australian jobs and builds Australia’s economy, rather than coming from Indonesia or Russia or elsewhere.”

Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of coal and natural gas, but has also suffered extreme climate-fueled droughts, floods and bushfires in recent years.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government unveiled the 2050 net zero emissions target last month, but the plan was criticized for lacking detail and relying heavily on as-yet-unknown technological breakthroughs.

The Minerals Council of Australia, which represents large miners such as BHP and Rio Tinto, has said the 2050 target can be achieved through significant investments in technology.

Pitt said the jobs of about 300,000 Australians were dependent on the coal sector. Australia’s Minerals Council itself states that the coal industry directly employs 50,000 workers while supporting another 120,000 jobs.

Major mining groups such as BHP say they are running out of the most polluting fossil fuels.

In its latest divestiture, BHP announced on Monday that it has sold its 80 per cent stake in a metallurgical coal mine in the eastern state of Queensland to Stanmore Resources for at least US$1.2 billion.

Edgar Busto, BHP head of Australian mining, said in a statement: “As the world decarbonises, BHP is increasing its focus on producing the high quality metallurgical coal demanded by global steelmakers to help improve efficiency and lower emissions.” So to receive.”

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