Coal seam gas

Health groups seek urgent action on climate

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

With the federal election date looming, many Australians will be seriously considering their voting intentions and the issues that will shape them. So far the hot topics in the media have been the leader’s gaffes and characteristics of candidates, along with the state of the budget, asylum seekers and education.

But are these the issues voters and community leaders would prioritise given the chance?

One key issue that has so far escaped much attention is that of climate change, outside the narrow debate of shifting to a floating carbon price or, in the case of the Coalition, abolishing the emissions trading scheme altogether.

But while it may not be popular politically, and many in the media either misreport or avoid it, climate change is a key issue in the minds of the public and civil society.

Coal and csg rush clashes with health and climate obligations

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Australia is currently in the middle of a coal rush. Coupled with the exploration of coal seam gas expanding at a rapid rate across Queensland and New South Wales, this looks (on paper) to be one of the country’s biggest and most rapid industry expansions in our short history.

Australia is currently the world’s largest exporter of metallurgical coal and ranks sixth in exports of thermal coal. In 2012, we sold around $60 billion worth of coal, mostly to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Looking to the future, Australia’s national energy policy, the Energy White Paper, anticipates strong demand from these nations for Australian coal and prioritises coal production as a core element of energy for the coming decades.

Around 30 new coal mines and coal mine expansions are planned for New South Wales and Queensland, and if they proceed would more than double Australia’s current coal exports of more than 300 million tonnes per annum.

Much of the current expansion of coal is predicated on rising demand from China, and India; a stable global economic environment; and industry denial about climate science.

These assumptions have shaky foundations and investors should heed the clear warning from risk experts of the imminent destruction of value of high-carbon investments and that climate change will continue to deliver systemic shocks to regional and global economies.