Energy & climate change
The importance of access to reliable, affordable energy
Access to low cost, reliable energy, a traditional source of economic strength for Australia and should remain a national priority.
- Until the repeal of the carbon tax last year Australian exporting and import-competing companies faced average electricity costs up to 130 per cent higher than those prevailing in other advanced economies
- While the abolition of the carbon tax was a major step forward, further reform of national energy markets and the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is urgently required, with the RET adding between 9-15 per cent to the energy costs of average mining operations
- Barriers to resource access have further distorted emerging east coast gas markets. Reservation policies on the west coast discourage long-term investment. A lack of investment also hampers the smooth operation of the Northern Territory’s domestic market.
Climate policy should support industry competitiveness
Australia has been wrongly cast, both in Australia and abroad, as a laggard in efforts to slow the growth of greenhouse emissions.
- Australia was one of the few nations that fully met (or exceeded) its obligations under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol
- Independent research by the world’s most respected economists demonstrates that Australia’s 2020 target represents a fair and equitable contribution to the global emissions reduction effort.
The minerals industry acknowledges that sustained global action is required to reduce the scale of human induced climate change.
The minerals sector statement of principles on climate change policy call for a measured transition to a low emissions global economy will require the alignment of three key policy pillars:
- A global agreement for greenhouse gas emission abatement that includes emissions reduction commitments from all major emitting nations
- Market-based policy measures that promote the abatement of greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost, while minimising adverse social and economic impacts, including on the competitiveness of the internationally traded sector
- Substantial investment in a broad range of low emissions technologies and adaptation measures.
Low emissions and coal use are not mutually exclusive
Gains in technology are dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of coal-fired generation technology.
- High efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired generators emit 20-25 per cent less CO2 than the average of existing power stations and up to 40 per cent less than the oldest technology in place
- 90 per cent reduction in emissions can be achieved with carbon capture and storage (CCS)
- The Australian coal industry has so far committed $300 million under the COAL21 Fund to a portfolio of projects covering geological storage, methane abatement in coal mines and research, development and demonstration of CO2 capture as a contribution to the international effort.
The role for Australian coal and uranium in meeting energy security needs
Australia is a premier supplier of energy minerals to rapidly growing developing countries, particularly in the Asian region.
- Between 1990 and 2010, about 830 million people – the vast majority in developing countries – gained access to electricity due to coal
- Twice as many people gained electricity from coal as natural gas and for every person who obtained electricity from non-hydro renewable sources such as wind and solar, about 13 gained access due to coal
- The International Energy Agency projects that the global coal trade will grow by 40 per cent by 2040, with Australia providing 40 per cent of that growth in coal demand
- The outlook for uranium is also strong, with use expected to grow by 90 per cent by 2040
Australian uranium generated export earnings exceeding $800 million in 2012-13 with the potential for substantial further growth as demand for low emissions base load electricity increases in highly populated energy scarce countries like China and India.
22 Apr 2015 Climate Authority Targets Fail Common sense Test
Reports and submissions
28 Jul 2015 Delivering a low emissions coal future
15 Jun 2015 Coal: The hard facts