Australian news, and some related international items

The world does not need Australia’s ‘toxic’ coal -Christiana Figueres

Former UN climate chief says world doesn’t need Australia’s ‘toxic’ coal, Canberra Times, By Nicole Hasham, 3 November 2018 Former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres has repudiated Australian mining giant BHP for its refusal to stop mining coal, suggesting the decision is uneconomic and poor nations do not need the “toxic” and “expensive” fossil fuel.BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said this week the company is “not going to move away from coal mining”.

His position comes despite a warning last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that coal must be virtually phased out by 2050 if the world is to keep global warming below the 1.5 degree threshold, beyond which the effects of climate change would be catastrophic and, in many cases, irreversible. …….

Ms Figueres, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said poorer nations did not need Australia’s coal.

“Developing nations will unlock the solutions to poverty with renewable energy. Not with toxic, expensive coal,” she said.

Solar and wind power were already cheaper than fossil fuels in many markets and “renewable energy will out-compete fossil fuels everywhere by 2020”, she said, adding that investors were “withdrawing from coal on all fronts”.

The World Bank, among other financiers, has largely ruled out funding new coal plants. It says coal contributes to poverty through air pollution, which causes illness, and climate change, to which the poor are particularly vulnerable.

Ms Figueres, who led the Paris climate talks in 2015, said as well as the health impacts, global warming was hurting the environment and “contributing to the die-off of the beloved Great Barrier Reef”………

Veteran physicist and climate scientist Bill Hare, founder of international think tank Climate Analytics, said renewable hydrogen could replace coal in steel production.

Such use of hydrogen is at the experimental stage, however, the capture and storage of carbon is also unproven at large scale.

“By backing coal only weeks after the world scientific community has spoken on the urgent need to phase this out, [BHP] is turning its back on the future,” Dr Hare said, adding that claims coal was needed to overcome poverty was “a denial of science”.

Meantime, the ACT is nearing its goal of sourcing all electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The Crookwell 2 wind farm, near Goulburn, has begun feeding electricity into the grid and is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 42,000 Canberra homes.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor, who has campaigned against wind farms, did not attend a launch event on Saturday despite the project being located in his electorate. A spokesman said Mr Taylor had a “prior engagement”.

ACT Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury said the wind farm was “a key milestone as we progress towards our ambitious clean-energy future” and would provide significant flow-on benefits to the region.


November 5, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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