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World Coal Association criticises new report from Australia’s Climate Commission

World Coal,

The World Coal Association (WCA) has criticised a new report from Australia’s Climate Commission (ACC). The WCA claimed the report was driven by ideology and was unscientific.

The report, “The Critical Decade 2013: Climate Change Science, Risk & Response,” calls for the Australian coal industry to be restructured, with a view to limit carbon released into the atmosphere.

However, the WCA (a body with many member companies with operations in Australia) reacted with indignation to the report, claiming it crossed the line “from scientific analysis into taxpayer-funded environmental activism.”

Milton Catelin, CEO of the WCA, said, “The Climate Commission report brings [no] intellectual rigour to analysing coal. It can be said to have conducted the equivalent of a cost-benefit analysis without looking at the benefit side.”

“This report is a disappointment from a climate change perspective,” Catelin continued. “We would encourage the Australian government to work with the coal industry on deploying technologies to reduce emissions from coal, while allowing Australia to continue to enjoy the economic benefits [coal] brings.”

The report claims, “Australia’s coal reserves represent about 51 billion tonnes of potential CO2 emissions. […] The use of coal will need to be turned around, so that it makes up a much smaller proportion of the global energy mix.”

However, the WCA suggests the report is not supported by enough rigorous science. Although the report quotes, among others, figures from the International Energy Association (IEA), the WCA believes the report fails to consider the economic benefits coal brings.

The WCA suggests that if coal use in Australia were to be limited, the effects would be devastating for the Australian economy.

In a statement, the WCA said that Eliminating the Australian coal industry would reduce Australia’s GDP by between AUS$ 29 billion and AUS$ 36 billion pa.

Mr Catelin said the report, “does nothing to show how Australia would replace the lost jobs, lost export dollars and other revenue,” if it were to implement a policy in which Coal use is decreased.

Mr Catelin concluded, “In Asia, where most Australian coal exports are destined, coal plays a strong role in social and economic development. In China, coal has been the major energy source fuelling the industrial development that has raised over 660 million people out of poverty over the past three decades. It is wrong that the Australian Climate Commission should think to dictate that other developing countries should not access the fuel that has driven down poverty in China and driven the prosperity of the Western world. The report also does nothing to address climate change in a realistic or sustainable manner. It does nothing to support improvements in energy efficiency at power stations or the deployment of carbon capture and storage – something the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the IEA have stated are necessary to tackling global warming successfully.”

Edited from various sources by Samuel Dodson.

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