The federal government has been accused of sending a bad signal on climate change policy after one of its first acts was to back the first major deal to export Victorian coal.
Trade Minister Simon Crean was jostled by a group of protesters as he attended the signing of an export deal between Melbourne-based Environmental Clean Technologies and Vietnamese company TinCom.
From 2014, the Victorian company expects to export 2 million tonnes of dried brown coal a year to burn in Vietnamese power stations, eventually rising to 20 million tonnes a year.
It says it can reduce the water content of brown coal from about 60 per cent to 12 per cent, lowering the greenhouse gas emitted by about 30 per cent to roughly the same level as black coal exported from New South Wales and Queensland.
Read about the last time we stopped the government's exporting plans for brown coal in their tracks