As the nation’s political leaders prepare to meet at COAG Energy Council meeting for the first time since the federal election, environment groups are calling for the government to develop a plan to retire and replace coal-fired power stations.
Their calls are based on a report prepared by policy institute Climate Analytics, showing Australia needs to change course in order to meet its international climate commitments. The report, titled For Climate’s Sake: Coal Free by 2030, says Australia needs to steeply decrease coal-based electricity generation in the coming years, and phase it out entirely by 2030, to get on track to meet its national emissions reduction targets and to fulfill its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
Jono La Nauze, CEO of Environment Victoria said, “When Australians look out the window, they see the climate changing. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen catastrophic fires ravage the east coast before summer has even begun. Much of Queensland and New South Wales is battling through year-on-year drought. Authorities warn Victoria could face a repeat of Black Saturday this summer, stretching the nation’s firefighting resources to breaking point.
“This timely new research from Climate Analytics spells it out: burning coal is Australia’s number one contribution to climate change. Phasing out coal and replacing it with renewable energy is the single most important thing Australia can do to bring down emissions at the pace and scale needed to curb dangerous climate change.
“In fact, this report finds that moving beyond coal over the next decade is essential if we are to succeed in making the reductions to pollution that Australia has committed to achieve in that time. We have to get on the right track, right now,” Mr La Nauze said.
The Australia Beyond Coal campaign launches today, as an informal collaboration of seven leading environment organisations: Environment Victoria, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, The Climate Action Network Australia, The Sunrise Project, the NSW Nature Conservation Council, and the Queensland Conservation Council. The group is inspired by the successes of the Beyond Coal campaigns in Europe and the United States, where hundreds of polluting power stations have been retired and replaced with clean energy.
Louise Matthiesson, Director of Queensland Conservation Council, said, “After a decade of political inaction, it’s time for Australia to chart a new course. Coal-burning power stations contribute a dangerous amount of carbon pollution, and create health risks for local communities. Renewables are ready now as an affordable, clean and reliable alternative. With solid planning, we can support communities through the transition, and create new opportunities for our nation’s economy.”
“As we launch this campaign, together, we count more than a million Australians as members. We know the vast majority of Australians want action on climate change. We will be working from the ground up in communities across Australia to make sure our leaders can no longer rely on ‘delay and deny’ as their political strategy,” Ms Matthiesson said.
The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the facts: coal-fired power stations are responsible for a significant share of Australia’s emissions and pose risks to community health. The Australia Beyond Coal website features detailed information on coal-fired power stations across the country and the companies that own them.
The website is available at: www.beyondcoal.org.au
Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria CEO
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