King Coal Rules Down Under - And Over Here, And ...

coal_mine.jpgFrom the Austrialian publication "World Today" we have this excerpt of a recent interview with the Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell, who was speaking from the Climate Convention in Montreal. The reporter introduced the subject thusly: "...the energy sector continues to be the nation's [Australia's] biggest polluter, and ... it's increasing its emissions by 30 per cent –from 286 mega tonnes in 1990 to 414 mega tonnes in 2010. Electricity use is the most significant source, ahead of transport". Reply by IAN CAMPBELL: "No, I think Australians should not be concerned about that, because we are a growing economy. We've got a growing population. The population's going to grow by roughly 30 per cent from 1990 through to the year 2021. All of those people are going to want reliable energy supplies"..."The challenge for the next few years is to find out how we can create an ever increasing amount of energy, but with much reduced greenhouse gas emissions". Australia, China, and the US, plus a few other coal-dependant nations, have initiated a separate non-binding climate agreement as an alternative to the targeted Kyoto Convention approach embraced by the rest of the world. Coal is the tie that binds them. Australia happens to be the worlds largest exporter of coal, getting a significant amount of its total export receipts from those sales, and at times has been China's largest external coal supplier. China burns coal at the behest of US consumers, satisfying a cheap-goods addiction. Recapping: Australian is highly coal dependant; Chinese coal consumption is skyrocketing to make export goods for the US; and, all three nations refute mandatory targets to support their respective economic growth. The Environment Minister certainly has identified a challenge. Actions needed to meet it include upping the capital expenditures for pollution control at coal fired plants and/or "sequestering" C02 at significant operating expense. We think all these ideas would be fine. Might we please see the capital budgets and the electricity rate increases that are projected to result? That goes for the US coal industry too. The sooner the better. All this talk of "more research needed" and "supporting economic growth" is getting old.


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