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China’s shift from coal demands a shift in Australian investment

“Professor Garnaut has confirmed what the Greens have long said: that China is shifting rapidly away from coal towards renewable energy, making Australia’s investment in coal export infrastructure a multi-billion dollar mistake and posing high risk to shareholders,” Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“This coal obsession from Labor, Liberals and the mining lobby is not only putting at risk the Great Barrier Reef and driving extreme weather events, but it is simply a bad business investment when the largest global markets for coal are drying up.”

In a speech last night, Professor Garnaut said:

“It happens that the Chinese structural change has its most severe effect precisely on the three commodities that have been at the centre of Australia’s resources boom in the early 21st century: iron ore, thermal coal and metallurgical coal… The awful reality is that parts of corporate Australia have dissipated shareholder funds by under-estimating the seriousness of the Chinese commitment to reduce the emissions intensity of economic growth. This has led to wasteful over-investment in thermal coal mining and export capacity.”

Senator Milne said “It’s time for governments to pull our infrastructure subsidies out of an industry which has no future and redirect it into building smarter, cleaner, healthier industries like solar power, high speed rail and more world-leading research and development.

“China has been sending clear signals for years that they intend to move away from coal but this year’s drop in coal use by 7%, with non-fossil fuel energy generation up to 27%, turns those signals into an unmistakable reality.

“Yet the Asian Century white paper projects a doubling of coal exports and Labor and the Coalition continue to pour money into coal ports and rail lines.

“This overinvestment in coal infrastructure is a huge risk to our economy, both in terms of creating multi-billion dollar white elephants and driving global warming.”


11/09/2012 – 12:50


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