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Coal does not have an economic future in Australia

Frank Jotzo and Salim Mazouz write in The Conversation (6.9.18) about the findings of a new international report which suggests there’s no economic future for Australia’s coal exports.

‘Renewables are stealing the march over coal in Australia, and the international outlook is for lower coal demand. Today the international Coal Transitions project released its findings, based on global coal scenarios and detailed case studies by teams in China, India, South Africa, Australia, Poland and Germany.

‘Our research on Australian coal transition – based on contributions by researchers at the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne – looks into the prospects for coal use in Australia and for exports, and the experiences with local transition in the case of the Hazelwood power station closure.

‘Coal production in Australia is likely to be on a long term declining trajectory. Almost all coking coal (coal used for making steel) mined in Australia is exported, as is around 70% of steam coal (for electricity generation). Australia supplies about a fifth of the global steam coal trade.

‘A question mark hangs over the future of steam coal exports. Economic, technological and policy developments in other countries all point to likely falling coal use over time. The international coal transitions synthesis report expects that global coal consumption will go into reverse by the early 2020s.

‘… It is no longer true that reducing emissions in the electricity sector necessarily means higher prices. These days, and in the future, having policy to guide the replacement of ageing coal capacity with cheap renewables is a win-win for consumers and the environment.’

Deloitte highlights danger of a Queensland economy still reliant on coal

Stuart Layt reports in the Brisbane Times (19.1.20) on a Deloitte economic report which highlights the vulnerability of Queensland’s coal-reliant economy.

‘Queensland is set for an economic boost across a range of sectors in the near future but still remains reliant on coal exports to China, Deloitte’s latest business outlook report finds.

‘The latest quarterly Deloitte Access Economics’ Business Outlook report, published on Monday, shows Queensland’s export earnings “papered over the cracks” in the state’s economy from falling housing and engineering construction activity.

‘Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson, the report’s lead author, said Queensland had weathered the global downturn in commodity prices better than other resource states such as Western Australia, but was still facing falling coal revenue.’

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