Environmentalists campaigning for an orderly transition away from coal, say the Hunter must begin preparing now.
It comes amid figures from the mining industry’s peak body, showing it’s contributing billions to our economy, and employing thousands.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced last week that a federal Labor government would create a Just Transition Authority to oversee Australia's transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This echoes community calls for a " fast and fair " energy transition to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Economists are predicting Australia's thermal coal exports to plummet faster than expected due to falling demand across Asia that appears permanent and irreversible. A study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found Australia's top four export markets — China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea — were shifting rapidly to renewables.
Declining NSW coal exports since 2015 to key markets in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan; a dramatic drop in new and proposed coal-fired power plants in those countries; striking moves from coal to renewables in the past few weeks by some of Asia's biggest banks, insurers and power plant developers, and increasing competition for reduced Asian coal markets were strong signs Australian coal exports face permanent decline, said energy analyst Tim Buckley in a report released today.
NEARLY two-thirds of people polled in the mining areas of Singleton and Muswellbrook say critical horse-breeding and wine growing areas of the Hunter should be off limits to coal mining. Support for a ban on mining in critical agricultural areas is even higher among people aged over 65, with 7 out of 10 people polled on September 27 saying horse-breeding, wine-growing and coal mining don't mix.
Read the full article here
Newcastle is proud to be the world’s biggest coal port, but we are also realistic about coal’s prospects. With the end of the mining boom and the need to transition to a more knowledge-based economy, the composition of Australia’s trade is changing. And much of this trade will be carried in containers.
Port of Newcastle's Professor Roy Green explains how opportunities for economic diversification in the Hunter will increase with a container terminal. Read the full article here
Arguments over the future of the Carrington coal terminal reflect a much bigger question facing the Hunter region - how prepared are we for major changes in the coal industry? The world is changing. Hunter communities have sacrificed a lot for NSW's prosperity.
Read the full opinion piece by Steve Phillips in the Newcastle Herald here