Australia does not intend to strengthen its short-term targets. She said, Monday, November 8, that she will continue to sell charcoal for ” decades “, after rejecting an agreement to phase out this polluting fossil fuel in order to limit climate change.
About 40 countries have pledged to go without coal in the decades to come at COP26 in Glasgow. Australia, like several major coal-consuming countries such as China and the United States, has not signed this commitment.
Australian Resources Minister Keith Pitt told ABC:
“We have made it very clear that we will not be shutting down our coal mines or our coal plants. “
Defending Australia’s decision, Pitt said his country has the best quality coal in the world. “If we don’t win this deal, someone else will win it”, he added. “I would much prefer it to be a high quality Australian product, which creates Australian jobs and grows the Australian economy, rather than a [charbon] coming from Indonesia, Russia or elsewhere “, said the minister, assuring that the demand for coal must increase until 2030.
Government plan criticized
Australia, one of the world’s largest producers of coal and natural gas, has experienced extreme events – droughts, forest fires and floods – amplified by climate change in recent years. Scott Morrison’s government unveiled a 2050 carbon neutral goal on October 26, but the plan has been criticized for its lack of detail and the fact that it relies heavily on as yet unknown technological innovations.
The Minerals Council of Australia, which represents major mining groups like BHP and Rio Tinto, has estimated that the 2050 target is achievable, with a heavy investment in technology. Almost 300,000 Australian jobs rely on the coal industry, according to Pitt. The Minerals Council of Australia, for its part, puts forward figures of 50,000 direct jobs and 120,000 indirect jobs.
Large groups ensure that they are opting out of the most polluting fossil fuels. In this connection, BHP announced on Monday that it had sold its 80% stake in a metallurgical coal mine in the state of Queensland, in the east of the country, to Stanmore Resources, for at least 1 , 2 billion US dollars (approximately 1 billion euros).
Edgar Basto, head of Australian mining at BHP, said in a statement:
“As the world decarbonises, BHP is focusing more on producing high-quality metallurgical coal, sought after by global steelmakers, in order to improve efficiency. [énergétique] and reduce emissions. “