If anti-mining activists had their way and Australia stopped producing coal, it would be worse for the environment a resources advocate has warned.
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan suggested environmental protestors were being hypocritical in demanding the coal sector to be shut down because only dirtier and more polluting coal could be imported from other countries instead.
Reducing the effect of climate change
The minister also claimed that selling Australian coal to large, developing countries like India would reduce the effect of climate change.
“From an environmental perspective we must continue to export Australian coal because ‘coal ain’t coals’ to paraphrase John Laws,” Canavan told a South East Asia Australia Offshore and Onshore petroleum conference in Darwin according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
More energy for fewer emissions
He suggests Australia should dramatically increase its coal exports to India.
“Those that want to protect the environment, those that see a reason, a need to lower carbon emissions should be absolutely supporting the high-quality coals of Australia displacing the comparatively lower energy, lower quality coals in Asia,” the minister said.
Canavan pointed to how Australian coal contained between 5500 and 6000 kilocalories per kilogram, which is higher than coal produced in Indonesia, India or other parts of the world. This suggests the domestically produced coal would create lower emissions for the same amount of energy output.
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Stopping exports is futile
“If we were to stop exporting our coal to the rest of the world, they would still use coal,” he said. “They would just be using coal of a lower energy content, which means they would have to burn more coal to get the same amount of electricity, which means higher global carbon emissions.”
Instead of trying to shut down the coal industry, the minister suggested following Japan’s example of burning coal and gas in modern power stations that release fewer carbon emissions.