Well it seems the crazy weekend of politics we’ve just had is well and truly over. Now it’s time to get back to the grind.
Returned Prime Minister Scott Morrison will likely be subject to a number of requests and accusations about whether he will stick to the promises he made to many different camps during the campaign.
Indeed, just hours after the coalition was declared victorious, the Coal Council set to work urging Morrison to show his support for coal through brand-new coal power plants, and reduced barriers to new mines.
Council says Australia needs coal
As part of the push, the Coal Council are homing in on Labor’s over-ambitious reductions targets, saying it cost them the election.
‘While elections are about an array of issues, it is important to note in coal-related electorates in both NSW and Queensland, Labor members and candidates recorded strong swings against them,’ said the Council’s CEO, Greg Evans.
The hard-line industry group are actively opposed to ‘transition’ policies that push for renewables, insisting that energy demand is too high to rely on these ‘slower’ processes:
‘Strong coal demand over the next decade dictates that cumbersome and lengthy processes should not unnecessarily delay approvals for new coal mine developments and expansions. This can be achieved without compromising already stringent environmental regulations.
‘As the new federal government considers opportunities to lower electricity costs, it should encourage proposals for new build coal plants which offer the cheapest and cleanest energy for Australian households and businesses.’
Palmer hits golden coal mine?
Meanwhile Clive Palmer, head of the United Australia party, has already sought environmental approval for a large greenfield mine that will neighbour Adani’s controversial Carmichael mine.
According to documents, this new addition is expected to produce 33% more coal than the Carmichael mine.
Though this may be a lucrative development, with Palmer outlining in the environmental application that it will ‘predominately driven by developing South-East Asian markets’, Energy & Resource Insights analyst Adam Walters believes ‘there are a lot of things that make this project very speculative’.
Walters notes the timing of this proposal compared to those of the Galilee mines, which began their approval process almost 10 years ago.
‘That was before the Paris Agreement and they were proposed in the midst of the biggest coal export boom,’ he said.
‘Now you have even the International Energy Agency producing scenarios to say, ‘How do we keep to Paris?
‘One of them requires the phasing out of unabated coal generation until 2035. And this mine is looking to come online in 2030.
‘If this is allowed into the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) planning system, it’s showing a massive failure of leadership because it is 100 per cent contrary to us successfully tackling climate change.’
Everybody’s talking about coal
Coal will likely be the ‘hot’ topic in Australia for the weeks to come, particularly considering many believe it to have been a deciding factor in the election.
It seems to be a constant battle between regional and inner-city voters, where one is looking out for the integrity of Australia’s largest sector which is — according to the Queensland Resources Council — ‘nearing crisis’, while the other group is conscious of its environmental impact.
But strong swings against Labor in Brisbane, which had previously showed support for climate-friendly policies, suggest voters felt Labor’s renewables target were somewhat unattainable.
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