Manufacturing News

Coal energy debate heats up

GREENPEACE wants to end the use of coal by 2030, but industry says otherwise.

Released on Monday, a new report by Greenpeace titled Australia’s Energy (R)evolution states Australia has more than enough sun and wind to power the nation’s energy needs long term.

The organisation says green renewable energy can be cheaper, cleaner, and create more jobs than fossil fuels and if renewable energy is embraced now, it could see the phasing out of coal use in the next 22 years.

“Avoiding catastrophic climate change means an inevitable phasing out of coal,” it said.

“Currently, Australia is one of the worst greenhouse-polluting countries in the world on a per-capita basis … we are literally filling up the sky with greenhouse pollution”.

Greenpeace wants to replace coal with wind, solar and geothermal power and wants an immediate ban on new coal-fired power stations, calling on the Rudd government to take action.

But industry says the plan is “fanciful and impractical” as well as “expensive and ineffective”, saying the world needs coal.

The two sides clashed on Monday when the report blasted coal-fired electricity as the greatest cause of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Australian Coal Association executive director Ralph Hillman said “clean coal” technology was a crucial way of tackling climate change.

“Ruling out one of the world’s major sources of cheap, reliable energy – low-emissions coal technology – makes no sense whatsoever,” Hillman said.

He said world electricity demand was predicted to double by 2030 and coal was needed to meet the need.

Australia’s emissions trading system is to start operating in 2010 and Hillman said it should be left to the market to work out the most efficient way to produce low-emission electricity.

As well as attacking coal, the report urged the government to double its commitment to renewable energy to 40 per cent of total energy supply by 2020.

The government has promised to cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

To download a copy of the report visit

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