T4 approval disconnected from reality: the party’s over for coal

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 June 2015

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that the NSW Government’s recommendation that a fourth coal terminal be built in Newcastle was completely disconnected from the reality that coal is in terminal structural decline and that, without a coherent strategy for managing this decline, NSW risked leaving the workforce and coal assets stranded.

“The T4 process was started in a totally different environment for coal, but in recent years we have seen a significant change in the global coal market and in the social acceptability of coal which has led to the industry being in terminal structural decline,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“The decision to recommend approval for a fourth coal loader is completely disconnected from economic, environmental or social reality and underscores the piecemeal and unstrategic planning system that we have in NSW.

“The fact is the party’s over for coal.

“It is time for Mike Baird to face reality and start developing a strategy for the phase out of the industry rather than rush to approve new projects at a time when the coal price is below $70 a tonne, China’s coal imports are in decline and the G7 has just called for a phase out of all fossil fuels.

“As with other projects in the coal chain, this decision to recommend T4 should be reviewed in the light of the very dismal global prospects for coal exports from Australia, otherwise we risk being left holding stranded assets in the years ahead.

“Mike Baird needs to stop wining and dining with coal lobbyists and have an honest discussion with the electorate about the future of coal in the context of climate change and the structural decline of the industry.

“Voters are furious with the decision to allow mining in our best farming areas in the Liverpool Plains, and a clear majority want a transition to clean energy systems and away from fossil fuels.

“Coal is the whale oil of the 21st Century. The question is whether we are prudent and have a managed phase out strategy, or will we avert our gaze until there is a chaotic collapse?” Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Jack Gough – 9230 2202 or 0427 713 101

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