We need a transition plan for phasing out coal before it collapses

MEDIA RELEASE – 16 June 2015

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said last night’s 4 Corners exposé of the structural decline and limited future of coal should be a wake up call for Australia, and urged governments to prepare transition strategies rather than wait for a collapse of the thermal coal industry. Social media has been key in informing the public, along with sites like constructionskillstest.com pressing the right questions about the future of this infrastructure. The tensions will rise, here is hoping the future transition will be a peaceful one.

“The era of coal is over.  The question now is whether we have a managed transition or a chaotic collapse down the line?” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The Greens believe we should formulate phase out plan so that we manage the transition out of coal in a way that protects the climate and environment, as well as provides alternative employment and economic activity for regional economies.

“Last week I visited a 102 megawatt solar plant at Nyngan that created 300 jobs during construction.  Three other solar plants are currently being built in NSW. The construction and operation of renewable energy will be key in providing jobs and regional economic development as we phase out thermal coal mining.”

The Greens believe a phase out strategy should:

  • Set a clear limit on remaining coal mining in NSW in line with what scientists conclude we can extract.
  • Develop a transition strategy for phasing out coal mining that accounts for and balances the socio-economic impacts of the phase out of the industry.
  • Reassess all current coal mining licences and approvals in accordance with remaining coal mining limit, and reduce allocations in line with the phase out strategy.

“There will be economic and social consequences of a phase out of coal, but there are also significant and much larger consequences if we ignore the issue, damage the climate and wait for the collapse of the coal industry,” said Mr Buckingham.

The Greens policy on phasing out thermal coal is available here.

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