Thursday, June 18, 2015

The End of Coal?

ABC's Four Corners did a great episode on Australia's obsession with coal, asking whether we are putting all our eggs in one basket, and if that basket is about to break?

"The reality is: the transition is happening irrespective of what Australia does."
"The world is committing to a low-carbon future. Australia's challenge is not to be left dependent on coal if the rest of the world leaves it behind."

The report included 1960s footage of one of Australia's coal power stations when it was new. Odd to think we're still relying on that technology.

It was also stunning to see the unwavering dogmatic belief of coal executives regardless of all the economic data. With comments like "I simply don't accept that..." it's understandable that cartoonists draw the industry as ostriches with heads in the sand.

The overall message is clear. It doesn't matter how much of a resource we have. If nobody wants to buy it, then it's a waste of money to invest in digging it up. Or as one of the economist puts it:

"What happens to Australia and our national prosperity if coal becomes a less and less valuable commodity? In many ways the current Government and Australia as a whole is doubling down on coal. And we're doubling down on a technology which is 100 years old, and which is rapidly being out-competed in many parts of the world by new technologies that are cleaner and superior in many ways, that have outlook of just lower and lower costs through time."