US decision on coal puts Australia’s lethargy into harsh light

17.01.16 By

PRESIDENT Obama has ordered a moratorium on all new leases for coal mined from federal lands in another game-changing move for climate action, the Climate Council said today.

The decision comes as New York governor Andrew Cuomo vowed this week to shut down all the state’s coal-fired power plants by 2020.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the USA had continued to take decisive action on climate change and were leaving Australia for dust when it came to transforming their energy system.

“President Obama has acknowledged that coal burning is a core contributor to climate change and he has been consistently moving the US away from polluting energy sources to clean energy. This announcement follows tight regulations on emissions from coal fire power stations.

“The US are positioning themselves to take advantage of the new zero-emissions economy and they will reap the benefits of taking decisive action rather than trailing behind when it comes to the job of transitioning their energy systems away from coal.

“While the US has been moving away from coal, the Australian Government has approved another coal mine and approved plans to expand a coal port next to the Great Barrier Reef. The ultimate test of action is whether pollution is going up or down. In the US emissions are declining, Australia’s emissions are going up due to a lack of effective policies, particularly on coal, she said.

“And new statistics from Bloomberg Energy Finance has shown investment in large-scale renewable energy remains stagnant after the two-year review and subsequent cut of the Renewable Energy Target crushed investor confidence.

“The Paris agreement has set forth a framework for tackling climate change and the path forward is clear: transition our energy systems away from fossil fuels toward clean energy as soon as possible.

“Opening new coal mines is totally inconsistent with tackling climate change.”

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