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Australia Doesn't Care to Break its Coal Habit in the Face of Climate Change

Accepted submission by martyb at 2018-10-11 02:08:20 from the smoke gets in your eyes and lungs and clothes and environment dept.
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Australia Doesn't Care to Break its Coal Habit in the Face of Climate Change [arstechnica.com]:

Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a dire warning about climate change [arstechnica.com]: unless governments of the world coordinate to implement multiple long-term changes, we risk overshooting the 2°C warming scenario that countries strived to target in the Paris Agreement. This would lead to ecosystem damage, increasingly dramatic heat waves and previously-irregular weather patterns in different regions, and subsequent health impacts for humans.

Retiring coal-fired power plants is a significant action that could limit our race toward an unstable future. But Australia's officials don't quite care. According to The Guardian [theguardian.com], the country's deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said that Australia would "'absolutely' continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, despite the IPCC's dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate-change catastrophe."

McCormack also reportedly said that Australia would not change its coal policies "just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do."

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The country's previous prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, abandoned emissions reductions targets that the nation had agreed to, and Australia's renewable energy targets are set to expire in 2020. In September, government analysis showed that Australia's [theguardian.com] greenhouse-gas emissions increased last year, and independent analysts said the country would likely not meet the greenhouse-gas emissions reductions that it committed to under the Paris Agreement. Unlike the US, Australia has not exited the Paris Agreement, but the country's current prime minister has declined to add any more money to the global climate fund [theguardian.com].

[...] Still, Australia ranks only fourth for economic coal resources [ga.gov.au], with the US, Russia, and China ahead of it. In the US, which has the world's largest economic coal resource, the Trump administration has had a difficult time fighting to save coal. On Wednesday, US coal supplier Westmoreland filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of $1.4 billion in debt [utilitydive.com]. That makes the company the fourth major US coal supplier to file for bankruptcy in recent years due to the significant decline in coal use.

Internalize the profits, externalize the costs?


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