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Energy sources of the future need to be low or zero carbon if they are to be used in a world that has greenhouse gas emissions set to zero* to limit global warming.
It is this constraint that has seen the future of thermal coal brought into question because, as with all fossil fuels, the burning of coal for power generation releases lots of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
But there was good news last week from Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, who told the Energy Ministers of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) last week that Victorian brown coal could be a cost-competitive feedstock for the production of hydrogen gas.
August 2018: Australian coal exports reached $60.1 billion in 2017-18, the highest ever level and only just behind iron ore exports at $61.4 billion. According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, resources exports accounted for $220 billion of total exports of $400 billion that includes all goods and services (like education and tourism). On these numbers coal accounted for 27% of all resources exports, and 15% of all international trade by Australia with the world.
The Executive today pays tribute to all workers’ resilience and determination to get a better deal after Hazelwood closes – you have stood up and fought when governments, investors and business would otherwise have done nothing.
Tony Maher's speech to the ACTU Just Transition Conference - Canberra - 10 November 2016.
Workers in Australia have spent decades being restructured. It may be inevitable, but they haven’t been happy about it. Especially about the way it’s been done – generally without justice or fair burden sharing. When it comes to Just Transition, I say that we have to give content to what is otherwise only a slogan.
It has taken the dogged persistence and unrelenting determination of our Union to expose the scandalous return of the deadly Black Lung disease in coal mineworkers in Queensland.