The report, “The Critical Decade 2013: Climate Change Science, Risks & Response”, calls for the end of Australia’s coal industry, a judgment the WCA has said crossed the line from scientific analysis into “taxpayer-funded environmental activism.”
“It is clear that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground and cannot be burned,” the June 17 Climate Commission report said.
“From today until 2050 we can emit no more than 600 billion tons of carbon dioxide to have a good chance of staying within the 2C limit.”
WCA chief executive Milton Catelin said the commission conducted a cost-benefit analysis of coal use without looking at the benefit side.
“It is one thing for extreme environmental groups to argue for such an economically and socially catastrophic policy, quite another for a taxpayer-funded body to be making the same points,” Catelin said in a statement Tuesday.
“Australia has been built on the back of coal – decades of social and economic growth have been driven by this affordable fuel. This report does nothing to explain how Australia would replace the lost jobs, lost export dollars and other revenue from such a policy.”
In the statement, the WCA said that eliminating the Australian coal industry would reduce Australia’s GDP by between $AU29 billion and $AU36 billion per annum and cause about 200,000 jobs to be lost.
Catelin said the report was a disappointment from a climate change perspective, and was irresponsible from an economic and social perspective. He called on the Australian government to continue to work with the coal industry.
“In Asia, where most Australian coal exports are destined, coal plays a strong role in social and economic development,” Catelin added.
“In China, coal has been the major energy source fuelling the industrial development that has raised over 660 million people out of poverty over the past three decades. It is wrong that the Australian Climate Commission should think to dictate that other developing countries should not access the fuel that has driven down poverty in China and driven the prosperity of the Western world.
“The report also does nothing to address climate change in a realistic or sustainable manner,” he concluded.
“It does nothing to support improvements in energy efficiency at power stations or the deployment of carbon capture and storage – something the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the IEA have stated are necessary to tackling global warming successfully.”