Shadow minister for climate change Peter Garrett said: “As a rich, first world country that has built its wealth and competitive edge on the availability of the low-cost energy provided by coal, it is entirely appropriate that we should do the heavy lifting in the development of clean coal technologies.
“The very least we can do for the Australian coal industry and for the burgeoning economies of India and China – economies that carry an enormous carbon liability from their coal-fired power stations in the future and at present – is make a serious contribution to the development of these technologies.”
Garrett also reiterated that he was focused on involving the coal industry in finding solutions to climate change to help it secure a sustainable future, creating new opportunities for workers.
Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson told the conference that the state was already showing leadership by investing in clean coal technology.
“We need to strike the right balance between the need to produce coal and the need to protect the environment and the jobs of the 18,600 men and women who work in the coal industry,” Wilson said.
“Coal will always play a role and that’s simply because we have over 32 billion tonnes of high-quality, low-cost, easily accessible black coal to last for more than 300 years.
“I believe we can have the best of both worlds and Queensland has the capacity to lead the way on a national and international scale.”
In February, Queensland Greens climate change spokesperson Juanita Wheeler said clean coal was not a “magic pill”
“We cannot rely on clean coal as a solution to our climate change problems, and it is irresponsible to suggest we do not need to address coal exports on the hope of clean coal,” Wheeler said.
“We have renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions at our fingertips right now. We should ensure public monies are directed towards implementing these existing solutions and start reducing emissions today.
“The people of Queensland are increasingly informed about climate change and will not be hoodwinked by the empty promise of clean coal.”