China coal decline bad omen for Aussie coal, say Greens

NEW figures which show China imported 42% less coal in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same period last year, means that demand for Australian coal should continue to fall, according to Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne.

Lou Caruana

The figures show China's use of coal power fell 10% while their use of renewables went up, Milne said.

“It's clear the mining boom is over and Australians need jobs,” she said.

“We need to leave it in the ground, simple as that.

“Tony Abbott has got to stop propping up this polluting industry that is falling down around his ears.

“Don't open the world's largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin. Don't build a new coal port on the Great Barrier Reef. End those multi-billion dollar subsidies for the fossil fuel industry that are weighing down our federal budget, and Mr Abbott, back off your ideological cut to the Renewable Energy Target.

“We need to be supporting industries like renewable power that have already created more jobs than there are in coal generation, and brought billions of dollars in investment to our regional areas.”

The figures come after the announcement that three French banks have joined a list of other foreign lenders refusing to bankroll the Carmichael coal mine.

“Australia's going to be littered with stranded assets and left behind economically, with consequences for all of us, unless Tony Abbott gets over this idea that 'coal is good for humanity',” Milne said.

“It's not. China knows it's not, and the market for Australian coal is already shrinking. China's shift to renewables is only going to continue as the country works to keep its pact with the US on cutting pollution.

“The rest of the world knows it's not, and Australia will be embarrassed at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year when Mr Abbott is dragged kicking and screaming into a global deal.”