Australian opposition leader rules out ending coal exports to lower emissions

Time:2019-12-10 09:56:57

Australia's opposition leader has thrown his support behind the nation's coal exports, declaring putting an end to the industry will not lower carbon emissions.

Anthony Albanese, leader of the Australian Labor Party, on Monday said that Australia should prioritize lowering emissions through but not by stopping coal exports.

According to a government report released in March, Australia exported 208 million tonnes of thermal coal in 2018 - the second-most of any country.

Albanese told Nine Entertainment newspapers on Monday that if Australia stopped exporting coal another country would fill the gap, resulting in a mass loss of Australian jobs without reducing global emissions.

"If Australia stopped exporting today there would not be less demand for coal - the coal would come from a different place," he said.

"So it would not reduce emissions - which has to be the objective. I don't see a contradiction between that and having a strong climate change policy.

"We've got to consider what the actual outcome is from any proposal, and the proposal that we immediately stop exporting coal would damage our economy and would not have any environmental benefit."

Albanese's comments come as rifts have emerged within the Labor party over its climate change policy.

An internal review of why Labor lost the general election in May found that its working class base swung against the party because it could not definitely say whether it supported Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

"Labor's ambiguous language on Adani, combined with some anti-coal rhetoric, devastated its support in the coal-mining communities of regional Queensland and the Hunter Valley," the review said.

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