20 January 2015
Impractical claims by ‘clueless’ anti-coal campaigners being exposed
Via NSW Mining
Minerals Council of Australia CEO, Brendan Pearson is slamming Greens activists and related vested interests, who he says are “clueless” on energy and the practicality of fulfilling the world’s vast energy needs with 100% renewable energy.A new analysis of data from the International Energy Agency has found that replacing energy provided by coal and other ‘fossil fuels’ would send 147 countries back to the dark ages with no energy.
Mr Pearson is calling out activists whose “intellectual condescension” is offered freely without useful evidence to back it up.
“No thought of the practicality of the goal or consideration of the consequences. No evidence is presented on whether such a transition is possible, or at what cost, including to the world’s poorest people” he said this week.Referring to “lessons learned from recent history” between 1990 and 2010, he said 1.7 billion people secured access to electricity for the first time. And the standout fact is that for every person gaining access to energy from renewables, another 19 people gained access to energy from fossil fuels.
It’s not the first time that the lofty claims from professional anti-mining campaigners have come under fire. Liberal Democratic Party Senator for NSW David Leyonhjelm recently criticised professional activists in the Australian Parliament. He called them out for publicly condemning coal while happily enjoying the many benefits it brings to modern life and the Australian economy.
“Those opposing coal are happy to deny the benefits of coal to those that need it most, but don’t have the strength of their convictions to practice what they preach,” he said.
Coal will remain a key player in the global energy mix for the foreseeable future, alongside renewables which will play a role too. Coal provides energy to millions of people living in poverty around the world, and as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott himself said recently, is “good for humanity”.
“If we are serious about raising people’s living standards in less-developed countries, if we are serious about maintaining and improving living standards in countries like Australia we have to be serious about making the best use of coal,” Mr Abbott said.
Australia has some of the cleanest coal in the world and it is an attractive product for export markets all over the world, but particularly in Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and China. Data from Coal Services Pty Ltd shows that in 2013-2014, NSW coal exports increased by nearly 8 per cent to 167 million tonnes showing that demand continues to grow.
So to those short-sighted anti-coal activists, Mr Pearson explains the true reason why renewables just can’t fill the gap in the continual growth for energy demand across the globe.
“Independent analysis has shown that replacing existing fossil fuel-powered electricity with solar power by 2030 would take 470 years at the current rate of deployment. To do so with wind energy would take 270 years and require 3,460,000 wind turbines,” he said.
“In short, if campaigners get their wish and fossil fuels are phased out by 2040, the world will face an energy gap of at least 9.2 billion tonnes of oil equivalent. That is the equivalent of 147 countries with no energy.”
And the consequences of such a decision would be frightening.