Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s championing of new ‘cleaner’ coal-fired power stations is a dangerous fantasy that will raise false hopes for communities that need help making the transition away from coal, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.
In a speech to the National Press Club, Mr Turnbull talked enthusiastically about “state-of-the-art, clean-coal-fired technology” and this morning on ABC radio Treasurer Scott Morrison would not rule out using the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund new coal fired power plants.
“Clean coal does not exist,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Every coal fired power plant is damaging our climate, intensifying heatwaves and bushfires, polluting our air and bleaching coral reefs.
“Coal pollution is a clear and present danger to life. By backing coal, our Prime Minister is fuelling dangerous global warming and an unsafe future.
“There is not a single so-called ultra-super-critical coal fired power station in Australia.
“Australia needs energy that doesn’t pollute, not energy that pollutes a little less than Australia’s existing coal generators, some of which are among the dirtiest in the world.
“To consider using the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund new coal fired power plants would be a deceitful misuse of the language and public money.
“By talking up the fantasy of clean coal, Mr Turnbull is giving false hopes to communities like those in the Latrobe Valley that are in the process of making the transition away from coal.
“Research commissioned by ACF and the ACTU shows strong policies on climate change and energy would generate an additional 105,500 jobs in Victoria by 2030.
“Communities in the middle of this change need the Government’s help, not false hopes.
“As Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said last year, ‘the Australian economy is in transition – we are moving away from coal and that is not a bad thing’.
“A bright, safe and secure future relies on a planned and fair transition to clean, renewable energy.
“You can only have energy security if that energy is sustainable in the long-term. Clean, renewable energy is the only energy that fits the bill.”