With the price of coal plummeting and our biggest customers turning to renewable energy, is Australia backing a loser? A thorough investigation by the ABC Four Corners.When Prime Minister Tony Abbott famously declared coal to be “good for humanity” and “essential to the prosperity of Australia” there was no doubting he saw a coal-fuelled future for the nation.
And it’s easy to see why: Australia has one of the world’s largest deposits of coal; it provides two-thirds of our power, employs more than 50,000 people and brings in more than $40 billion a year from exports.
Yet not everyone is so upbeat. Some argue that the downturn is permanent.
“There’s been a number of price cycles like this in the past. I have to say this is probably the worst we’ve seen.” Mining Executive
Four Corners explores the driving forces that neither the Federal Government nor the mining industry can control.
Among the challenges, rapid technological change revolutionising the way we generate and store power.
“It is totally a game changer.” Christina Figuerres, UN Climate Change Chief
And investors are getting nervous. [Divestment from coal is on the move]
“With fossil fuels we want to get out as quickly as possible for financial reasons, as fast as is prudent, but also because we feel like the value of these stocks is really declining.” US Investor
“Financial markets though operate like a herd. Once one of the bulls runs, a stampede is caused.” Energy Analyst
And with countries like China, America and the rest of the G7 committing to curbs on fossil fuels, will Australia be left on the wrong side of history?
(Four Corners: ABC TV: 15 June 2015)
Key Words: OzPolitics