Premier's warning to coal industry
By PAUL McINERNEY
November 5, 2003
AUSTRALIA'S coal export industry must embrace greenhouse gas "offsets" if it
wants to do business with Europe and Japan in the future, Premier Bob Carr
The Premier's warning of hardening attitudes to carbon and the
"indisputable" evidence of global warming came as he formerly opened BHP
Billiton's Dendrobium colliery at Mt Kembla.
"When I was in Europe a few weeks ago talking to a big bank in Holland, they
revealed there are two Australian coal suppliers who have been told by
European buyers that not only should they present them with coal, but
greenhouse offsets," Mr Carr told a gathering of company executives, miners
"That's a challenge for us, to see our coal being sent overseas accompanied
by a certificate that in effect says measures are being taken back in
Australia to offset the release of carbon that comes when the coal is
incinerated making steel or in power generation plants.
"New mines like Dendrobium will provide new jobs for the Illawarra and put
millions through the economy, but we have got to plan for the day when the
markets in Japan and Europe demand we do something to compensate," Mr Carr
"That's a warning and a challenge."
BHP Billiton has invested $284million in Dendrobium - the once-bustling
Southern District's first new mine in 20 years.
During its expected 30-year life, the mine will inject about $400million
into the Illawarra economy and at full production 2.6 million tonnes of
coking coal and one million tonnes of thermal coal for electricity
generation will be won from the mine each year.
Mr Carr described the environmental constraints placed on the mine's
production and the involvement of the community in its development and
on-going operation as a benchmark for the nation's entire coal industry to
Later at a media conference, the Premier said because there was no dramatic
easy alternative to coal, it was all the more important to have some sort of
offset, and timber plantations was one option.
Mr Carr said NSW was already operating a carbon credit system with overseas
companies investing in plantations.
He said investments in other forms of energy will help companies get some
offsets that would help them sell their coal to Northern Hemisphere
countries increasingly concerned with greenhouse.
The Premier was uncertain about the impacts on state initiatives of the
failure to ratify the Kyoto Treaty on global warming.
"I think Europe will move towards its own controls on carbon regardless of
whether the Kyoto treaty is ratified or not and so will Japan," he said.
"One way or another this is going to be an issue that will not go away and
Australia must be ready to respond to it," Mr Carr said.
In a brief but hectic Melbourne Cup Day visit, Mr Carr also launched
Futureworld's Eco-Technology Centre at Coniston.
Mr Carr said the centre was set to become one of the Illawarra's foremost
education and tourist attractions allowing companies to promote the latest