The coal industry today is both indirectly and directly subsidized by the NSW Government allowing our greenhouse gas emissions to severely increase every year, our major source of energy comes from this sector. ‘Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world’ (Diesendorf Chapter 3). The indirect subsidies include five separate categories, by indirectly subsidizing the coal industry the government
The coal industry today is both indirectly and directly subsidized by the NSW Government allowing our greenhouse gas emissions to severely increase every year, our major source of energy comes from this sector. ‘Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world’ (Diesendorf Chapter 3). The indirect subsidies include five separate categories, by indirectly subsidizing the coal industry the government is encouraging the domestic use of coal-fired electricity and expansion of the industry:
Development Subsidies: The Government directly funding electricity production/delivery and consumption allowing the price of electricity in Australia to be almost the lowest in the world, ‘New Reliability Standards for electricity distributors were introduced in 2005. This will see $9.1 billion invested in the NSW network over the next five years’.(nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal) Outlines in the budget on June 16, 2009 ‘The state’s second largest coal-fired power station, which already emits about 12 million tones of carbon dioxide each year, will be expanded with an investment of $205 million’ by the Government. (SMH 16/06/2009)
The NSW Government have never spent this much money on energy before with a total budget dedicated to development of energy at $3.5 billion. ‘The Greens MP John Kaye said the Eraring expansion was the equivalent of building a new coal-fired power station and would add about 2% to NSW emissions from electricity’(SMH 16/06/2009). Since 1998 the figure of funding for development has reached $9056.13 billion. (nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal)
The NSW Government is not serious about Climate Change if they are proposing the opening of new coal-fired power stations or extending ones which currently exist.
Infrastructure Subsidies: In 2008 the NSW Government introduced an $8.1million plan to the construction of infrastructure projects in the Newcastle region at the old site of BHP in Mayfield granting them funds to develop a new ‘wastewater transfer system, incl. a new pumping station and pipelines’ as well as new road works to the surrounding site. In 2006-2011 the Hunter Valley Strategy was funded $375million ‘to deliver track capacity to meet coal growth requirements’(nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal), again in 2008, ‘$1 billion-plus in federal rail funding to help double export capacity from the Hunter Valley coal chain by 2014’(SMH 16/06/2009). Since 1998 the figure of funding in infrastructure has reached $972.1 million
Project and Program Subsidies: ‘Coal accounts for approximately 90% of total mining royalties in NSW’ (NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2007). Since 1998 the figure of funding has reached $88.16 million. (nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal)
Administration and Information Network Subsidies: The latest was 2006-2007 the Government gave $40.81 million to the Department of Primary Industries to a technology which can locate ‘additional coal development areas to increase competitiveness in the industry’, since 1998 the figure of funding in the administration has reached $123.36 million.(nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal)
Clean Coal Research and Development: The NSW Government is currently spending $22million on two pilot clean coal projects. Since 1998 the figure of funding in the area has reached $62.1million and will only grow with the introduction of the CPRS scheme if it passes this November.
If only 62.1 million is only spent on clean coal research and development then that leaves $10,279,147,000 billion spent by the NSW Government since 1998 on indirectly subsidizing the coal industry. (nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal)
The only direct subsidy the government provides to the coal industry is through their diesel fuel rebate scheme (www.ato.gov.au). The government currently provides a rebate on diesel fuels purchased for specific off-road users in the mining and agricultural industries allowing the coal companies to ‘maintain competitiveness in key export industries…’ (www.ato.gov.au)
Through using direct and indirect subsidies the government is allowing subsidies in areas that ‘drive increased climate pollution’ instead of redirecting fossil fuels away from this area and towards renewable energy sources which provide a better environment for the future as well as a more sustainable economy. Our Government should be giving more to renewable energy sources, instead of the current $9 billion dollar of taxpayer’s money which goes to fossil fuel subsidies every year. (Greenpeace Submission)
For the sake of our planet our government should stop investing so much money into the coal industry; our economy has been entrenched in this ‘dirty energy’ for too long, for our economy the government needs to move forward to a more sustainable economy and environment for the future. PM Kevin Rudd needs to make the decision to abandon this idea of CCS (carbon capture and storage) project as it is potentially ‘unnecessary and inefficient’ and make the switch to clean energy now as Mark Diesendorf along with many others has proposed. (Greenpeace Submission).
‘Currently renewable energy represents 6.1% of the State’s total energy consumption’(nonewcoal.greens.org.au/coal). Mark Diesendorf has proposed recently ideas on changing government policy to create a shift from coal-fired power stations to a clean and renewable energy supply scenario. See below Figure 3.2 and 3.3 as this shows the effective and less expensive way than the government has proposed, on executing a clean energy scenario for Australia’s future.
'The proposed substitution would reduce the socioeconomic risk faced by New South Wales, as the result of having an electricity supply system that is based 98% upon coal' (Diesendorf, pg 49)
Diesendorf argues that unlike previous times in history we are no longer completely dependent on the energy derived from coal and now have better alternatives for our economy. We need to ‘reduce dramatically the use of conventional (co2-emitting) coal-fired power stations by means of efficient energy use, gas, renewable sources of energy and other low c02 sources that meet the requirements of sustainable development’, (Diesendorf, pg 281).
Taxpayer’s should not be subject to the cost of subsidies these rich coal industries which are capable of funding themselves. ‘Studies indicate that combinations of efficient energy use, renewable energy and natural gas, as a transitional fuel, maybe less expensive than building coal-fired power stations’ (Diesendorf Chapter 3).
The Greens NSW are calling on the NSW Government to immediately end all coal mining and coal power subsidies and redirect them to clean energy technologies and energy efficiency programs. ‘The Greens want to ‘expose ‘clean coal’ and carbon capture and storage as dangerous myths that distract from the urgent task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions’. (nsw.greens.org.au/policies/coal)
Diesendorf. M 'Greenhouse Solutions with sustainable energy' Published by UNSW 2007
•Greenpeace Australia Pacific submission to the AFTS Architecture Report
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