Australia : addicted to coal

Synopsis

On one hand, Australia has clearly committed to the energy transition: the share of coal in domestic electricity generation is constantly decreasing while the share of renewables rises. Yet on the other hand, the country defends its position as leading global exporter of coal by all possible means. It even supports the project for a new giant mine in a yet untapped area in North Queensland, just opposite the Great Barrier Reef. To defend this treasure under threat from rising temperatures, environmental groups are attempting to scupper this project while on the ground inhabitants are hoping for it to have a positive impact on employment.

Why we selected this film

This film is interesting because it uses the example of Australia to show us that it is not that easy to separate economic and environmental concerns. In the Latrobe Valley, the transition is difficult for local workers as several generations have lived off coal mining. Many lack the necessary skills to work in the field of renewable energy. In the Galilee Basin, where a mine with reserves of 27 billion metric tons of coal is set to be opened by Indian company Adami, environmental campaigners are fighting to stop the mining operations. Everyone condemns the hypocrisy, lack of understanding and negotiations of a country which has signed the Paris Agreement, undertaking to cut the use of coal nationally, but which is content to export coal to emerging countries which will burn it in old, polluting power stations and will take on the carbon footprint.