SMH reported that the Baird government’s future projection for New South Wales implies the state will extract more than 10B tonnes of coal at the rate of almost 1 million tonnes every day by the year 2056, forecasts the Greens say are “delusional”.
The New South Wales Intergeneration report released this month has estimated the country’s richest state would swell in population by 50% to 11.2 million in 40 years with an annual output of $1.3 trillion by that time. The report has also based its financial estimates in part of mineral volumes continuing to grow by 1.2% every year. Thermal coal that fuels power stations accounts 87% of those volumes. The 104-page documents exclude any examination of climate change.
The Greens crunched the numbers on brown coal and assumed thermal and coking coal would maintain their respective shares of total mining. And at 1.2% yearly growth, the 196.6 million tonnes of coal extracted in 2013 to 2014 would go up to 324.5 million tonnes every year by 2056. Between 2016 up to 2056, the state would have extracted 10.58 billion tonnes of coal based on the figures presented by the Greens. Greens spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said the projections ignore climate change and the pledges made by the different countries in Paris to shift to net-zero carbon emissions by the second half of the century.
According to the New South Wales Treasury, the mining boom will not end, coal is forever and climate change doesn’t really matter. And instead of delusional projections, the government need a serious strategy to deal with the decline of coal and provide managed transition to using renewable energy. The projections for state royalties are probably more ambitious given the steep dive in coal prices since peaking in 2011.