February 14, 2015

350.org Australia welcomes landmark UK coal phase-out announcement

Saturday, 14th February: 350.org Australia welcomes today’s groundbreaking bipartisan climate agreement from the UK, which will see the country end the use of unabated coal-fired power generation. The agreement, signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg , also commits the UK to working with world leaders to formalize a global treaty that limits climate change to 2 degrees.

“As Australia’s government denies the existence of climate change and declares coal “good for humanity”, the UK is taking a major step forward for the planet by getting its economy off coal, said 350.org Australia CEO Blair Palese.

“Already, coal prices are at an all-time low, major consumers like China are their consumption of the dirty fuel and renewable energy is out-competing fossil fuels. The end of the fossil fuel era is upon us and, as the most polluting energy-source around, coal will be the first to go.

“The UK’s leadership is in stark contrast to Australia’s Government who last year axed the carbon price, despite clear proof it was successfully cutting pollution. Although the UK’s commitment still needs a deadline and we need to make sure that “unabated coal” isn’t taken to justify investment in unproven and costly CCS technology, this is a major step forward for the world.

“Yet despite this leadership, Tony Abbott and his Cabinet continue to give the fossil fuel industry a free ride, with massive support for the construction of the world’s largest coal port on the Great Barrier Reef and nine mega coal mines in the Galilee Basin that would tip our climate into the red zone. We need to urgently set policies that deliver a just transition away from coal, not open up mega new coal mines to supply declining demand from China and India.

“It is time for Australia to wake up and see that the world is leaving us behind. We can act now to get ourselves off fossil fuels and have a chance at a stable economy, sustainable jobs and a safe future for our kids or we can continue business-as-usual propping up the mining industry, leaving communities out in the cold and sending the climate to hell in a handcart.

“We are not only condemning Australians to a miserable future by opening up massive new coal mines, we are also condemning the entire world to the consequences of dangerous climate change.

“Australia must go to Paris at the end of the year with a serious plan to clean up our mess or else we’ll be the laughing stock of the world. That starts with setting science-based ambitious targets and policies that embrace the rapidly growing transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Today’s announcement coincides with the first ever Global Divestment Day as thousands of people in 48 countries and 6 continents up the ante on the campaign which has seen over 180 institutions and thousands of individuals move $50 billion out of fossil fuels in the past 2 years.

“Individuals and institutions see that the writing is on the wall for the fossil fuel industry. Increasingly, Governments, like the UK, see this too. It’s time for Australia to wake up to the reality that getting off fossil fuels is not a choice – it’s an urgent necessity,” commented Palese.

Media Enquiries

Blair Palese | 350.org Australia CEO | 0414 659 511

Charlie Wood | 350.org Australia Campaigns Director | 0427 485 233

Reuters on the breaking announcement is here.