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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Coal and Gas Exports Must End

As the world's third largest exporter of coal and gas, Australia bears a weighty responsibility in the unfolding climate crisis. Our fossil fuel exports are amplifying CO2 emissions and global vulnerabilities to climate collapse. They must end.

Climate collapse is happening now. Floods, fires, and storms are wreaking havoc across the globe, leaving no corner or group of peoples untouched. Antarctic and Arctic ice is dwindling at unprecedented rates, global temperatures have soared to alarming heights, and the anomalies - differences between the current and historical norms - are reaching new records. The world is in the midst of a dire situation, one that the United Nations Secretary-General has described as "climate collapse".

But Australia continues to expand and promote coal and gas exports. Our coal and gas exports are growing global carbon emissions. They are inextricably linked to the extreme weather events, displacement, and devastation that the world is witnessing.

Economic diversification is critical to safeguarding Australia's national interests in the face of climate collapse. We have the capacity to become a renewable energy superpower, exporting clean energy solutions to the world while simultaneously securing our energy future. By redirecting our export sector towards renewables, technology, and sustainable industries, Australia can also build resilience and adaptability. But we are still hooked on coal and gas exports. This also leaves us more and more exposed to liability for climate impacts.

Ceasing coal and gas exports will have immediate and tangible health and environmental benefits. Cleaner air, diminished pollution-related health issues, and preservation of our ecosystems are essential to our well-being. Pollution from burning coal causes millions of deaths annually across the globe, and thousands in Australia. When we close coal export facilities like those in Newcastle, asthma and lung disease will decline significantly.

There are more jobs in renewable energy than coal and gas. A just transition, supported by comprehensive community assistance, job transition initiatives, and reskilling opportunities, can ensure that no community or worker bears the brunt of this monumental shift.

The path ahead will be challenging, but it is an imperative choice. The negative impacts of staying addicted to coal and gas exports will be much higher. It is time for Australia to redirect its trajectory and become a renewable energy superpower rather than a peddler of outdated and dangerous energy sources.

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