Australia is on the verge of an emissions deficit, the peak body for industry warns

Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam Updated Australia’s major fossil fuel exports could be at risk of experiencing “a spike” in harmful emissions, the country’s peak body for industry…

Australia is on the verge of an emissions deficit, the peak body for industry warns

Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam

Updated

Australia’s major fossil fuel exports could be at risk of experiencing “a spike” in harmful emissions, the country’s peak body for industry says.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Abbott) warned that the lack of permits for the huge Carmichael coalmine could push the state of Queensland into a “serious emissions deficit”.

The union said Australia’s state and federal governments should use the COVID-19 outbreak to deliver urgent climate action to avoid any more deadly environmental disasters, including a climate disruption that would have catastrophic impacts on humanity.

Abbott chief executive John Forrest, who is leading a climate-focused push to secure the $21 billion Carmichael mine, said the country is on the “verge of an emissions gap”.

“Our government needs to take immediate action to prevent a spike in harmful emissions that will damage our industry and our economy,” he told Guardian Australia.

“We cannot afford to turn our backs on clean energy, on a transition to a low-carbon future, on our oceans, the Great Barrier Reef and our food security.

“The government must also protect our communities and prevent any more devastating impacts from COVID-19, particularly on our most vulnerable communities, people with disabilities, and Indigenous Australians.”

He said the Abbot’s proposal to have a temporary coal mine exemption “at the moment presents an opportunity to halt this emissions gap at a time when the need for urgent action to avoid a climate disruption is acute”.

“We are the country’s largest provider of oil, gas, coal and carbon-capture technologies and the world’s largest exporter of electricity from renewable and clean energy sources. We are at the centre of the oil and gas industry in Australia, the world’s largest producer of electricity from renewable and clean energy sources, and we are one of the world’s foremost exporters of coal, oil and gas,” he added.

“Carmichael is vital for us to provide low-cost, reliable and sustainable electricity for our businesses, customers and communities and it is our top priority to secure this project.”

The Carmichael mine would be Australia’s largest open-cut coal mine and the second largest coal mine in the world, behind the proposed Carmichael coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, due in 2025.

The project aims “to supply the electricity that will power

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