A commitment from Japan to cut gas and coal electricity much faster than expected triggeredwarnings that Australia must accelerate the transition from fossil fuel exports.
A revised energy mix project published on Wednesday by Japanese officials a said the country - Australia's largest market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and thermal coal - would cut gas-fired electricity production by almost half and cut coal-fired electricity production by more than half 'one-third by 2030.
The plan, designed to help the countries to increase their emission reductions by 2030, would require renewable energy to provide up to 38% of production. Coal, LNG and nuclear power would each provide about 20%.
Although a phase-out of coal has been widely predicted, the decline hasThe extent of Japanese gas-fired electricity contradicts claims by the Australian government and the $ 36 billion LNG export industry that its product would replace coal and help reduce global emissions .
Llewelyn Hughes, associate professor at Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University, said the Japanese announcement was a "big deal "for Australia and in line with the country 's goal of having 45 GW of offshore wind power capacity - almost equivalent to Australia 's current electricity grid - per 2040.
He said some thought it would be difficult for Japan to meet its revised targets, but the commitment showed that the country was on the right trackie. use less fossil fuels. "This indicates a long-term decline in coal and gas, " said Hughes.
Over the past Ear, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, has set national data targets net zero emissions by 2050 and a 46% reduction by 2030 compared to 2013 levels. The 2030 target had previously been reduced by 26%.
Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Managing Director, Investor Group on Change climate change, said the energy mix project was "a clear signal of the country's desire to accelerate its decarbonization." Australia's other major customers in Asia - China anda South Korea - were also heading towards net zero emissions and would reduce demand over the next decade, she said.
"Staying competitive In global export markets, Australia needs to quickly put in place the right climate policy and investment signals to ensure we are producing green energy and other products than our major trading partners will ask more and more, ”she said.
The country's oil and gas lobby group, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, rejected suggestions that Japan's change meant gas would play a declining role.
Its chief executive, Andrew McConville, said Australian LNG was "an important part of a cleaner energy future," and would still be needed in Japan to fuel its largemanufacturing industry ". He said that demand for gas in Asia is expected to increase significantly by 2040 and that gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) is " a path to an industry clean hydrogen on a large scale ".
Gas is used not only in the production of electricity, but also in manufacturing, heating and heating industries. It is often said to have about half the carbon emissions when it is burned, but studies have suggested this is an underestimate once methane leaks - a powerful greenhouse gas - during extraction and transport are accounted for.
A a recent major report fromThe IEA suggested that the world should not open any new oil or gas fields or coal-fired power plants if it were to have a chance to limit global heating to above 1.5 ° C pre-industrial levels.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison, recently told oil and industry that it would be "Always" a major contributor to the prosperity of Australia. It has committed $ 224 million to develop new gas fields in the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. Also work supports opening newnew gas reserves .
On Thursday, Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the government would continue to "prioritize unlocking the new sources of gas supply. "He said Japan was only one of Australia's customers and demand from other Asian countries would increase." Fast growing countries such as India, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand and Bangladesh are likely to consume more Australian LNG "he said .
The Australian gas export industry has grown exponentially in northern Western Australia and Queensland since 2014. A Sum June Data on resources and energy published by the Federal Ministry of Industry show that theJapan bought 37.9% of Australian LNG and 36.5% of thermal coal exports in the past year. Together they were worth $ 22 billion.
Gas extraction and processing have been responsible for a significant increase in industrial emissions from the Australia which, according to government reports , has effectively replaced some of the reduction in carbon dioxide caused by an influx of solar and wind energy into the power grid.
Government and industry justify the LNG industry's local emissions by arguing that Australian LNG has the potential to reduce global emissions by around 170 million tonnes per year by replacing coal. Neither has produced any evidence to show that this is happening.
Federal Greens leader Adam Bandt said Japanese announcement showed major parties were giving communities "false hope" over coal and gas that endures for decades. Biparty political support to open the Beetaloo basin was "economic and environmental folly," he said. Wales the truth. Coal and gas are now on borrowed time and we must help workers and communities make the transition, ”said Bandt.