Supplying Australian coal to India will result in lower carbon emissions than if the sub-continent turned to alternate sources of supply such as Indonesia, the Federal Minister of the Environment, Greg Hunt has said.
“It is their choice, not ours,” Mr Hunt said of India’s desire to source rising volumes of coal from Australia.
“As a developing country, they are saying we want to bring people out of poverty but if we have higher efficiency fuels that can allow us to go to super-critical or ultra-super critical [coal-fired power station] production which in net terms means we will have lower emissions than if we go to Indonesia with high sulphur, low efficiency fuels.
“Emissions overall are significantly lower, in their words, on their terms, their analysis [by] having Australia involved.”
Mr Hunt said India’s forecast of higher carbon emissions as it boosts electricity output over the next few decades has been included in global warming forecasts of a 2.7 degree rise in temperatures.
“Some of the Indians say to me: it seems very odd some of the richest people in the world, who still drive 4WDs, who still have all the access to electricity they want, are telling some of the poorest people in the world, in a slightly neo-colonial way, ‘you can’t develop; you have to do it in this way’.
“They’ve said to me: this is our country, our time and our moment. We have a right and a responsibility to bring some of the poorest people in the world out of some of the most crushing poverty, for all of history one of the great global objectives. I think you have to be very careful about inadvertently straying into that space.”
“If you don’t go ahead with us, we will still go ahead, but our net global emissions will be higher.”
Mr Hunt said it is important to continue to discuss these issues with India to help reduce carbon emissions.
“The more we engage with them, the more we bring them in, the more they are comfortable with being part of a global agreement” to reduce carbon emissions, he said.
“There will be no global agreement without India.”