Home » Queensland Will Continue Coal Exports ‘as Long As The Market Dictates’ Despite Emissions Targets

Queensland Will Continue Coal Exports ‘as Long As The Market Dictates’ Despite Emissions Targets

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Queensland carbon emissions targets will dramatically change in coming years, but coal exports will continue for “as long as the market dictates”, Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

The premier has promised to slash her state’s emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050.

The plan is almost entirely focused on energy supply, which mostly comes from publicly owned coal power plants.

The state has motivation to decarbonise rapidly, with climate disasters having cost it about $30bn between 1979 and 2019, according to a Climate Council report released Monday.

Palaszczuk has refused to commit to more aggressive emissions cuts, but said she was open to the possibility.

“We are working very hard and these targets will change, and I think they’ll change dramatically over each decade,” she said on Monday.

Scope three emissions from Queensland’s coal exports are also in focus after the state’s land court on Friday recommended a planned thermal coalmine be refused.

The court found the project would have “unacceptable climate change impacts” on Queenslanders, no matter where the coal was burned in the world.

However, the government is aware that at least 12 thermal and metallurgical coalmines plan to be operating after 2050 – and some continuing after 2100 – according to documents obtained by the Australian Conservation Foundation after a right to information request.

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The deputy premier, Steven Miles, said those mines would be needed for steelmaking coal to make renewable energy generation parts, which the government wants to do in Queensland.

“Coal from those mines will be accounted for in the places where it’s burned, and where it is used,” Miles said.

“But much of that – about 80% of Queensland’s coal – is metallurgical coal used for steelmaking, and at this stage we don’t have a way to make these [wind] turbines without that coal.”

“And so we will continue our effort to decarbonise our state’s economy, but we will do it in a way that is responsible and in a way that makes a significant contribution to the global effort to address climate change.”

Queensland produced 282.5m tonnes of coal in 2021, according to state government data, and is the country’s biggest exporter.

Palaszczuk said future coal production and exports from Queensland will depend on global demand.

“The world is moving very, very quickly, but what we do know is, as the deputy premier said: metallurgical coal is needed for steelmaking,” the premier said.

“That will continue as long as the market dictates.”

Palaszczuk announced a $2bn deal with Spain’s Acciona Energia to build a 1,000MW windfarm in the MacIntyre wind precinct, near Warwick.

The project will help the government meet its other climate target of 70% of energy demand at any time being met by renewable sources by 2032.

“While industry partnerships like this will be critical to bring more cleaner, cheaper energy into the system, we will importantly still maintain majority public ownership of the Queensland energy system, meaning we will control our energy trans