Queensland’s Coal Emissions Keep Us On A Path To Disaster

With the latest updates on emissions for Queensland’s coal fired power stations released today, our beautiful state remains at high risk of climate disaster.

While emissions have dropped slightly from last year, they remain far higher than is sustainable and nowhere near the rates needed to reach even the Queensland Government’s inadequate emissions reductions targets. 

Current annual emissions from Queensland’s 8 coal fired power stations in the 19/20 financial year was 43.26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, down from 46.72 million tonnes in 18/19. 

To meet a goal of zero net emissions by 2050, Australia’s total budget for emissions from 2017-2050 is restricted to 5.5 billion tonnes of Co2e. Queensland’s total emissions budget has been calculated at 1.2 billion tonnes

“If Queensland’s coal fired power stations keep operating at 2019 levels until their projected end dates, they are set to emit a staggering 800mt of Co2e into the Queensland environment” explains Queensland Conservation Council’s Director, Dave Copeman. “That’s 72% of Qld’s total remaining emissions budget allocated under the current inadequate plan.” 

The Queensland government owned corporations that run the six state owned coal fired power stations are together the second biggest Co2 emitters in Australia. Stanwell + CS Energy emit a whopping 30 million co2 emissions per year; only surpassed by AGL on 42 million. 

Of course, even if we do achieve zero net emissions by 2050, it will be too late to save the Great Barrier Reef. According to the experts at Climate Analytics, Queensland needs to stop burning coal by 2030 to have any chance of saving our most valuable asset – which is essential not only for marine ecosystems but also to our tourism industry.

If we were to close all the state’s coal fired power stations by 2030, instead of propping them up until their scheduled end of life, they will emit only a further 400mt Co2e.That’s half the emissions we can expect if we continue to throw money at them until they reach their scheduled closure dates. 

Replacing these coal fired power stations is the easiest and cheapest way to bring our emissions down. 

“Every fraction of a degree in global warming matters. Every 0.1 reduces the chance the reef survives, and increases risks of storms, floods, drought and fire” says Copeman. Energy is the easiest sector to take action on to achieve meaningful results for Queensland. Renewables are cheaper, greener and can produce all of Queensland’s energy needs."