Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum and Alcoa Mining have all been named in a list of Australia’s top 10 biggest climate polluters, released by the Australian Conservation Foundation yesterday.
The Australian Conservation Foundation’s President, Geoff Cousins, said that the ten companies that made the list were responsible for, “nearly on third of Australia’s greenhouse pollution.”
Companies operating coal-fired power plants were dominant on the list.
“The problem isn’t electricity, which is an essential service we all use, but the way most of our electricity is generated in Australia,” Mr Cousins said.
“Some of Australia’s coal-fired power plants are highly polluting, inefficient old rust buckets that are well past their use-by dates.
“Hazelwood in Victoria, AGL’s Lidell in NSW and Callide A in Queensland are all more than 40 years old. In fact Hazelwood, owned by GDF Suez, was once rated the dirtiest power station in the developed world.
Mr Cousins called for older coal-fired power plants to be phased out and replaced with renewable energy projects.
“The most polluting, out-dated coal plants should be retired and replaced with clean energy – data from the Energy Supply Association shows wind and solar projects already identified could provide a quarter of Australia’s forecast electricity demand by 2023-24.” he said.
Mr Cousins singled out coal as one of the sectors standing in the way of reducing climate pollution, calling for the renewable energy target to be brought back by the government.
“Instead of supporting clean energy in this country, the Abbott Government is trying to water down the renewable energy target. This will only serve to entrench big coal, limit jobs and investment in clean alternatives and will ultimately increase electricity prices,” Mr Cousins said.
“A 2014 report by ACF, the Climate Institute and WWF-Australia, based on modelling by Jacobs, showed weakening the RET would benefit the owners of polluting coal power plants, at the expense of households.”