November 25, 2021

Editorial

Commentary

Coal plants closing faster than expected

James Ha and Alison Reeves of the Grattan Institute  write how we can phase out coal, keep the lights on and slash emissions at low cost. The international climate summit in Glasgow aimed to “consign coal power to history”. But while some major coal-consuming countries have agreed to phase out the fossil fuel in the 2030s, Australia is not one of them.

Under its recently released plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the federal government modelled a scenario where the electricity sector still burns coal in 2050 – but only a very small amount.

Despite the federal government’s insistence on keeping coal alive,the states are making progress phasing it out. But a messy, state-by-state approach is almost certainly a higher-cost outcome for consumers than ifAustralia had a credible, enduring climate and energy policy at the nationa llevel.

As recent Grattan Institute analysis finds,if the phase out of coal is managed well, we can keep the lights on and slash emissions at low cost.

Go for net zero: A practical plan for reliable, affordable, low-emissions electricity (grattan.edu.au)