By Matthew Wright
Coal’s days are numbered.
The transition to renewable energy is now well underway. It will put an end to the adverse health impacts coal mining and combustion now has on the health of Australian families such as those in the Hunter Valley. The increased rates of asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular illness that affect thousands will be a thing of the past.
In terms on climate change, the shift to renewables will do more for reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions than the carbon price championed by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and the Labor government.
For a city like Newcastle, whose development is historically linked to the coal industry, the beneficiaries of business-as-usual will no doubt present the decline of coal as a threat.
The truth of the matter is that the rise of renewable energy is an economic opportunity the likes of which we’d be foolish to miss. The Pew Charitable Trust values the economic opportunity at up to $2.3 trillion over the next decade.
New investment, new jobs, and new export industries are all there for the taking. But securing these benefits for Newcastle and Australia will require political leadership today.