Industry pledges $1b for ‘clean coal’


Clean coal ... Greens say Australia should be investing in renewable energy sources.

Clean coal … Greens say Australia should be investing in renewable energy sources. (Reuters)

Australian coal companies have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in further funding over the next decade into research for combating climate change.

Australian Coal Association executive director Mark O’Neill says the $300 million COAL21 fund announced last year would now be expanded to $1 billion.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday criticised the coal industry for not committing $300 million to the ZeroGen clean coal project at Stanwell, and threatened to increase the coal royalty.

But the industry now says it will commit that amount to a clean coal project in Queensland.

The Queensland Resources Council says the $1 billion commitment to clean coal development has raised the bar for other industries to follow.

Head of the Resources Council, Michael Roche, says the coal industry does recognise their product generates greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is the coal producers demonstrating their commitment to being part of the solutions for climate change," he said.

"What better way then… to extend their existing fund to something which over 10 years is going to raise $1 billion to be pumped into clean coal technology development?"

But Greens Senator Kerry Nettle says Australia should be investing in renewable energy sources.

"Clean coal technology is a dangerous pipedream, we should be putting money into renewable energy that we know works and that can work right now," she said.

"Rather than putting money away for a technology that we don’t know that it works and it won’t be able to, if it does work, help until many decades away."

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