Quarterly Essay 78: The Coal Curse - Resources, Climate and Australia’s Future

Judith Brett

Quarterly Essay 78: The Coal Curse - Resources, Climate and Australia's Future
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Quarterly Essay 78: The Coal Curse - Resources, Climate and Australia’s Future

Judith Brett

Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter, accounting for over a third of coal exports worldwide. In 2018, coal overtook iron ore as our most valuable export. Scott Morrison’s government has embraced coal, doubling down on supporting the industry, calling climate-based boycotts of coal companies “indulgent and selfish” and vowing to stop protestors.

But what does our increased reliance on coal mean for the nation? For the economy and the environment? And where will it leave us when the world stops buying it?

In this nuanced and insightful essay, Judith Brett looks at the consequences of Australia’s coal addiction, from stalled climate-change policy to tensions between farmers and miners. She assesses where to next for a fractious Coalition and the Quiet Australians.   

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