On June 4th, 2021, Australian civil society groups The Australia Institute and Australian Conservation Foundation, together with Japanese climate NGO Kiko Network, released a new report that shines a light on the costs of Japan’s reliance on Australian coal.
Examining the damage caused by coal mining in Australia and coal consumption in Japan, the report highlights the impacts on climate, human health, ecosystems and wildlife habitats as a result of Japan’s use of Australian coal.
- More than 60% of the coal that Japan burns is imported from Australia. Australian coal burned in Japan emits around 490 million tonnes of greenhouse gas per year.
- Japan is Australia’s biggest consumer of coal, and coal demand from Japan is a key factor in the expansion of Australia’s coal export industry and coal mines.
- The operation and expansion of Australian coal mines has severely impacted Australia’s critically endangered animal species and damaged their habitats, such as the Great Barrier Reef, forests (including koala habitats), and rivers.
- Australian communities – especially First Nations, rural communities, and farms – have also seen major impacts from Australia’s mining and exporting of coal.
- The health of Japanese people is also threatened by the coal trade; burning Australian coal worsens the air quality of Japan’s cities, and it is estimated that at least 60,000 premature deaths occur from air pollution in Japan every year.
- Japanese companies own stakes in many coal mines in Australia, including some of the most controversial mines in the country.
The report also examines the Australian coal industry and its opposition, and points out that Australian coal exports can be phased out without major disruption to economies or energy systems. Likewise, Japanese coal consumption can be reduced to zero by 2030, with clean, affordable renewable energy taking its place. Accomplishing this will prevent climate change, protect Australian biodiversity and water resources, and improve air quality and human health in both Japan and Australia.
＊ Kiko Network held a webinar to announce this new report on June 4, 2021. Presentation materials are available at this link.
Download the report:
“Out of sight, out of mind: Impacts of Japanese use of Australian Coal”（PDF）
Written / published by: The Australia Institute, Australian Conservation Foundation, Kiko Network
Published: June 4, 2021