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New Coal Mines in the Australian Galilee Basin Are Not Economically Viable and Are Prone to Become Stranded Assets

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Christian Hauenstein, Franziska Holz, Lennart Rathje, Thomas Mitterecker

In: One Earth 6 (2023), 8, S. 990-1004


To limit the effects of climate change, we must significantly curtail the trading and use of coal as an energy source. Although the rise of renewable energy sources has already led to a reduction in the demand for and use of coal, new export-oriented coal mine projects are still being approved, and they often receive strong political support. However, whether these projects are economically viable remains questionable. Here, we leverage one of the largest new coal export projects in the world, the Carmichael project by Adani in the Galilee Basin, Australia, to assess the prospects of investments in coal exports. We use the COALMOD-World model in three scenarios with weak/moderate/strong climate policy ambitions. We find that new coal mines in the Galilee Basin and globally are not economically viable and are prone to become stranded assets due to climate policy and the increasing role of renewables, even in Asia, where the highest coal-demand growth exists. Our findings illustrate the irrational motivations for new coal mines, calling for a cease on coal investments that deliver neither climate nor economic benefits.

Franziska Holz

Deputy Head of Department in the Energy, Transportation, Environment Department

Keywords: Coal, investments, international coal trade, stranded assets, numerical modeling, scenarios, Galilee Basin, Australia, Asia

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