You are both right - but from different perspectives. The mining industry is not a monolith that speaks with one voice. We see coal vs gas fights, we see minerals saying vaguely sensible things about climate change that coal will not say. The position on climate change in this country is, at least in public, not as extreme as some others. We don’t have a Fox News giving lots of air time to deniers but still they exist. We entertain Lord Monkton and similar fools.
The coal industry has various speakers, in NSW the main one is the Minerals Council. Long ago they decided that being openly anti climate change is a PR battle they didn’t want to have. So we had them spruiking “clean coal” instead. They actually spent some money on it too. But it never went anywhere, they were never serious about spending the big bucks in this country because they worked out early that the costs are huge. I haven’t checked in a while but I think the last gasp from them was to put the rest of the cash their members had put in for the purpose towards PR not actually doing something. They still have much anti CC material available and I can’t find any broad policy statement re CC.
Compare this with the national Minerals Council who have a policy statement acknowledging CC. It has two bob each way in many respects but takes quite a different position compared to NSW.
You will also see that the nation’s leaders (I use that word carelessly I know) rarely come out directly as anti CC. They are much more likely to speak in code by waffling about risks to power supply unless coal goes on into the future. Mr Abbott has had more positions on this that the Karma Sutra but the last I heard he would not say in public climate change isn’t happening.
Have a look at the list of priority issues from the Nationals:
Building a strong 21st Century economy
Tackling crime and the scourge of drugs
Reducing cost of living pressures
Creating jobs for the future
Improving health care
Giving students a world-class education
Building better local roads
Investing in public transport
Backing Small Business and enterprise
A sustainable environment
Supporting seniors and Aged Care
Investing in innovation and science
Securing Australia’s borders
Affordable and reliable energy
Aside from the ‘motherhood and apple pie’ nature of most of it, do you notice anything missing?
As for building any new coal fired power stations I bet it never happens in this country. The private sector will never fund it as the sums don’t add up. The coalition won’t do it for fear of an electoral backlash. That doesn’t mean there is no lobby trying to postpone the death of thermal coal for as long as possible. It doesn’t mean they haven’t muddied the waters well and truly over the last 15 years trying to stall any action.