Though coal is not generally classified as a dangerous good, it is still categorized as a hazardous good because of its ability to self-heat, emit flammable gases and corrode. Hence, the transport of this commodity also needs a careful stance.
In relation to the coal’s ability of emitting flammable gases, Australia has been on the hot seat for a while due to its coal power stations emitting vast greenhouse gases that highly contribute to the Earth’s warming climate.
The United Nations climate experts have already warned Australia to give up its coal habit, and switch to cleaner sources. According to the summary report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the greenhouse gas emissions are already reaching the point of 800,000 or more per year.
And now, the planet becomes warmer because of the high emissions of greenhouse gases resulting to an increase incidence of drought, species extinction, flood and rising seas. The report also concludes that a cleaner source of fuel has also the capacity to provide increased energy efficiency that would still be a lot cheaper than dealing with the expensive cost of climate change.
Despite the warning of the UN climate experts, Environment Minister Greg Hunt believes that Australia need not to entirely give up its coal power stations – that it can be cleaned to reduce its dire effects to the environment, as well as the people. According to Chief Executive Amanda McKenzie, it would also be ill-advised to prioritise one industry at the expense of the collective health, economy and way of life.
Though Hunt believes that coal power stations only need a clean-up, he also agrees with the federal government’s direct action plan. Hunt told ABC Radio that CSIRO aims to a 30 to 50 percent reduction of coal fire power stations. One scheme of the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to provide financial incentives among the big polluters of the environment to voluntarily make steps to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions.
Christine Milne, the Australian Greens Leader, told that fossil fuel reserves should stay where they are – in the ground, in order to prevent the catastrophic changes brought about by the warming climate. She also emphasized that Prime Minister Abbott could no longer plead ignorance about the current issue.
Spokesman Stephen Galilee told ABC Radio that innovation and technology could play an important role in the reduction of the coal industry’s impact on the environment. However, he reminded the public that cutting the fossil fuel industry immediately even on a short term period could reflect unfavorable social and economic impacts to Australia.