Focus on Economy Before Climate Deal, Glencore Urges Australia – by Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – August 2, 2017)

Australia may need to consider delaying its goals to combat global climate change in order to prioritize energy security and economic prosperity, according to a senior executive at Glencore Plc.

The country’s emerging energy crisis, in conjunction with government-imposed clean-energy targets, has undermined investor confidence and may force businesses to shut or move offshore, the commodity giant’s global coal head, Peter Freyberg, said in a speech Wednesday in Sydney.

“If that means Australia needs to consider a possible delay in meeting its emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement in order to prioritize energy security and economic prosperity, then its worthy of further discussion,” he said, adding that Swiss-based Glencore has invested $20 billion in its Australian assets and last year contributed more than $12 billion to the economy.

Australia, one of the world’s biggest coal and natural gas exporters, was among more than 150 signatories to the November deal in Paris, aimed at lowering carbon dioxide emissions to limit a rise in global temperatures. Meanwhile, rising power and gas prices in the past year, as well as occasional blackouts, have put the nation’s energy security under scrutiny, a situation Freyberg said stemmed from “a decade of poorly designed and uncoordinated energy policy.”

“Renewable energy has a role to play in Australia’s energy mix, but not at any cost and not at the expense of grid stability, reliability or other energy options,” he said in his speech.

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