Coal jobs would disappear entirely in NSW within 20 years if international demand shrinks, according to one of three scenarios about the future of the industry prepared for the government by the state’s Treasury Department.
The other two scenarios predict that coal jobs will decline from the current level of about 22,000 to just over 5000 by 2047, or, in the most optimistic case, about 10,000 in 2047.
In the worst-case scenario the last coal job in NSW disappears about 2041, according to the research paper prepared to support the government’s five-yearly intergenerational report.
The NSW coal industry is heavily reliant on exports of thermal coal and recently its top three markets – Japan, South Korea and China – all announced their commitment to net zero emissions either in 2050 or 2060 in the case of China.
“This does not necessarily mean that no coal will be used in the future – new coal generators continue to be built and net zero policies allow for offsets. Nonetheless, future coal production is now expected to be considerably weaker than was forecast for the 2016 intergenerational report,” the paper says.
[Nick O’Malley and Matt Wade]