The Greens want Australians to start treating coal like asbestos, with the minor party announcing its policy to make the energy resource illegal.
Greens MP Adam Bandt outlined the policy on Friday in Hobart, which makes it illegal to dig, burn or ship thermal coal from 2030.
Individuals and corporations could face up to seven years’ jail for using thermal coal after that date, the Greens propose.
‘After a transition period to allow us to switch to renewables, it will become a crime to use coal, because coal kills,’ Mr Bandt said.
‘I want to encourage those who will express concerns about the future of coal mining that they need to face the reality of where the world is going.
‘Thermal coal is on the way out anyway. Our approach offers a structured, planning phase out rather than the chaos of the market.’
The policy puts in place an annual quota for coal exports, which will decline each year until it reaches zero after 2030.
This is paired with the auctioning of annual coal export permits, to fund the transition for coal industries and workers to adjust.
The Greens also want to establish a new clean energy export industry, which would ship hydrogen to Asia.
The Melbourne MP cited a recent global climate report that highlighted the environmental risks faced if the world doesn’t stop burning coal by 2050.
A boom in renewables would help fill the revenue void that will occur for state and federal governments as industry shifts away from coal, Mr Bandt added.