Adani gets support and cash to pollute

During the election campaign, Turnbull promised that no cash would be offered. So much for that.

Adani also wants to be given access to the $5 billion North Galilee Basin Rail Project, to get his coal to the coast at Abbot Point. Preliminary approval was given last week.

Gautam Adani will then head off later today for Queensland and he is scheduled to join the state’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, in Townsville tomorrow. Her government has already given Adani the go ahead.

Environmental groups are outraged that the construction of what is being called Australia’s biggest coal mine has been given this support at the federal and state levels. They argue that it will  raise Australia’s carbon emissions contribution substantially , at a time when, there is an international obligation to reduce them.

By giving its support, the federal and state governments are stepping further out of line with the other nations. Australia has already built a reputation as a bad global citizen in this respect. Far more important than this is that even if there was only the remotest possibility of catastrophic climate warming, this should be enough to generate serious caution. Far better to play it safe than end up in a disaster.

Just last week, the Australian government sent in a progress report to Unesco on its conservation plan to save the Great Barrier Reef, which has lost 22 percent of its corral this year. The operation of the Carmichael mine will put the reef at greater stress and therefore undermine any plan for its protection. The Great Barrier Reef is listed as a World Heritage site.

Tim Buckley, analyst at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said Australian taxpayers should not give “subsidies to foreign billionaires,” and added that “If you were to provide a billion dollars for solar projects across Australia you would probably create 3000 jobs.”

Growing the coal industry does not make economic sense for Australia. The hard reality is that this is a dying industry. The future is new technologies and new energy sources that will not be carbon fuel dependent. The transformation may not occur overnight, but human knowledge and capability is already at a point where the inefficiency, as well as the unsustainability of carbon based energy is questionable. We have the capability to move on.

By not moving with the times, Australia seriously risks being locked into an antiquated economy and being left well behind other comparable countries. This means becoming less competitive. Industries will suffer and jobs will be lost. We have already seen that over dependence on mining has impeded the Australian economy from developing other industries.  With the expansion of the coal industry, represented by the Carmichael mine, the failure will continue.

Resources should be invested in the future, through  investment in the development of alternative energy generation and new technologies to moved Australia forward. Through their efforts to keep Australia locked into coal, Australia’s politicians are letting us down.

The effort to stop the Carmichael mine is far from over.

When Adani meets with Queensland Premier Palaszczuk in Townsville tomorrow, opponents will have already gathered at the Tobruk Memorial Baths in The Strand, from 8 in the morning.

The Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters said a federal government decision to fund the Galilee project was “condemning the reef to worse bleaching and jeopardising the 70,000 jobs it provides”.

Waters criticised the state government for “creating loopholes for Adani and fast-tracking this disastrous project”.

“[With] the federal Liberal-Nationals moving to pour in public money, it’s clearer than ever that big corporations call the shots, not ordinary Australians,” she said.

“Big coal has captured our politics, but we will fight them every step of the way.”

The Greenpeace Australia Pacific reef campaigner Shani Tager said public funding was “a train wreck of an idea and it must be stopped”.

“While the world is moving away from coal, the federal government is looking at funding a project that some of the biggest banks in the world won’t go near and the Queensland Treasury has called unbankable,” she said.

“It’s absurd to prop up a project that banks won’t touch.

No more taxpayer money should be wasted on coal projects that threaten our Great Barrier Reef.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the loan would be “a serious misuse of public money”, claiming Adani had “a mining licence but no social licence”.

She said if Adani was unable to ultimately fund the mine, “Australia will be left with a railway to nowhere and an unpaid billion-dollar loan”.

“The NAIF board must release the assessment documents that show how it has determined the environmental and social benefits of this project,” she said.

Waters said there were “clean energy alternatives to this climate-wrecking disaster” that could boost Queensland regional communities hard hit by the crash of the mining boom.

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