Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: The power to stop Adani


Remember that scene in James Bond movies? 007 is in a small room filling up with water. His time is running out. The water keeps rising. The tension is unbearable. Bond is running out of options. That’s what I think of when I think of climate change and the increasing load of carbon going into our environment.

We’re up to our necks in carbon emissions but we’re still pumping in the fossil fuels. What does the future hold as far as 2050? 2100? Are you game to look? Leading climate scientists say that regardless of future emission trends, the CO2 footprint from our very brief passage on Earth will remain in the climate system, affecting all terrestrial life forms for ‘eternity’. I think that’s what the Christian god referred to as ‘Hell on Earth’.

Coal is to the planet what smoking is to the human body. We’ve got climate cancer. And like smoking, when it comes to coal, there aren’t any safe levels. Sorry, Mr Morrison, you might be able to bleach coral but you can’t clean coal. The majority of CO2 emitted from burning a single tonne of coal will be absorbed over centuries by oceans and vegetation but the remaining 25 per cent will still be affecting the climate in 1,000 years. So why are we still mining coal? The Australian government has given the go-ahead for Indian-owned Adani Carmichael Coal mega-mine located in the Galilee Basin, west of Rockhampton. This is set to be the biggest single coal province in the world.

At a time when we are supposed to be meeting the targets set by the Paris agreement, moving ahead with renewables, we’re opening the doors for foreign-owned companies to take our coal. Oh, and if they don’t use their coal they’re threatening to use a much dirtier source back home. It’s environmental extortion.

So all the Aussie coal goes to India. While bleating on about energy security it’s good to remember that none of that so-called energy stays here. It all leaves our shores via a railway line (Mr Turnbull looked under his mattress and found a cheeky $1 billion concessional loan to throw in as a sweetener) and straight out through Abbot Point. Which happens to be on the Great Barrier Reef, the coal port where already 200 million tonnes of coal are already transported every year.

The same reef, listed as one of the world’s natural wonders, that reported a climate-change-related coral bleaching last year that saw 22 per cent of the reef destroyed in just one event. For some reason, although national environment laws exist to protect air, water and wildlife those laws don’t recognise the impacts of greenhouse gases. The reef and tourism provide 534,000 jobs versus 57,800 jobs in mining throughout the entire region.

Mining has a finite lifespan. Reef-based tourism is perpetual. So who is there to protect our environment at a federal level? Why, Mr Josh Frydenberg. Hang on, isn’t he the minister for energy AND the environment? How can two such conflicting portfolios be fairly executed? That’s like being minister for smoking and health. Or gambling and finances. That’s like being the same lawyer who represents the rapist and the victim. The paedophile and the child. That’s called government. It’s supposed to represent the people but we all know it mainly represents people IN corporations. More precisely, people in power.

The world has a heroin-like dependence on fossil fuels. We can’t imagine life without our energy dealers. We’re hooked into ‘the grid’. We’re not just co-dependent, we’re coal-dependent. To move towards renewables isn’t just about changing power supply, it’s about changing mindset. We need to be responsible for the generation and consumption of our own power. We don’t need to be hooked up to ‘the man’. Moving away from fossil fuels is the ultimate test for capitalism and democracy, proving really that the two can no longer co-exist. Energy efficiency and self-reliance on renewable systems such as solar and wind move away from big corporate models of dependence and localise energy in the same way activists have talked about localising food and production. It’s the only way forward.

The Adani mine is a line in the sand when it comes to climate change. It needs to stop. Headed up by Australia, and in collaboration with Australian Conservation Foundation, and The Seed Indigenous Network, the Stop the Adani Mine Roadshow will be raising awareness and pressuring government to revoke their approval. Starting in Townsville at James Cook University on 27 March, Brisbane City Hall on 28 March, Seymour Theatre in Sydney on Wednesday 29, National Convention Centre in Canberra on 30 March and Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on 31 March. Please attend an event closest to you.

For more information go to because at the end of the day, when it comes to climate change, we have the power.

7 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: The power to stop Adani”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Remember that scene in James Bond movies when 007 is in a small room and water rushes in and begins to fill the room. His time is running out as the water is running in. You take a deep breath as the tension is terrible and you find you have torn your chip packet in half. Remember that, just when you want fries with that?

  2. “Coral not coal” is very fuzzy thinking. For a start, coal-fired power stations were the key factor in producing the standard of living we all enjoy in Australia today. Also helping in a big way was the Snowy River hydro scheme, which provided not only electricity, but water for farmers to grow rice and other crops during dry periods. People forget these basic economic issues.
    To say coal is a direct threat to coral because coal burning is producing global warming is mostly theoretical and a serious stretch. How many petrol/diesel/kerosene-burning engines are operating each day on planet earth? I don’t know but the numbers would no doubt be staggering – all those engines sucking in air and blowing out pollutants. Strangely enough, planet earth seems to be able to supply air in never-ending quantities. Who knows the exact physics of that? But of course we also have volcanoes expelling pollutants by the hundreds/thousands/millions (?) of tonnes daily/weekly. And how much CO2 do animals and human beings exhale daily? If you’re scared by that, stop breathing!
    To run Australia on solar/wind will mean people will have to go back to firewood because electricity will be too damned expensive. Look at South Australia who shut down their coal-fired stations. Big blackouts affecting 90,000 homes and businesses. Oh, I couldn’t work today because the cafe had no power! This is the reality of so-called renewable/sustainable energy.
    If you want power for your PCs, phones, ovens, electric cars, amps and speakers, TVs etc, etc but hate coal, then you’d better start pushing for nuclear power – which BTW is vastly improved as far as safety and efficiency is concerned. Coal has “energy flux density” hundreds of times more than wind/solar, but n-power is even more without the emissions if you think that’s an issue. There’s a very well informed website on this matter of energy density and why it matters. See the supplied link.

  3. You don’t need to wait till 2050, it is happening NOW! Individual, group, community, region and government responses to this climate emergency are URGENT. We need Action Now!

  4. Alfredo Bonanno says:

    In replay to Bremt Melville, in the 70’s pollution was a big issue, emissions from vehicles and industries was chocking people living in cities and smearing with black shoot everything in its path and deep inside in houses and all over gardens. There was a massive outcry to clean the air from pollutants and to some degrees the politicians had to listen and remedy by raising the bar on pollution monitoring and minimisation.
    Today there are ways to produce electricity through renewable energy systems, their impact on the environment is extremely far less than conventional power generating sources like oil, coal and unconventional gas (produced through fracking). This is also referred to as carbon footprint and undoubtly fossil fuels footprint is way far above the renewable energy sources lot.
    Humanity needs to make the transition from one energy system to the other as a matter of priority not only to minimise pollution but also because the impact it creates on the environment. Fossil fuels industries have also a high financial cost, they wouldn’t be profitable enough without financial prop ups from Governments and ultimately by tax payers.
    If the transition from one old energy source to the new emerging one is not act upon you may have the renewable energy sector moving very slowly towards research and development of more efficient and cost effective technologies. As it is now you can have entire houses, villages and some businesses operating without being dependent from fossil fuels power generators, it can only get better if enough money are thrown into R&D. Fossil fuels and nuclear power stations are the options we had in the past, today and tomorrow we can have much cleaner power generating sources, a better look after environment and a cleaner consciousness towards the legacy we leave for all the new upcoming generations.

  5. Willaim says:

    In the Space Station Co2 levels are set to alarm at between 5000 and 10000 ppm. The earth is currently 400 ppm and the world is better for it. Co2 is plant food not poison. Has it ever crossed your mind that the increased food production levels throughout the world and the earth greening is due to Co2?.
    While you are at it you may also care to explain why Co2 levels increase AFTER any warming.
    You do know that Ivanpah, perhaps the largest solar plant in the world has failed after only producing “65%” of its predicted output. The cost of power from it = $180/MwH, Gas at $60/MwH. This is despite subsidies of $1.6 BILLION and owners are now begging the US Govt for a loan. And the major effect of solar/wind farms is to kill 1.5 million birds and bats every year.
    Yes, stop coal. Yes, let Pensioners huddle over their miserable kerosene heaters. Yes , let the residents of SA, Qld and Vic huddle in their dark, powerless and cheerless nights, Yes,let the natives of lesser developed countries freeze or roast. Yes, let the hungry villager wife in India cook her families meal using dried cow shit.
    Yes to it all. Anything that lets your vicious self righteous conscience proclaim to all, “I am holier than thou”.

    • Why not – calm it or lose it! Maybe think and learn a little more. 1/ For ‘a clean powered future’ contact
      Amanda McKenzie (Climate Council CEO). Or – 2/ ‘ to stop Adani getting their hands on
      the reef.’ Else – 3/ AMCS, The Australian Conservation Society’s Darren Kindeylsides [Director].
      Cheers, Stefanie Bennett

  6. Brisbane Bern says:

    HI William, have you ever go out of the house!
    Solar, wind are taking over, it is where the money is being invested. Ivanpah did cost and was not successful in the first two years but is now operating and meeting its contractual supply obligations. Try this site for other countries now investing in CSP.

    You are happy are to worry about energy supply to society but care not about the deaths from PM2.5 particles discharged from smoke stacks. Have you looked at the deaths attributed to coal pollution? China has and consequently closed 105 coal plants. Vietnam has and subsequently been forced to relocate 1,500 farming families.

    Read this link to understand why Carmichael is bad for every person and every living organism.

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Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

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