While the Australian Industry Group says that ‘sanity has finally prevailed’ with the Queensland Labor government approving the final hurdle to the the Adani Carmichael coal mine and the recently formed Coal Council of Australia saying that there is ‘strong Asian demand for thermal coal in the region’ (BP’s annual report) this is at odds with overwhelming number of scientific reports that are calling for strong and immediate action on the unfolding climate crisis.
2019 has seen multiple reports spelling out the dangers of taking no action to combat the climate emergency including the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the United Nations who have called ‘on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues’.
Coal driving climate change
One of the key strategies for combating the climate crisis is leaving fossil fuels, including coal, in the ground and driving the development and deployment of the renewable energy sector.
Reflecting this countries across Europe are are phasing out fossil fuelled vehicles and the fact that ‘Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years’ was recently reported in the Los Angeles Times.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said approving the controversial Adani mine was a dangerous, ill-informed gamble and urged the state and federal government’s to prevent the project going ahead.
‘Any approvals surrounding this monster mine are made without heeding the advice of the world’s leading climate scientists. The proposed mine is nothing but a losing gamble with sky-high stakes and lousy odds,’ she said.
‘Queenslanders are very vulnerable to worsening extreme weather, particularly floods and extreme heat. Burning coal is driving climate change. The reality is that we cannot have both thermal coal mining and a safe climate. It is one or the other.’
McKenzie said approval for the mine disregarded scientific evidence highlighting the risks posed by the mine to local ecosystems, such as desert springs and the Great Barrier Reef, along with the livelihoods and well-being of Queenslanders.
This message has been reiterated from multiple sources including the Australian Marine Conservation Council (AMCS) that stated that the decision puts millions of corals and ocean wildlife on the state’s iconic Great Barrier Reef at risk.
Corrupted process is anti-science
Bob Brown, former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, has called the process that led to the approval of the mine ‘corrupted’.
‘Independent science shows Gautam Adani’s coal extraction will most likely lead to the death of the Doongmabulla Springs, sacred to the Wangan and Jagalingou people, but here are the powers-that-be giving it a tick. As they gave the impending extinction of the Black-throated Finch a tick two weeks ago,’ Brown said.
‘In both cases nature’s fate is sold to future studies which, when they confirm the worst, will not stop the mine.
‘Australia’s environmental processes are a farce and today’s anti-science decision shows it up. Overarching all this is the absence of an assessment of the impact that burning the Galilee Basin coal will have on Earth’s climate emergency – culpable behaviour by both the coalition and Labor in office.
‘This dereliction of government responsibility for preventing the most important environmental impacts of Gautam Adani’s coal exploitation in Australia parallels his (Gautam Adani) riding roughshod, with state and national government complicity, over Indigenous people’s rights, to clear forests for open-cut coal mining in India. Those Indian forests are also habitat for elephants, bears and leopards.’