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Byron Shire
May 30, 2024

Two fossil fools tell coal’s future

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Phillip Frazer

Two of our nation’s top climate-change deniers, speaking immediately after the coalition’s election victory, unwittingly revealed why Australia’s coal reserves are doomed to remain largely in the ground.

First came former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, cheeks reddened as ever by hubris, declaring that Labor and the Greens lost because ‘people are talking about their power prices, they want to know how they can get dignity in their lives… by being able to turn on the toaster.’

He has a point, this man so firmly rusted-on to the here-and-now, but he misses the bigger picture; that when the planet’s burning up it’s not enough to worry about the toaster.

Then came former prime minister Tony Abbott, facial skin taught as ever on account of raw onions and fury at losing his seat.

‘Where climate change is a moral issue,’ Tony declared, ‘we Liberals do it tough, but where climate change is an economic issue … we do very, very well.’

Tony misses the point that leaving burning fossil fuels alone and harvesting energy from more accessible bits of the environment is the better economic option. It’s interesting that he thinks of saving the planet (and therefore our species) as a moral issue, as if survival were an option dependent on virtue, an indulgence really, not something a tough guy like him would give a fuck about.

Meanwhile, I saw last week that the largest solar farm in Queensland has been built by Sun Metals (a subsidiary of Korea Zinc) to supply a third of the power required by their new refinery near Townsville.

Reneweconomy editor Giles Parkinson points out that this is the most recent entry on the growing list of corporations building their own solar plants to power their Australian operations, including Telstra, Westpac, and Mars Australia, whose six factories will be powered by a solar farm in Victoria.

More than enough

Enough solar energy blasts our continent every day to power our species’ entire industry.

Also last week The Australian ran a story headlined ‘Adani downsizes, cuts new job numbers’, which explained that ‘The workforce at Indian mining conglomerate Adani’s mine in jobs-starved central Queensland could be as low as 800 once the Carmichael facility is operational,’ adding that ‘this contentious project… was spruiked in 2010 as one of the world’s largest mega-mines, requiring a $16.5 billion investment, yielding 60 million tonnes of coal a year, and creating up to 4,000 jobs in construction and 5,000 operationally.

‘Last year, the company said it would self-finance the project, and dramatically scaled back its plans, promising a shorter 200km rail line, a smaller $2bn mine, and an annual yield of 10 million tonnes.’


Nice of the Murdochians to be upfront about this doomed coal mine, just after its false promises were used to win crucial coalition votes from those ‘job-starved’ Queenslanders. During the election, Mike Seccombe reports in The Saturday Paper, mining leech Clive Palmer boosted the Adani mine without dwelling on the fact that his own Waratah Coal company ‘has open-cut and underground mines covering an area of 144,000 hectares, and would produce about 33 per cent more coal than the Adani mine.’

The fortunes of Adani and Palmer are linked: Adani’s rail line would facilitate Palmer’s mine, and potentially others, getting coal to port.

A third lease in that Galilee Basin region, operated by a coal-extraction outfit called MacMines, pulled up stakes and went home to China last month because the Chinese Capitalist Party central committee appears to have realised that burning thermal coal to generate electricity is no longer a good idea.

It’s a pity that the powerful Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union stands with the government on Adani, apparently on the Abbott principle that tens of thousands of jobs (now downsized to 800) trump the ‘moral’ issue of facing up to transforming the planetary eco-system by over-heating the oceans and the atmosphere, melting the ice caps, and scorching the earth – leaving our children and their children to sort that later on.

So here we all are, a bunch of frogs in a great big pot of water that is slowly but steadily heating towards boiling point, and the bloated fossil fool frogs – think a grinning Scott Morrison face here – are telling us ‘No, the climate isn’t changing, it’s just, you know, weather.’

For the rest of us little frogs in the big warming pot, our fate depends on whether the big decisions continue to be made by business brains or by those of us who can see, hear, and feel what’s going on, informed by the hordes of scientists whose smoke alarms are, incredibly, failing to wake us all up.

♦ Phillip Frazer posts possibly too many alarms at coorabellridge.com.

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  1. Hey, I’m a little frog keeping an eye
    on the current ‘go’ that’s mostly all
    woe because ScoMo wants… a
    people-change he’ll accommodate.
    Johnnie Cash knew better. Who’d
    knowingly step into “a ring of fire”.

  2. Congratulations to Adani. We welcome many decades of a mutually beneficial relationship. Exports Jobs providing the world with the highest quality energy.
    Well done??

  3. Seriously we have 22 operating coal mines in Australia . China have 1200 and counting, India 270 and counting, we are not the problem, yet all the propaganda suggests we are, it dos not matter if you agree with the mine going ahead of not …i dont for the record .. only on the grounds of the usage of our most precious resource on earth WATER …not all this bullshit the activists carry on about whilst connected to coal in some way in the every day life they lead….if you all are serious , and passionate, and stay true to your beliefs , then eliminate everything in your lifes that is connected to coal , entirely…”practice what you are preaching ” have had many robust debates regarding this Global Warming hysteria…even the most hardened believers of Global Warming and suggested as ABOVE ..to all and not one of them could seriously commit to it …because they have become accustomed to the very lifestyles they have , and the disruption of ditching the car alone would only be one of the privilege’s they would have to let go .this would only be the start of the elimination process regarding the coal connection….all this propaganda..want some credible proof regarding Global Warming..and iam ALL IN … not some polar bear that was looking worse for wear ..OLD AGE and blamed it on Global Warming..which was proven to be a hoax, etc etc …Tim Flannery’s predictions? Al Gores Predictions? Please can ANYONE give me ONE example , of a scientist lets say in the past 50 years that has had a prediction come true regarding Global Warming ? Some of the coldest temperatures in some states in Australia in the month of May on Record!! North America some of the coldest temperatures since Records began..now dos this form part of Global Warming as well ? PLEASE !!

  4. One has to wonder why Sun Metals didn’t make their solar farm two-thirds larger and provide ALL of the energy required for their new refinery.

  5. It’s funny just what gets published these days as comedy.
    The funny parts of parliament are the factual parts.
    Coal has been in the ground for hundreds of millions of years.
    The funny part is that White man comes along after being here for 230 years and then say they own it.
    They also stole the land from the Aborigines.

  6. Well written sir.
    However, you seem to have inadvertently overlooked the Federal Labor party’s two-faced cowardice regarding Adani during the election campaign. And the Qld Labor government’s abject surrender to the LNP climate criminals immediately following the Federal election.
    We all know that the COALition will sacrifice the future of all life on Earth for the profits of their corporate owners. Now the truth that needs to be hammered home is that Labor at State and Federal level is not an alternative to the LNP. Labor is just as corrupt and just as corporate-owned as the other mongrels.
    So basically, if we keep electing either of the two old fossil parties to govern us, we ARE f*&%$g dead.

  7. Psychology appears to be the main problem.
    With AIDS, we had the Grim Reaper ads which seemed to get traction.
    The problem with Climate Change, is that people are not dying a horrid death, yet..
    The religious have always had god looking after them, so why would that change?
    Those that don’t believe climate change science is real, believe instead, that science will think of something. They always do..!!
    Maybe we need to have ads depicting all our grandchildren in 50 years time, frying in searing heat with no food, no water, no economy because everyone is trying to find something to eat and drink in an agricultural world of burned dead DNA ecologies.
    But would the LNP government fund such ads? Ha..

    And yet, we voted for them. Again.. What The F..k !!

    Is it all too late?

    At least we as individuals can reduce consumption. A bit.
    But do we ? Will we?

  8. Disgrace how lib/ Nats manipulated misdirected and deceived in total unaccountability that people needed the dignity of toasters etc. when it is their government that caused the electricity price gouging by sell off off state assets and then backing corporate electricity increases adding to costs of living blowing out of proportion.
    Australia is now in a GFC economic level and still Morrison isn’t responsible / how wonderful picking up a fat 500k paycheck from the public and giving himself an 11k payrise when most Australians are sinking in sky rocking gov forced costs and off setting gov costs onto the public that taxes were meant to pay. War on poverty great leaders used to do but liberal scomo is busy terrorizing the people and using gov instruments Ombo to back and support gov crimes and corpwelfare against their obligations to help public interests.

  9. PS. Frogs were once tadpoles… right? Kermit
    & Kermit-esses on this side of the pond can &
    will ‘out croak’ the power toadies soon enough.
    Sing ‘the rainbow connection’ each time we
    need a royal commission & change will occur.
    The young ‘taddies’ won’t let us down & the
    angered nothing-left-to-lose aged in their
    burrows will be a force to be reckoned with.

  10. All light-heartedness aside the ‘situation is grim’
    & many of us are frothing at the mouth. We do
    know the Abbot [born with a chip-board brain]
    & his offsiders – the Construction Forestry
    Maritime Mining Energy Union [try saying that
    backwards 10 times] are a pain & a part of a
    party’s first part… so what’s left to be done.
    Join forces with reliable groups. Harass the
    hell out of politicians [Yes, all of ’em] every
    chance you get. Hook up with a rally on
    Climate Crises. You know the drill. Stop
    Palmer & Adani. Support Lock The Gate.
    Protest – without violence. Calm down.


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