Fresh Warnings On Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine

Galilee Basin Coal - Australia

Coal Is A Risky Business

The Climate Council and Oxfam have again warned that the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin represents a major conflict with Australia’s commitment to addressing climate change.

“To protect Australia from worsening climate change, such as more frequent and intense extreme weather events such as heatwaves, bushfires and floods, the burning of coal must be rapidly phased out,” said Climate Councillor and climate scientist Professor Will Steffen.

“There’s no room for exceptions here – including the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine,” he said.

A report released last week by the Council states for a 75% chance of the planet staying within a 2°C warming limit, more than 90% of the world’s coal reserves must be left untouched, and 97% of Australia’s coal reserves must stay in the ground, unburned.

Given the greatly constrained carbon budget the world faces and the plummeting cost of renewables, it says the Carmichael mine is also a risky financial investment and promises of economic benefit have been exaggerated.

Between 2009 and 2015, the prices of wind turbines dropped 30-40% and the cost of solar panels fell by 80% – with further major reductions likely over the coming years.

India has cancelled plans to construct 13.7 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations just this month due to solar energy becoming increasingly competitive on cost. (However, the recent announcement of a tax on solar modules may cause significant disruption to the country’s PV industry).

Many banks have shied away from Adani’s controversial project. The Council says fourteen major banks will not fund the Carmichael mine based on its economic viability prospects and environmental impact.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie says the Adani Carmichael coal mine puts the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s agriculture industry at risk.

“We can have coal mining or we can have a healthy reef – we can’t have both,” stated Ms. McKenzie.

“Australia cannot afford to risk this critical multi-billion dollar tourism asset on another polluting, out-dated and unsustainable energy source, when a clear alternative is ready and waiting.”

Ms. McKenzie urged governments to instead funnel more investment into renewables and energy storage technology.

The Climate Council report, Risky Business: Health, Climate and Economic Risks of the Carmichael Coal Mine can be downloaded here (PDF).

More Coal = More Poverty : Oxfam

In related news, Oxfam has just published a report stating that continuing to pursue coal will reinforce poverty through the associated impacts of climate change and humanitarian disasters, increasing hunger, along with deaths and disease caused by pollution

“New coal mines in Australia must be banned – starting with the contentious Adani proposal – as part of a genuine effort to tackle poverty, combat climate change and secure energy for all,” states Oxfam.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said Australia must stop clinging to technologies of the past.

“It means rapidly phasing out coal from our own electricity supply and increasing support for renewable energy in developing countries.”

Coal fired power generation can’t bring reliable and affordable electricity to many communities around the world as they are too far from the mains grid – but wind and solar power can.

Oxfam’s new report, More Coal Equals More Poverty, can be viewed here (PDF)

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Good read. Yes, I agree with what the Climate Councillor had said, “To protect Australia from worsening climate change, such as more frequent and intense extreme weather events such as heatwaves, bushfires and floods, the burning of coal must be rapidly phased out,”

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