Unfortunately more wins for the climate change deniers. Last week the Liberal/National federal government got itself in an awful tizz about how best to make sure we meet our Paris climate change emission targets as Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s announcement that the government was considering introducing either a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme was swiftly contradicted by the Prime Minister (“Malcolm Turnbull scrambles to back away from any prospect of a carbon tax or ETS under Coalition” SMH 7 December). If that’s not bad enough, at the same time it and the Queensland government seemed hell-bent on increasing our greenhouse gas emissions by their Adani Carmichael mega coalmine approvals. Both these events will not only create difficulties with regards to meeting our agreed upon emissions targets, but at the same time they will increase our contribution to global warming and anthropomorphic induced climate change. Let’s look at the contribution of the Feds first. The Turnbull government has reportedly given “conditional approval” for a $1 billion loan of public money to build the railway for the Reef-destroying Adani Carmichael mega coal mine. “This is in the same year that coal-driven global warming caused the worst ever mass coral bleaching, killing 22% of the Great Barrier Reef, said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters. The assertion that ‘big coal’ has captured our politics seems to be ringing truer with every passing day. Now to the Queensland government. The $22-billion Carmichael coal and rail project has secured approval for a permanent rail line and a temporary construction camp. Queensland’s Coordinator-General has given “the latest, and final, secondary approval” for about 31.5 kilometres of permanent track, as well as the 300-bed camp. The rail section approved will form part of the 389 kilometre heavy haul railway line from the mine in the Galilee Basin to the Abbot Point port. The mine will consist of six open-cut pits and up to five underground mines, and will supply Indian power plants with enough coal to generate electricity for up to 100 million people. The controversial project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed of on land. News of the mine’s approval sparked protests in across Australia last week. In Melbourne alone more than 250 gathered at the rally, ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Adani. The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Paul Sinclair said the project could still be stopped. “Every day that we stop Adani digging that coal is a day this planet is free from its pollution,” he said. Let’s hope so. As I prepared this column I was wondering if things could get worse, when suddenly they did, with the news that President Elect Trump has appointed a very vocal climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a lawyer who in the past has attempted to destroy that very agency. Then last Friday came the news that at the COAG meeting PM Turnbull not only failed to support the call by the states for the Feds to back a uniform national emissions scheme, but also rejected the call by our Chief Scientist Professor Alan Finkel for Australia to adopt an Emissions Intensity Scheme. Things really are going from bad to worse.
by ray goodlass