Greenlighting Adani While QLD Burns Is Like Pouring Kerosine On A Bonfire
On Thursday afternoon, Queensland firefighters were battling an extraordinary 130 blazes across the state.
After fighting those fires, including defending the town of Gracemere for 48 consecutive hours, 15 of those firefighters were reportedly being treated for severe heat stress. About the same time, Adani announced it was planning to go ahead with its mega-coal mine, albeit a scaled-down version, to the west in the Galilee Basin.
As Queensland burns, this foreign multinational decided it was appropriate to announce it would break ground on its mine, this time before Christmas.
Opening a new coal mine while Queensland burns is like adding kerosene to a bonfire.
If you’re wondering about the link between extreme heat, bushfires and climate change, I was just in Queensland in September presenting new Australia Institute HeatWatch research about the rise in extreme heat, alongside Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
Our analysis of CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology data shows that days over 35 degrees in Rockhampton (just south of the bushfires) will increase by six times by 2070. Global warming will increase the frequency and harshness of extreme heat events and, without ambitious climate action, places like Rockhampton are on track to spend the majority of summer in extreme heat, seriously increasing the risk of bushfires.
Adani’s coal mine will open up a massive new source of carbon emissions -- that at one stage was equivalent to the entire carbon footprint of our 15 neighbouring countries in the Pacific.
Just today, the Department for the Environment and Energy released its latest emissions update which shows Australia’s quarterly emissions are their highest since June 2011 and we aren’t so much ‘cantering’ but galloping as fast as we can in the opposite direction to our Paris Agreement target. The Adani mine will only move us further away -- for Australian and global emissions targets.
READ MORE: Adani To Self-Finance Queensland Mine
While Adani tells the public and our politicians its mine will bring an employment bonanza to regional Queensland, it boasted to its shareholders, "when we ramp up the mine, everything will be autonomous from mine to port" -- those are Adani’s words, not mine.
The other unfortunate reality for Adani is that it still hasn’t gotten all of its approvals in line. As a result, it's falsely announced the beginning of the mine multiple times -- a possible attempt to pressure governments, at both a State and Federal level, into making hasty decisions.
When it comes to Labor, it appears those bully-boy tactics might just be working. Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten stood on a podium last week and declared to the country that climate change is no longer an emergency, “it’s a disaster”. Too right -- and those in Queensland know it all too well. However, despite that frank admission, the Labor Party has stubbornly refused to outright oppose Adani’s reckless and dangerous coal mine.
Meanwhile, Adani is being prosecuted in court by the Queensland Government for polluting the Reef and is under investigation for illegally drilling into Queensland’s groundwater at the mine site. In fact, Adani has a long history of troubling behaviour.
Despite all this, the Queensland Government and Adani reached a royalty deal (though it is yet to be signed off on). By deferring royalties, it will be lending Adani hundreds of millions of dollars at a discounted rate.
While those in power have so far refused to step up and protect our climate, it’s important to understand that this fight isn’t over and that you can be a part of the resistance. The #StopAdani movement, made up of thousands of individuals and community groups across Australia, is leading the charge where our politicians have failed. Our policymakers need to understand that Adani’s determination to profit from this coal mine can’t match the determination of millions of Australians who want to stop it.