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Australia lobbies for Adani coal mine at climate talks

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Australia wants to keep its coal rolling

Australia energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been “caught out” lobbying the US in favour of the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, earning it the first “fossil of the day” award at the Marrakech climate talks.

Frydenberg was heard talking to US energy secretary Ernest Moniz at the COP22 conference in Morocco, complaining about the support of US charities for communities and environmental activists opposing the construction of what would be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world.

The intervention came less than a week after Australia ratified the Paris climate treaty, which aims to cap global warming at “well below 2°C” and as low as 1.5°C, and hours after the International Energy Agency said this would require completely decarbonising the world’s electrify sector by 2040.

“Australia ratified the Paris Agreement last Friday, so lobbying for coal expansion at the United Nations climate negotiations is an ugly, ugly thing to be doing. Shape up, Australia,” said the Climate Action Network, a collection of environmental groups, in awarding the Fossil of the Day award.

Moniz is in the last few weeks of his tenure as energy secretary, given the election of Donald Trump as the new US president, with his administration to begin its tenure on January 20.

Trump has previously threaten to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty and scrap all of President Barack Obama’s clean energy initiatives. He has appointed a climate denier, Myron Ebell, to oversee the transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency.

A spokesman for Frydenberg told confirmed to The Guardian that the minister had raised the issue with Moniz.

“Frydenberg noted the issue raised concerns in Australia and reiterated that Australia had a very effective environmental approvals process and that a large amount of conditions we’re attached to the Adani mine approval,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ACT climate change and sustainability minister, the Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who is also visiting Marrakech talking about his territory’s 100 per cent renewable energy target for 2020, has called on the Federal Government to heed the global calls for a moratorium on coal.

“While I have been proud to speak about the ACT’s ambitious leadership on renewable energy, one thing is undeniably clear – the lack of action by the Federal Government is letting down Australians, and the world,” he said in a statement.

“Australia’s obsession with coal is economically and environmentally irresponsible. We must end our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and stop investment in new coal mines.

Like we have done in the ACT, it’s time for Australia to embrace the jobs and opportunities that the renewable energy economy offers Australia, and to plan a transition away from coal to renewables.

“We must be looking to the next wave of technologies to reduce our reliance on coal and gas including renewable energy generation, battery storage, electric vehicles and affordable public transport systems powered by renewable energy.

 

   

  • Mike Dill

    The Adani mine will never happen. Heywood is shutting down, as it is too expensive to keep running, just as Northern was. Renewables are the future, even if some people would rather not admit it.

    • Stan Hlegeris

      You’re correct, Mike.

      The problem which remains is that both the federal government and the Queensland government are prepared to spend billions of taxpayer money to nurse this dying industry along. It’s like the car manufacturing industry all over again.

    • Stan Hlegeris

      You’re correct, Mike.

      The problem which remains is that both the federal government and the Queensland government are prepared to spend billions of taxpayer money to nurse this dying industry along. It’s like the car manufacturing industry all over again.

    • MaxG

      I hope you’re right! I do.

    • DJR96

      Except that all the Adani coal is destined for export to India. We don’t “need” the coal from it here in Australia.
      And given that India is putting in a concerted effort to increase renewable energies too, the coal market there will have an expiry date, perhaps around 2040. But given that it is a developing nation with regards to electricity, the demand is so much more than what can be fulfilled by renewables at the moment.

      I’d be content to see the Adani mine go ahead, but with a clear intention that this will be the last mine ever approved for supplying thermal coal. Only metallurgical coal (used for steel making) will be considered, and even then only expansions from existing mines. I think it is important to make that distinction in coal uses.

  • Neville Bott

    It’s becoming ‘undeniably’ obvious that this can’t happen.

    This is unprecedented and not good.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/723f09d4a1ab5fb4edbc5232c60dcfb8bcbda9235c7fa43e022903aca0cd551e.png

    • nakedChimp

      It’s happening and the ship won’t turn in time.. the European deniers will be surprised how cold and hot it can be if the regulation of the gulf-stream is missing up there.
      No idea what the energy from the Gulf of Mexico is doing then though, as it needs to go somewhere. The US might find it “interesting” to have energy “loaded” water in the Atlantic that doesn’t move as usual..
      Fun times.

  • Kenshō

    Article Title: “Australia lobbies for Adani coal mine at climate talks”

    I’d prefer if Frydenberg or the Turnbull government were held responsible for chalking up the “Fossil of the Day award” for Australia. May help with accountability. In the future there will be costs.

  • MaxG

    These pollies… can we not just shot them? May this is too extreme; we could send them then to Oddnadatta, and block off the roads leading to it.
    If they could only be held accountable: for crimes against humanity. We are decarbonising; we dig it up and sell it to others, and then point the finger at the polluters… what a crazy world.

  • Kenshō

    Frydenberg
    It’s easy to be incredulous with people like Frydenberg, though when we look deeper they are predictable and determined by limited life experience. Typically all of us grow up in “echo chambers” whether they be private or public education, whether we rub shoulders with an elite on our morning powerwalk by the ocean at Coogee or if we live in a street with a handful of houses dealing in illegal activities. Some of us accept white collar crime and some of us accept crime. Online our Facebook and Twitter groups reflect back what we want to hear, all we understand, and each of us only has a small piece of the larger happenings in the world. Reality has us situated physically, emotionally and psychologically as a divided species, with most of us glamoured by subjective entertainment, social groups, class, “in groups”, groups into one pharmacology or another, even groups of the excluded based upon drug of choice. To maintain our current identity, like Frydenbergs we habitually ignore whole communities, academic discourses and live an intellectual slumber of comfort. There’s no judgment. Crisis brings change and sudden reversals can catapult an individual free from historical determinations, though as soon as enough of us are awakened, we need to remove the Frydenberg’s from office.

    • DJR96

      Or at least ensure Frydenberg is better advised and informed in the meantime.

      • Kenshō

        I don’t know what Frydenberg’s professional background is, though instead of listening and taking in information from climate scientists, he is proceeding along his own track. His opportunities for informing himself have been great and he has done little. If he were in my Cabinet, this incident would merit instant dismissal as a Minister or a request for his resignation. Additionally, with his lack of listening, consulting and taking in a scientific knowledge base in one field, he is not suitable for leadership in any other Portfolio.

        • Alex

          No doubt he’ll get a job as a nuclear or chemical lobbyist- perhaps even a coal lobbyist for a few years. There is a double-dipping revolving door amongst retiring politicians and ex-ministers that really needs to be slammed shut.

          • Kenshō

            A sunset industry would be okay. As long as it’s not a fast paced field or has anything to do with the environment.