The Carmichael Mine-strosity

Posted by
7th February 2013

It’s a monstrosity. It’s two times larger than the largest coal mine in Australia and would lead to massive greenhouse emissions over the next 90 years. It flies in the face of our commitment to limit global warming and protect the Great Barrier Reef. And we’ve only got 5 days left to let the government know it must be stopped.

At every level the Carmichael coal mine is a bad idea. India’s Adani Enterprises wants to dig a 10,000 hectare coal mine, stretching over 40kms swallowing up farms, prime grazing land and the Bygana West Nature Refuge. When burnt for power generation, the coal would produce approximately 128.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, greater than the 2009 carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion in Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined.

If stopped, it could be a sign that Australian governments are making decisions in the interests of the people, not the mining magnates. As a nation we can’t claim to be serious about stopping climate change and saving our reef while also allowing the creation of the largest dirty coal mine we’ve ever seen – a mine that will see more damage to the Great Barrier Reef from dredging and the dumping of dredge spoils in the marine park. We can stop this, but it will take a movement to stand up to Big Mining and the vested interests of the Queensland government.

New research by The Australia Institute shows how ‘slowing down the pace of coal exports would actually result in enormous benefits to the Australian economy. It would allow our other key export industries – including manufacturing, tourism, education and agriculture – to expand, employing more people and paying more tax.’1

The status quo has long been that big miners get their own way. But we can change that. Let’s inundate the government assessment process for the Carmichael mine, pointing out the projects many flaws and showing the government the community knows this project is not in their interest:

If 100 years from now the Carmichael mega coal mine is still churning out emissions, shipping through our destroyed Reef – that’s on us. We’ll be the ones who stood by and let it happen, despite what we knew about climate projections, the unsustainability of fossil fuels and how fragile our Reef was. Luckily, our movement isn’t going to let that happen.

the GetUP team.

[1] Richard Dennis. Limiting Australia’s ballooning coal exports is good for the economy. The Conversation, February, 2013.

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  • Go Bruins!

    And Chinas cement industry alone produces more CO2 than the nation of Germany.Wheres the outcry from the left on China? Go over there and protest their emissions see how far you get before the execution vans come a knockin’.

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile, China’s renewable production capacity is in excess of 797.4 terrawatt hours per year, as opposed to our 29.3.

    It’s nice to sit around and throw derogatory comments about the level of emissions a country generates, but when you are also talking about the worlds largest renewable energy producer, with by far the highest level of current investment in future renewable infrastructure you might want to step back and take a think about the foolishness of your comments, given that your target is doing far more about curbing their emissions than yourself.

    But once again, this is just rhetorical misdirect. We have no ability to police China … and the actions we are taking are in order to police our own emission production. You realize this is the point, yes? That everyone does their bit? Of course your *real* argument is that our production is closing down here and going off -shore, and yet all anyone can produce of evidence of this is instances of industries moving off-shore, ignoring the fact that this has been happening for a long time before a carbon price, and has not appreciably accelerated since.

    Once again, opinions are great, but it’s much better if they are informed opinions.

  • Heldron

    What percentage of Chinas energy generation is renewable and how much of this renewable energy is created by hydroelectric dams including the three gorges dam which the greens are obviously vehemently opposed to.You are correct when you say that manufacturing is moving offshore, it would be better for the environment if more was made here since there would be less transport emissions and our factories and power generation is far far cleaner than Chinas and was even before the carbon tax.Of course the gradual erosion of tariffs by both major parties has destroyed that idea.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not entirely sure that the Greens have a stated opposition to the Three Gorges Dam. But to answer your question, the Three Gorges dam seems to have an optimal output of somewhere in the vicinity of 100 terrawatt hours per year, of their 797.4 terrawatt hours per year from renewable sources. This is clearly a significant proportion of the total output, as you might well expect it to be given the size and span of development and investment. It’s an impressive feat, apparently reducing their greenhouse gas output by 100 million tonnes per year. In fact, the vast majority of their renewable capacity comes from hydroelectricity.

    Of course, China is fortunate to have suitable conditions to support this infrastructure, unlike ourselves. To be clear, I quite like hydro-power. There are many positives for it, though there are ecological issues to factor in (from the Three Gorges Damn in particular). It’s a very advanced technology in the renewable sector, simply because it has been invested in and developed for so long. It’s a mature technology. But liking something does not make it any more viable in one of the world’s driest continents.

    This is, of course, why the many groups are opposed to deploying more dams for hydro here. It just doesn’t make sense for us to build more dams when we have nowhere to collect extra water to feed them. On the other hand, I can’t immediately come up with a reason why all of our existing dam infrastructure should not be used for hydro.

    There are many factors which inhibit the idea of an increase in on-shore manufacturing. Working standards and the high value of the Australian dollar are two major issues, but even they are simply a side effect of Australia’s advanced economy. The price on carbon is so minute a factor that it hardly bears discussion in this context. Understanding that we cannot dictate where products are made, you implicitly understand that we cannot control emissions caused by the manufacture of those products.

    The end of that line of thought is neatly tied to the start. We got an advanced economy with a strong manufacturing base, but as our economy grew, our ability to sustain that base diminished. This is not unique to us, but to all advanced economies. Germany seems to be the exception of this general rule. At any rate, all of this is effectively unrelated to renewable energy or a price on carbon.

  • Dibbler

    Last i read the three gorges dam did displace 5.3 million people so i expected that to play on the conscience of the left.

    And the price of a new Jeep grand cherokee in the US is USD 27,000.The price in China circa USD80,000.Due to tariffs.I don’t have time to go into how protectionist China is here but if it interests you look up “chicken feet tariff” on google.I recall KRudd cutting tariffs (and it’s both sides not just Labor) again on imported cars about 4 years back whilst giving the car manufacturers a massive taxpayer fuelled cash injection.Hardly sustainable and Ford/Holden look on very shaky ground right now.Meanwhile super container ships that produce as much pollution as 50 million cars (Google : “super container 50 million cars”) ship the cars halfway around the world instead.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t actually aware of the displacement figures of the Three Gorges dam, though I know there is significant concern regarding the other environmental impacts. I don’t know that it is an influence on Australian policy on the matter however, but then again, maybe it plays a part.

    I agree with you for the most part on the auto industry, though it’s a murky topic for me. It seems to be a tricky one though … they either subsidize the industry and keep the jobs here, or we lose the jobs but the economy stops losing funds to an off-shore company. I don’t know really. Is it a good investment? Do we get back more in worker salary, taxes and business spending than we give to them? Do we have any real way of knowing?

    I also agree that shipping is a problem. It’s hard to advocate against a massive reduction in product / food miles. However, I for one can see no real solution to this. I mean, look at cars. We want cars. We buy them. But for the most part we look down on the local product. We seem to have an obsession for cheap imports and foreign luxury or sports cars. How do we combat this in real terms? Any artificial inflation of import cost would raise an uproar from pretty much all corners of Australia as prices rise on the products they want, and it would probably be in breach of free trade agreements. Meanwhile any subsidy scheme to make locally produced cars more affordable than the same imported product is likely to actually reduce the demand for them as they will lose the ‘prestige’ we seem to want. Also, I’m not sure that the latter is actually any different than the current model, just done in a slightly different way.

    It seems that any solution has significant drawbacks or restrictions in other areas, which is probably why we constantly straddle policies as we seem to do.

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