Adani’s coal will worsen the lives of India’s poorest
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/adanis-coal-will-worsen-the-lives-of-indias-poorest-20170418-gvmw6j.html Harita Sridhar, Last week, I told my dad I was going to speak outside the Indian high commission at an anti-Adani rally against the proposed Carmichael mine. Soon after, he called me up and he was not happy.My parents are Indian migrants and I am a young, second-generation, Indian-Australian woman. My father reminded me that there are 300 million people living without electricity in India, and of the times we ourselves were without power in our ancestral village and our home in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam. Energy poverty is an obstacle to inclusive development in India, and difficult to empathise with here in Australia, where we generally have the privilege of energy security.
But the coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine is not the answer for those living without electricity. It will further pollute the air they breathe and the water they drink. It will cause dangerous climate change and extreme weather that always affects the poorest first. Australia’s coal will make their lives harder in the long run.
That’s why I decided to speak out. I believe that, if the Australian government or Adani were genuinely serious about extending our energy security to India, they would be generous with technology transfer, or provide untied funding to help India’s renewables sector grow. Instead, we face the potential construction of what would be Australia’s largest coal mine, and the prospect of irreversible environmental degradation to our climate, groundwater and the Great Barrier Reef.
Adani’s project is a terrible idea. The company has a record of serious environmental and human rights violations in several countries, including India I don’t trust it to keep the Australian environment safe.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is offering Adani $1 billion of public money as a subsidised loan for this project, though India doesn’t even want our coal! Just last week, India’s Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal, said India didn’t want to keep buying foreign coal and wanted instead to transition to a renewable-energy economy. This is the safer, cleaner and more sustainable solution to India’s energy deficit, and the only one that doesn’t harm the global environment.
Closer to home, more than two-thirds of Australians polled say they don’t want the mine to be built either. This year alone, more than 140 “Stop Adani” groups have formed, and the national Stop Adani roadshow sold out at every major city along the east coast, gathering about 4000 passionate people (500 in Canberra!) who are concerned about the mine and don’t want it to go ahead.
The Carmichael mine is bad for Australia, for India and for the global climate. The rest of the world is getting smarter about climate change and stepping away from coal. Australia shouldn’t embarrass itself by taking a huge step backwards. Harita Sridhar is a Canberra student.
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