Australian news, and some related international items

Adani’s Carmichael coal project massively downsized, but still a climate threat

Adani’s rail line cut shows project is on life support but still a threat to climate, Guardian 

The short answer is this is the latest in a string of changes that have massively downsized both the Carmichael project and the bigger plans to develop the Galilee Basin. The longer answer is that, despite optimistic talk about a long-term future for coal, the writing is on the wall. The only way to make money out of coal is to do so quickly, before the present gradual decline turns into a collapse.

The original Adani proposal, put forward in 2010, was for a mine producing 60m tonnes of coal a year. The coal would be transported along a completely new 388km standard gauge rail line to a newly built terminal at Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal. The coal would then be shipped to Adani’s rapidly expanding fleet of coal-fired power stations in India, most notably the 4,620MW plant at Mundra. The oft-repeated claims of 10,000 jobs and billions in revenue (much inflated by spurious economic analysis) refer to this initial proposal.

As prospects for coal declined, and finance dried up, however, the project was cut back in 2017 to a first stage, with planned exports of 25m tonnes a year. Initially, the rail and port components of the project were left unchanged, with the idea that they would be used in subsequent stages. In early August, however, Adani dropped the idea of building a second port terminal, opting instead to ship Carmichael coal through its existing terminal, which is badly underutilised.

The other shoe dropped on Thursday with the announcement that the massive new rail line would be replaced with a connection to Aurizon’s existing line. Meanwhile, staff numbers at Adani’s Townsville headquarters have been slashed.

The combined effect of the cuts is to keep the Adani project alive for the moment, while closing off any realistic prospect of a massive expansion in the Galilee Basin as a whole. That’s a decidedly mixed prospect. On the one hand, 25m additional tonnes of carbon a year would be bad for the global environment. On the other hand, the catastrophic prospect of 300m tonnes a year appears to have been averted. ………

the future for coal looks bleaker than ever. The “pipeline” of future coal plants in China and India has shrunk massively, with cancellations far outweighing new announcements……..


September 16, 2018 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland

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