Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) lodges appeal against Federal Court’s approval of giant Adani coal mine
“ACF disputes the Environment Minister’s argument in court that the burning of coal from Carmichael mine will not have an impact on global warming and the Great Barrier Reef.
““This is a profound moment in the history of protecting Australia’s environment, as we attempt to stop a coal mine that would create 4.6 billion tonnes of climate pollution if it is allowed to proceed,” said ACF’s President Geoff Cousins.
““Australia’s system of environment laws is broken if it allows the Federal Environment Minister to approve a mega-polluting coal mine – the biggest in Australia’s history – and claim it will have no impact on the global warming and the reef.
““If our environment laws are too weak to actually protect Australia’s unique species and places,they effectively give companies like Adani a licence to kill.
““Be in no doubt, Adani’s Carmichael proposal is massive and will lock in decades of damaging climate pollution if it goes ahead, further wrecking the reef. … “
“An appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia was filed today by -senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) family council, Mr Adrian Burragubba, challenging a decision of Justice Reeves in relation to the Queensland government’s issuing of mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, handed down on 19th August 2016.
“Mr Burragubba said: “We said ‘no means no’ and so we will continue to resist this damaging coal mine that will tear the heart out of our Country. The stakes are huge.In the spirit of our ancestors, we will continue to fight for justice until the project falls over.
““The decision of the Native Title Tribunal in April 2015 to allow the issuing of the mining leases by the Queensland government took away our right to free, prior and informed consent.
It effectively allowed the government to override the decision that we made nearly two years ago to reject Adani’s ‘deal’,” Mr Burragubba said. … “
September 8, 2016. ENVIRONMENTALISTS have been hit with a massive bill after a Federal Court ruling in just one of many cases against the Adani coal project, while a second group has launched yet another attempt to derail the project….. (subscribers only)
Queensland University of Technology commits to divesting its fossil fuel shares, ABC News by Nick Kilvert, 5 Sep 16, Student activists and academics at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are celebrating after learning the university has committed to divesting its shares in fossil fuels.
The decision comes after an ongoing campaign by Fossil Free QUT, which included an open letter signed by more than 120 academics, calling for the university to join the global movement, following the success of similar campaigns at universities across Australia.
Vice-chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake sent a statement via email on Friday informing staff of the decision to steer investments away from coal, oil, and gas companies.
“We have reviewed QUT’s investments relative to climate risk and instituted changes to the university’s investment strategy,” the statement said.
“QUT is committed to an orderly and considered transition away from investment in fossil fuel companies.”…….
The move makes QUT the first university in Queensland and the second largest in Australia to withdraw investment in fossil fuel companies, and comes despite a strong focus on geological science (earth science) at the university’s Gardens Point campus…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-05/qut-to-divest-fossil-fuel-investments/7816016
Friends of the Earth has recently released a report called ‘Fuelling the Fire: the chequered history of Underground Coal Gasification and Coal Chemicals around the world’
The report draws together evidence of UCG test projects over the last three decades and highlights how destructive UCG and Coal Chemicals are
Fuelling the fire: New coal technologies like UCG spell disaster for climate https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/fuelling-the-fire-new-coal-technologies-like-ucg-spell-disaster-for-climate-,9393 Cam Walker 26 August 2016, Given UCG’s disastrous history including Linc Energy’s irreversible environmental damage in Queensland, Friends of the Earth is calling for a moratorium on all UCG projects in Australia. Cam Walker fromFriends of the Earth reports.
IN RECENT years Australia, like many countries around the planet, has seen a major expansion in the development of unconventional oil and gas drilling.
These are oil and gas resources which cannot be produced by conventional processes (that is, through using the natural pressure of the wells to release the resource trapped in a coal or rock seam).
Until the 1990s, production of conventionaloil and gas kept prices relatively stable, so there was limited incentive to develop technologies to explore and produce unconventional oil and gas resources.
In the 2000s, prices started to increase, and with known reserves starting to peak, it was clear that this trend would continue into the future.
As debate increasingly focused on energy independence, a number of countries who consume large volumes of fossil energy such as the USA, Canada and China started to realise they had potentially enormous volumes of unconventional oil and gas. This in turn lead to a major development effort that saw a huge expansion in the use of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) to access methane in shale beds to produce gas in the USA and elsewhere.
Australia also has major reserves of oil and gas which could potentially yield through the use of unconventional drilling methods. Here the unconventional gas resource includes coal seam gas (CSG), shale gas and tight gas. Exploration for CSG in Australia began in 1976 in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The industry took hold, initially in Queensland, where there are currently around 4,000 onshore gas rigs. More than 37% of the Australian landmass is currently under exploration permit or application for coal or gas.
The UCG industry has been strongly resisted by regional communities and environmental groups around the country and the many dangers of fracking are well documented. This has resulted in moratoriums on fracking in states such as Victoria. Continue reading
Turnbull’s plan to defund Australian Renewable Energy Agency will cause loss of 100s of solar energy jobs in Queensland
Queensland solar projects that could create 2,600 jobs at risk in federal cuts
Many schemes may not go ahead if the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is defunded in the government’s omnibus bill, ACF warns, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 25 Aug 16, Thousands of jobs could be created in Queensland if 10 large-scale solar projects were to receive funding, according to analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation.
The projects, earmarked for funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena), would create around 2,695 jobs according to the study.
The figure compared favourably with the 1,400 jobs which the Indian conglomerate Adani estimates its $16bn Carmichael coalmine would bring to the state if it obtains approval for the controversial project, the study claimed.
However, the findings comes as Arena faces defunding by the federal government, placing the projects in jeopardy. Continue reading
19 August 2016
Traditional Owners say govt acted shamefully,
fight to stop Adani’s Carmichael mine continues
Defence of rights and country still has a long way to run
“Senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners family council, Mr Adrian Burragubba, says he is not surprised by the decision handed down in the Federal Court in Brisbane today, while reiterating that they stand strong together and will continue to defend their human rights, and protect their traditional lands from Adani’s destructive Carmichael mine.
““The issuing by the Palaszczuk government of the mining leases, in support of Adani running roughshod over our right to say ‘no’ to this mine, was a shameful episode. We will continue to pursue all legal avenues, Australian and international, to defend our rights and stop this massive coal mine going ahead,” Mr Burragubba said.
“Wangan and Jagalingou council representatives, including Mr Burragubba, are currently challenging the leasesthat have been issued by the Palaszczuk government for the Adani Carmichael coal mine ina Judicial Review in the Queensland Supreme Court. The matter will be heard in November; and further legal actions are underway. …
“Lawyer for Mr Burragubba, Mr Benedict Coyne said: “My client will take some time to review the reasons for judgment, and consider his appeal options in the context of numerous other legal avenues he is pursuing for justice for his people, both domestically and internationally.” …
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-19/indigenous-challenge-to-adani-carmichael-coal-mine-dismissed/7765466~ Andrew Kos 19 August 2016
“The Federal Court has dismissed a challenge from a Queensland traditional owner to mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.
“A member of the Wangan and Jagalingou people was trying to put a stop to the multi-billion-dollar Galilee basin project.
“Senior traditional owner for the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners, Adrian Burragubba argued that a determination made in April 2015 by the National Native Title Tribunal, relating to the proposed granting of two mining leases, was made incorrectly.
“He argued the approval of mining leases would extinguish native title over parts of the group’s lands.
“Mr Burragubba made the application for judicial review against the Queensland Government, Adani and the National Native Title Tribunal. …
“In his judgement, Justice John Reeves concluded that none of Mr Burragubba’s grounds of review had merit. “Justice Reeves said the tribunal did not fail to observe the rules of natural justice or constructively fail to exercise its jurisdiction. …
“While I respect the judgement of Justice Reeves, we will seek advice from our legal team on an appeal,” Mr Burragubba said. … “
Greasing The Wheels: Report Lays Bare Extraordinary Govt Access For Queensland Miners, New Matilda By Hannah Aulby on July 29, 2016 There’s something rotten in the state of Queensland, and it smells a lot like gas and mining. Hannah Aulby explains.
There is little doubt that the mining industry enjoys a higher level of access and influence over government in Australia than the average citizen. It’s often difficult to measure exactly how far that influence extends, but at other times it becomes glaringly obvious.
A report released today by The Australia Institute and the Australian Conservation Foundation shows that the influence of the mining industry on government in Queensland is systematic and ongoing.
The report, ‘Greasing the Wheels: the systematic weaknesses that allow undue influence of mining companies on government, a Queensland case study’, provides six case studies of mining companies using political donations, high level political access, gifts and the ‘revolving door’ to influence legislation in their favour.
It shows that Beach Energy, Sibelco, Karreman, New Hope, Adani and Linc Energy have all received favourable treatment from government including retrospective mining project approvals, revocation of environmental protections and reversals of party mining policies.
These case-studies are just the tip of the iceberg. In recent days Linc Energy and QRC have provided fresh insights into a frightening trend…… https://newmatilda.com/2016/07/29/greasing-the-wheels-report-lays-bare-extraordinary-govt-access-for-queensland-miners/
Construction Mt Emerald wind farm expected to start in December The Cairns Post July 28, 2016 CONSTRUCTION on the Tablelands’ Mt Emerald wind farm is expected to start in December, following the selection of preferred contractors for the $360 million project.
Developer Ratch Australia has awarded its wind farm contract to Dutch manufacturers Vestas and the Sydney-based Downer Group.
Vestas and Downer will share responsibility for the entire 180MW project, including supply and construction of more than 50 turbines, a substation, cabling to the grid, civil and electrical works, and wind monitoring equipment.
The announcement follows Ergon Energy’s decision to purchase all of the electricity generated by the wind farm through to the end of 2030……..http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/construction-mt-emerald-wind-farm-expected-to-start-in-december/news-story/09b600f1c8d9b6e2a4eb929d34b27768
Sections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from ‘complete ecosystem collapse’
Coral Watch investigator reports ‘shocking’ lack of fish and says the surviving corals are continuing to bleach, even during winter, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 22 July 16, “Complete ecosystem collapse” is being seen on parts of the Great Barrier Reef, as fish numbers tumble and surviving corals continue to bleach into winter, according to a scientist returning from one of the worst-hit areas.
“The lack of fish was the most shocking thing,” said Justin Marshall, of the University of Queensland and the chief investigator of citizen science program Coral Watch. “In broad terms, I was seeing a lot less than 50% of what was there [before the bleaching]. Some species I wasn’t seeing at all.”
Marshall spent a week this month conducting surveys on the reefs around Lizard Island………overall, Marshall estimate that more than 90% of the branching corals had died around Lizard Island. He said many of the huge porites corals, which could be a thousand years old, had died.
Coral and other organisms like anemones and giant clams bleach when water temperatures are too high for too long. When they become stressed, they expel their colourful symbiotic algae that provide them with energy, becoming pale or white. Unless the water temperatures quickly return to normal, many of those organisms die.
Lizard Island was particularly badly hit by the global bleaching event that hit every major reef region in the world and killed almost a quarter of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef. But, in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, between Lizard Island and the Torres Strait, a majority of the coral is thought to have died.
The mass bleaching this year was driven by climate change, which raised water temperatures close to the maximum threshold coral could stand, and a strong El Niño that bumped the temperatures above that threshold. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/21/sections-of-great-barrier-reef-suffering-from-complete-ecosystem-collapse
Frydenberg signals $5 billion taxpayer frolic with Adani’s unwanted
fossil flop, Independent Australia Sophie Vorrath 24 September 2015 In a shock interview yesterday, the Turnbull Government’s new energy and resources minister, Josh Frydenberg, signalled that taxpayers would be stumping up funds for Adani’s unpopular Carmichael coal mine.Renew Economy’s Sophie Vorrath reports.
IF AUSTRALIA’s new Prime Minister and refreshed front bench are showing signs of being more progressive about renewable energy investment and R&D, it looks like they are also going to be far more candid about coal, and their plans to invest heavily there, too.
In an interview with Fairfax media on Wednesday, the newly sworn in energy and resources minister Josh Frydenberg was crystal clear on the government’s intent to use taxpayer money from its $5 billion Northern Infrastructure Fund to help get the Adani-owned Carmichael coal mining project off the ground.
And he was equally clear that the Turnbull Government’s attitude to developing new coal projects – despite the smart money being on all untapped fossil fuel resources staying in the ground, and despite the fact that most banks and institutional investors won’t touch the Galilee Basin project with a 10 foot barge pole – remains the same as the Abbott Government’s. Frydenberg told the AFR, repeating the mantra of his former boss:
[Carmichael coal mine is] a very important project, which will see significant investment in Australia and provide electricity to millions of people in the developing world,”
Anti-development activism can create major delays in projects and send investment offshore, and you have to be very conscious of that when there are such large time frames involved and we are competing internationally for investment in this country.
The trouble is, the sort of investment Frydenberg sees Australia competing for is looking more like divestment to the rest of the world, with a new report showing that there is now an estimated $2.6 trillion in coal, gas and other fossil fuel assets set to be dumped from the investment portfolios of 430 institutions and 2,040 individuals around the world…….https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/frydenberg-signals-5-billion-taxpayer-frolic-with-adanis-unwanted-fossil-flop-,8193
Logan becoming south-east Queensland’s greenest city , Brisbane Times, July 17 2016 The greener side of Logan is starting to show through, with the south-east Queensland city embracing solar energy, recycling initiatives, DIY kits and sustainable living workshops.
Energex statistics from June revealed Logan was ahead of nearby cities when it came to solar power, with more than a quarter of all properties having solar panels on their roofs.
This was compared to 17 per cent in Brisbane and 18 per cent on the Gold Coast.
The city of more 308,000 residents is 70 per cent rural or semi-rural, an appealing factor for those in the area who enjoy their open spaces…….
“A lot of schools are becoming a lot more sustainable, Calvary Christian College at Springwood have their own chickens and sell their eggs, the children involved in gardening, selling produce, checking the eggs,” ………..http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/logan-becoming-southeast-queenslands-greenest-city-20160717-gq7mp0.html
Vatican praise for Townsville Catholic diocese solar scheme http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-14/vatican-praise-for-townsville-catholic-diocese-solar-scheme/7630890?section=environment By Ben Millington Catholic schools in north Queensland have caught the eye of the Vatican with a solar project that is cutting carbon emissions and saving millions of dollars.
The Diocese of Townsville, which stretches from the coast to Mt Isa in the state’s north-west, has installed solar panels on roofs of all its eligible schools. The diocese has invested $6 million in one megawatt of solar panels, but diocese director of education Dr Cathy Day said this could deliver a much higher return. “The best figures that I like to think is a saving of $40 million over 25 years,” she said.
“Now when you turn that into teachers that we can pay for, or resources for students, that’s quite a substantial amount of money and I think it’s a great investment.”
In combination with the use of low-energy LED lighting, she said, the diocese had cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent, which is equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road. Dr Day said her main motivation had been to set a positive example for students and the broader community. “We’ve all got to start investing in technology and energy efficiency,” she said. “This is the way of the future. Our students are going to be in these industries. Nobody’s going to be working in a coal-fired power station in years to come.”
Emissions will eventually be cut by 80 per cent With further investment, Dr Day said they expect to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in emissions through installing more solar and energy-efficient air conditioning, as well as using batteries to store the power generated.
She returned last week from a visit to Rome, where she presented the project to Vatican officials in meetings led by former deputy prime minister and onetime ambassador to the holy see, Tim Fischer, who has become a spokesman for the project. Mr Fischer said the scheme was well received in Rome and he would like to see it rolled out in schools across the world. “What has happened in Townsville is mildly revolutionary and is extremely positive in terms of energy savings because it works and it can be monitored in real time,” he said.
“That’s what caused positive ripples in Rome. They saw in this sustainable, cut-through, realistic energy savings created without massive capital expenditure.”
The project is already being replicated in other Catholic schools in Cairns and the Northern Territory.
Queensland’s $500m Coopers Gap wind farm could be operational by 2020 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-04/hope-qld-500m-coopers-gap-wind-farm-project-operational-2020/7562124?section=environment By Ellie Sibson An energy company planning to build Queensland’s largest wind farm is hoping to have the project operational by 2020.
AGL Energy’s proposed $500 million Coopers Gap wind farm would be constructed at Cooranga North, about 200 kilometres north-west of Brisbane in the state’s South Burnett region. It has a proposed capacity of 350 megawatts and could power 190,000 homes each year.
Under the plans, up to 115 turbines would be built across 11 properties.
Last month, the wind farm was declared a coordinated project and community consultation on the draft terms of reference for an environmental impact statement is currently underway. Dozens of residents attended a recent public meeting at the nearby township of Bell to raise concerns and ask questions about the project.
Project manager Neil Cooke said most of the feedback had been positive. “Some of the community are concerned about the noise being too high and concerned about sleep,” he said. “We’re in the process of organising a second trip down to our wind farms in Victoria so people can actually get to see wind farms close up.”
Wind farm would ‘drought-proof property’ If the wind farm is approved, Cyril Stewart would have three turbines built on his cattle property. During times of drought, Mr Stewart has had to leave his land in search of a job. “It would be the greatest thing since sliced bread because it is drought-proofing the property,” he said. “This is something that rain, hail or shine, there’s an income.”
About 350 workers are needed for construction with ongoing employment for 20 people. South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said it would be a big jobs boost for the region. “Economic development is something our region really needs,” he said. “These sorts of things don’t come about often … employment driven by the economic outcomes is something that as a region we can’t ignore.” The environmental impact process is expected to take at least six months.