Australian news, and some related international items

“Direct Action” effect on greenhouse emissions would be wiped out if Adani coal mine goes ahead

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani coal mine would wipe out Direct Action gains within a year, estimates show, The Age,  Peter Hannam, 20 Oct 16, 

Carbon cuts made by the federal government’s Direct Action climate change plan by 2020 would be wiped out by pollution from a single coal mine in just over a year, new data revealed at a Senate estimates hearing shows.

Officials from the Clean Energy Regulator said that projects paid for from the first three auctions of the Emissions Reduction Fund – the backbone of Direct Action – would trim pollution by just 42 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent by 2020.

Even if all the remaining funds were spent – with a fourth auction planned for November 16 – emissions reductions are projected to total only 92 million tonnes by the year 2020, officials told senators.

By contrast, the Adani coal mine proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin would trigger emissions of about 79 million tonnes a year – nullifying the ERF’s pre-2020 abatement in little over a year if it proceeded……

October 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland govt’s push for solar power on all government buildings

map-solar-QueenslandSolar should power government schools, TAFE, hospitals: report, Brisbane Times, 13 Oct 16 Tony Moore  Solar panels will be installed in Queensland Government buildings including TAFE colleges, schools, hospitals and public houses, to help drive Queensland’s renewable energy from seven per cent today to 50 per cent by 2030, a far-reaching strategic report into Queensland’s renewable energy says……..
Energy Minister Mark Bailey on Wednesday night said the push to put solar on government buildings was now being explored.

“The Palaszczuk Government is currently investigating the use of solar PV on state-owned buildings,” Mr Bailey said.  Report author and investment banker Colin Mugglestone led a team of researchers who spent seven months analysing how Queensland should reach a position where 50 per cent of its energy is provided by renewable energy by 2030.

The state government now has 9 megawatts of solar panels on government buildings and hopes to generate 2000 megawatts of solar energy from government property by 2030, the report says…….

What could a renewable energy push to 50 per cent by 2030 provide? “It is projected that Queensland could reach 2200 MW of wind, 5200 MW of large-scale solar PV, and 4900 MW rooftop PV by 2030, including 5500 MW of new large scale capacity built after 2020.”

It could provide between around 6400-6700 extra full-time jobs, mainly in the construction of large scale renewable energy plants.

Last month the federal government’s renewable energy body ARENA agreed to fund $51.4 million to seed six new large-scale solar plants in Queensland. That will help potential big solar plants in Dalby, Oakey, Longreach and Kidston west of Townsville and two in Collinsville……..

What do The Greens say?“The Greens welcome this draft report, which confirms that clean energy is good for jobs,” Mr Bartlett said.”But we are dismayed at the years of delay, lack of ambition, and no transition plan for coal power workers.”

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Traditional owners fighting Adani mine meet UN Rapporteur 

~ Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council 13 October 2016
“Traditional owners fighting Adani mine meet UN Rapporteur today:
“Raise ‘egregious failure’ of Qld Mines Minister & Coordinator General to respect Indigenous rights

“The declaration of Adani’s Carmichael coal project as “critical infrastructure” by Qld Government Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham,
is “a political absurdity, and continues the egregious failure of the Queensland Government to respect our rights”,
said Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council senior spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba today,
before a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.

“Mr. Burragubba confirmed he would today raise this new development with Mr. Michel Forst,
who is currently conducting an official visit to Australia.
More detail about his visit is provided below.

“Mr Burragubba said, “Minister Lynham’s declaration is like calling a state of emergency for coal mining. Giving Adani this advantage provides cover for the abuse of the rights of Traditional Owners
who have stood firm in the face of the destruction that would befall their lands, waters and culture
if this massive, inappropriate project were to ever proceed.

““Adani and the Queensland government have used coercive powers under Native Title and State Development legislation, and the threat of compulsory acquisition of our land rights, to drive the development of the mine forward, over our vehement objections.
The Coordinator General, Mr Barry Broe, has been instrumental in making this happen and
this week Minister Lynham handed him even more power to override our legitimate concerns
about the destruction of our environment and the disregard of our rights”, Mr Burragubba said.

“Mr. Burragubba, and W&J youth spokesperson, Ms. Murrawah Johnson, said the meeting today  will build on a previous submission W&J made to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  in which they sought assistance to deal with the failure of both State and Federal Governments  to properly respect the human rights of W&J Traditional Owners, as both Governments  fell over themselves in obscene haste to get Adani’s coal mine approvals out the door. … “

October 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

‘reckless’ and ‘indefensible’ Carmichael coal mine approved by Queensland govt

coal CarmichaelMine2Queensland fast tracks ‘reckless’ and ‘indefensible’ Carmichael coal mine, Independent Australia  Renew Economy 11 October 2016 Minus financial backing, reneging on the Paris Agreement and even ignoring Adani’s own loss of interest in the project, the Queensland Government is fast tracking the Carmichael coal mine, writesRenewEconomy‘s Sophie Vorrath.

IN A MOVE that has been labelled “indefensible” and “reckless” by green groups, the Queensland Government has declared the massive Carmichael coal mine and port proposed for the State’s Galilee Basin as “critical infrastructure”, in an effort to fast-track its development.

State development minister Anthony Lynhamsaid on Monday that the Labor PalaszczukGovernment had invoked special powers to help progress Adani’s $21 billion project, reinstating and expanding its “prescribed project” status to include its water infrastructure…….

while governments of all colours appear to be rolling out the red carpet for the coal project, there are other hurdles it has yet to clear – not least of all economic ones – as coal looks more and more like a high-risk investment.

As John Quiggan wrote last month, a long list of banks and other funding sources have announced they won’t touch the project, or have pulled out of existing finance arrangements.

The list includes the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (formerly a big lender to Adani), NAB, the Queensland Treasury and global banks including Standard Chartered (another former big lender), Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, as well as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale. The U.S. and Korean Export-Import banks and the State Bank of India have been touted as possible sources, but appear to have backed away.

Even Adani Group, the Indian conglomerate behind the project, has appeared to lose interest in its coal plans. And just this week, the energy minister for India – the main market for the coal that would be dug up at Carmichael – called on the country’s power generators to cease coal imports if the nation was to come good on its “One Nation, One Grid, One Price” energy goal…..,9578

October 11, 2016 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Legal challenge to Adani’s Abbot Point plans in Queensland’s Supreme Court

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani’s Abbot Point plans face court challenge,SMH , 7 Oct 16   Whitsunday residents are bound for court in a bid to show the Queensland government failed the environment when it approved a port expansion for Adani’s new mega-coal mine.

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping say dredging required for Adani’s expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal, north of Bowen, could do untold environmental harm and the mine itself will fuel global warming and endanger the reef.

Lawyers for the group will appear in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Friday, arguing Queensland’s environment department failed to properly assess the port project before it gave Adani the go ahead.

The expansion is needed to ship coal from Adani’s planned $16 billion Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin…….

The action group’s case will be heart in the Supreme Court in Brisbane from 10am (AEST).

October 8, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) lodges appeal against Federal Court’s approval of giant Adani coal mine

coal CarmichaelMine219 September 2016  “The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has lodged an appeal to the Federal Court’s decision which found the approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to be lawful.

“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. … “

September 21, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | 1 Comment

Traditional Owners fight on: appeal Carmichael mine Federal Court decision


coal CarmichaelMine2   8 September 2016

“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 10, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation ordered to pay costs for Adani case

coal CarmichaelMine2September 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)

September 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland University of Technology to divest its fossil fuel shares

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…….

September 7, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) a disaster for climate

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

climate-changeFuelling the fire: New coal technologies like UCG spell disaster for climate,9393  Cam Walker 26 August 2016Given 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 AustraliaCam 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

August 29, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Turnbull’s plan to defund Australian Renewable Energy Agency will cause loss of 100s of solar energy jobs in Queensland

Turnbull destroys renewablesQueensland 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, , 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

August 26, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Adani court decision: Traditional Owners say fight to stop QLD’s Carmichael mine continues

19 August 2016

legal actionCourt decision:

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.” …

August 19, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Indigenous challenge to Adani Carmichael coal mine dismissed by Federal Court

coal CarmichaelMine2 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. … “

August 19, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | 1 Comment

The influence of mining companies on governments, especially Queensland

Greasing The Wheels: Report Lays Bare Extraordinary Govt Access For Queensland Miners, New Matilda By  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……

July 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland’s Mt Emerald wind farm – construction to start in December

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……..

July 29, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment