Australian news, and some related international items

For Australian climate scientists, climate change is becoming a personal and serious concern

research shows that if there isn’t a reduction in CO2 emissions, there will be up to 50 extra really hot days a year in northern Australia by the end of the century.

Professor David Griggs, who recently retired as director of the Sustainable Development Institute at Monash University, said Australia is in denial about climate change.

“Australians will have to adapt or die,” he said.

Climate scientists reveal their fears for the future, Lateline  By Kerry Brewster, Cradling her newborn baby girl, heatwave expert Sarah Perkins Kirkpatrick admits to feeling torn between the joy of motherhood and anxiety over her first-born child’s future.

“I always wanted a big family and I’m thrilled. But my happiness is altered by what I know is coming with climate change,” she said.

“I don’t like to scare people but the future’s not looking very good.

“Having a baby makes it personal. Will this child suffer heatstroke just walking to school?”

Dr Perkins Kirkpatrick is one of several climate scientists who Lateline spoke to, seeking a range of opinions from experts at some of the top climate change research units within major universities in Australia. Continue reading

June 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, personal stories | Leave a comment

Australian and International Hurdles to Adani Coal Mine Expansion

Final chapter in Adani loan deal, Saturday Paper, Karen Middleton , 24 June 17 “……..While the Queensland government has promised a royalties concession if the development goes ahead, it has also decided not to process the NAIF loan if approved – something that may require federal legislation to circumvent.

And for the Carmichael mine to proceed, the company must have concluded an Indigenous land use agreement, or ILUA, with the area’s native title holders.

Last week, the federal government and Labor combined to pass legislation to reverse a Federal Court ruling that all members of a registered native title claimant group in any relevant area were required to sign an ILUA for it to have force.

The move affected agreements well beyond the Adani ILUA and was welcomed by some Indigenous groups and opposed by others.

That followed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s promise to Adani owner Gautam Adani during a meeting in India earlier this year that he would fix the native title problems that were preventing the development from proceeding,

But the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners are challenging the ILUA on three other grounds. The court hearing has been set down for next year.


Originally, Adani had said it expected to achieve financial close on its Carmichael project by December this year. But recently that date was revised to March – the same month the court is due to hear the ILUA challenge.

What is not clear is whether there is a NAIF deadline by which an applicant must prove it has fulfilled all requirements, or whether an application can remain live for as long as that takes……

In the latest public criticism of the whole proposal, an international group of high-profile conservationists wrote to Malcolm Turnbull late this week urging the government not to proceed.

The Ocean Elders, which include ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle, businessman Richard Branson and Jordan’s Queen Noor, wrote that the mine would worsen damage to the Great Barrier Reef that Australia, as its custodian, had a global obligation to protect.

The group’s spokeswoman, marine biologist Earle, told ABC Radio that Australia should reject fossil fuels and hence the Carmichael mine, despite its advanced state of official approval.

“It’s never too late as long as the people and as long as rational individuals with power can change course, now that we know what we know,” Earle said.

A prime ministerial spokesman declined to comment on the letter.

One of the conditions of the NAIF approving a loan is that it must not be likely to “cause damage to the Commonwealth Government’s reputation or that of a relevant State or Territory government”.

Opponents of the mine are gearing up to argue that such global bad publicity should be grounds for refusal.

In her speech to the Cairns conference, Sharon Warburton said the NAIF must both reflect government policy and be independent of it.

“First NAIF must align with Commonwealth policy, and that is a whole-of-government position, remembering it is taxpayer funds we are deploying,” Warburton said. “Secondly – importantly – we cannot lend funds if all regulation at both a Commonwealth and state level are not in place.

“The other tremendously important parameter under which we operate is that it was set up to be an independent body making decisions independently of all outside influence.”

Given the attempts at influence being made on all sides of the argument, that may prove to be a challenge.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Twists and turns in the saga of Adani loan deal for giant Carmichael coal mine

Final chapter in Adani loan deal, Karen Middleton , Saturday Paper, 24 June 17, While the dealings of the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility remain shrouded in secrecy, pressure mounts over funding for the Adani rail line.   “…….Among those addressing the annual Developing Northern Australia conference, held this year in Cairns, was Sharon Warburton, the chairwoman of the somewhat opaque Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, known as the NAIF.

The NAIF is a $5 billion-government-owned lender, set up to make concessionary loans to companies planning infrastructure projects in northern Australia that are of demonstrated public benefit and would not otherwise be able to proceed…..

The NAIF has not yet lent any money. But Warburton is hinting that it’s close to a decision on at least one application, the one that’s attracted the most controversy and has become an open secret: the request from Indian mining conglomerate Adani for $1 billion to fund a railway line to support its proposed Carmichael coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

“We know there is a lot of interest in NAIF and the Adani rail project,” Warburton told the conference on Monday. “I can confirm we are in our due diligence phase on that project.”

That translates as the final stage of assessment, with three other applications apparently also reaching finality. But, Warburton said, she could not say any more about Adani than that…..

Greens senator Larissa Waters said clean coal was “a lie”.

“This is straight from the big tobacco playbook,” Waters said. “Remember ‘light’ cigarettes? To meet the commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep global warming to safe levels, we need to reach zero pollution in the electricity sector transitioning away from coal. Building more coal-fired power stations is simply incompatible with the science.”

Environmental activists continue to mount a strenuous campaign against any kind of coal-fired power and the Adani mine development in particular, on the grounds that it represents an investment in a backwards-looking energy source that will add to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and damage the Great Barrier Reef…….

The company has sent mixed messages on whether it needs the NAIF loan to proceed, initially saying it wasn’t essential and then saying it was, a distinction crucial to NAIF’s considerations.

Details of any NAIF decision will only be published after it has been finalised and within 30 days of being taken.

Larissa Waters and Labor senator Murray Watt succeeded last week in establishing a senate inquiry into the NAIF, and Waters is pushing to have Adani called before it.

In recent senate budget estimates committee hearings, Labor and the Greens attempted to extract information on the status of the NAIF’s deliberations in general and the fate of Adani’s bid in particular.

As part of its processes, the NAIF must consult with Infrastructure Australia on projects it proposes to fund.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale asked Infrastructure Australia chief executive Philip Davies whether it had received a submission on the Adani rail line, as per the requirement that it must assess all projects seeking more than $100 million.

Davies said it had not…..

….NAIF director Karla Way-McPhail, who is chief executive of two companies that service the mining industry.

Minister Matt Canavan confirmed to a senate estimates hearing this month that Way-McPhail, who has spoken out in support of opening up the Galilee, was a friend whom he had recommended for the board…..

NAIF chief executive Laurie Walker declined to tell the senate estimates committee whether Way-McPhail or any other NAIF director had recused themselves from any discussions on the grounds of a potential conflict of interest. Walker said that was “not information that I think is appropriate to disclose”.

She said more than six conflicts had been declared…..

The Greens’ main focus has been on the suitability of the loan applicant rather than the assessors.

Larissa Waters wants the government to insert a “suitable person” test into the NAIF’s process for assessing loan bids, arguing she believes it would rule out Adani.

The Greens also want the environmental history test strengthened within environmental law and are calling for Adani’s approvals for the Carmichael project to be reviewed on the basis of “revelations about their environmental and corporate history” in activities overseas.

Waters has produced a private member’s bill to reflect the concerns but the government is not obliged to bring it forward for a vote……

despite Adani having announced with flourish recently that it had taken the final decision to proceed, others argue there are still obstacles to be cleared.

Tim Buckley, a director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, believes it is not viable without massive taxpayer subsidies.

“The green light that Adani made such a fuss about a couple of weeks ago was actually just a sham,” Buckley told The Saturday Paper.

He has written a paper suggesting “defer, delay and pray” appear to be the company’s unspoken watchwords……despite Adani having announced with flourish recently that it had taken the final decision to proceed, others argue there are still obstacles to be cleared….

June 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Great Barrier Reef headed for death, without a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

UNESCO warns climate change means time is running out for World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, Daryl Passmore, The Courier-Mail, June 25, 2017

THE Great Barrier Reef will be dead by the end of this century without a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a world-first study warns.

The threat to Australia’s natural wonder is detailed in the first global assessment of climate change impacts on coral, released yesterday by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

It comes just a month before the World Heritage Committee meets in Poland to consider the condition of the Great Barrier Reef and the effectiveness of a management plan introduced by the Queensland and federal governments to protect it.

“Soaring ocean temperatures in the past three years have subjected 21 of 29 World Heritage reefs to severe and/or repeated heat stress, and caused some of the worst bleaching ever observed at iconic sites like the Great Barrier Reef,’’ it says.

“The analysis predicts that all 29 coral-containing World Heritage sites would cease to exist as functioning coral reef ecosystems by the end of this century under a business-as-usual emissions scenario.”

The report calls on all countries with World Heritage coral reefs to act to reduce net greenhouse emissions to zero in order to save them.

On current trends, the assessment predicts, global warming will increase by 4.3C by 2100.

Under that scenario, the Great Barrier Reef would suffer severe coral bleaching twice a decade by 2035 – “a frequency that will rapidly kill most corals present and prevent successful reproduction necessary for recovery of corals.’’

The diversity of life on reefs has led to them being been dubbed the “rainforests of the sea”. Covering less than 0.1 per cent of the ocean floor, they host more than a quarter of all marine fish species.

Australian Marine Conservation Society spokeswoman Imogen Zethoven said the Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs were in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal.

“Yet the Australian government appears hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine (planned for central Queensland), talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great barrier Reef and failing to do its fair share of global pollution reduction,” she said.

 “The Australian government is not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk, it is endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world,” Ms Zethoven said.

“The majority of Australians believe the state of our reef is a national emergency, but the Australian government doesn’t care.”

June 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Great Barrier Reef’s huge economic value to Australia

Great Barrier Reef ‘too big to fail’ at $56b, Deloitte Access Economics report says, By Louisa Rebgetz The Great Barrier Reef has a total asset value of $56 billion and is “too big to fail”, according to a new report.

Key points:

  • Deloitte Access Economics says GBR has calculated economic, social and iconic value of $56 billion
  • Tourism is the biggest contributor to the total asset value making up $29 billion
  • But tourist figures are down 50 per cent in the Whitsundays — operators say “this is as bad as it was during the GFC”

Deloitte Access Economics has calculated the economic, social and iconic value of the world heritage site in a report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Tourism is the biggest contributor to the total asset value making up $29 billion.

The Great Barrier Reef generates 64,000 jobs in Australia and contributes $6.4 billion dollars to the national economy, the report said.

It states the brand value, or Australians that have not yet visited the Reef but value knowing it exists, as $24 billion.

Recreational users including divers and boaters make up $3 billion.

The report does not include quantified estimates of the value traditional owners place on the Great Barrier Reef and it said governments should consider doing more to protect it.

Climate change remains biggest threat

It also references the back to back coral bleaching events which have devastated the reef and says climate change remains the most serious threat to the entire structure.

“We have already lost around 50 per cent of the corals on the GBR in the last 30 years. Severe changes in the ocean will see a continued decline ahead of us,” the report states.

“Today, our Reef is under threat like never before. Two consecutive years of global coral bleaching are unprecedented, while increasingly frequent extreme weather events and water quality issues continue to affect reef health,” said Dr John Schubert AO, Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators executive director Col McKenzie said the reef is crucial to the industry.

“We don’t have an industry without the Barrier Reef being in good condition.”

He said the negative coverage of the reef relating to the destruction caused by Cyclone Debbie earlier this year and the bleaching event is having an impact on visitor numbers.

Mr McKenzie said tourist figures are down 50 per cent in the Whitsundays and it is being felt along the Queensland coast.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

A renewed push for climate change action in Australia

Climate forces consolidate as coal backers rush for government help, Mark Kenny 22 June 17 Forces on the green-energy side are positioning for a renewed climate change debate in coming months, as the Turnbull government struggles to convince internal dissenters of the need for tougher carbon reduction measures.

The nation’s preeminent advocate of strong laws against carbon emissions, the Climate Institute, will close its doors on June 30 after a dozen years in operation, and transfer its assets and intellectual property to high-profile progressive think tank the Australia Institute.

The financial terms of the new arrangement have been kept confidential.

As the recipient body, the economically-oriented Australia Institute will in turn establish a dedicated “Climate and Energy Program” with the aim of stepping up the public pressure on lawmakers to meet Australia’s obligations under the Paris Accord.

It comes as some opponents of renewable-energy subsidies have called for the government to directly finance investment in coal-fired power.

 Its final annual survey of community attitudes to climate change will be released within days. “At a time when climate sceptics are revealing themselves to be economic sceptics, it is significant that there is a coming together of a key Australian economic think tank and a leading climate organisation,” said the Australia Institute’s executive director, Ben Oquist.

“As capital increasingly seeks out clean-energy projects with a long and sustainable future, the lions of the free market have become lambs of largesse, so desperate to keep coal going they’d have taxpayers carry an unconscionable risk which is both financial and environmental” he said.

Climate Institute chairman Mark Wootton said the Australia Institute had been selected from a shortlist of strong candidates.

“Its expanded role in the climate change debate comes at a pivotal moment for policy development, economic transformation, and public expectations,” he said.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel this week told the National Press Club that investors tended to favour new projects in wind and solar over coal because they could be started small and then scaled up as demand rises. His clean energy target proposal is now mired in internal government debate as conservative MPs push for the CET model to be skewed to allow for the subsidisation of new coal generators, or old generators retro-fitted with carbon capture and storage, to qualify for partial clean energy certificates.

Under pressure to reverse rising household electricity prices – driven largely by a scarcity value on local gas – the government has announced plans to mandate reserves for domestic access ahead of export sales – even where that gas is already contracted.

That has raised eyebrows with private capital markets wary of new sovereign risks caused by changing government policy.

The government has also left open the possibility of directly financing new generation coal-fired power, given the absence of private sector investors.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s peril: ignoring the climate ‘disaster alley’that we are already in

Australia, deep in climate change’s ‘disaster alley’, shirks its moral responsibility Ian Dunlop, 

A government’s first responsibility is to safeguard the people and their future well-being. The ability to do this is threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating effects of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. Climate change poses an existential risk to humanity that, unless addressed as an emergency, will have catastrophic consequences.

In military terms, Australia and the adjacent Asia-Pacific region is considered to be “disaster alley”, where the most extreme effects are being experienced. Australia’s leaders either misunderstand or wilfully ignore these risks, which is a profound failure of imagination, far worse than that which triggered the global financial crisis in 2008. Existential risk cannot be managed with conventional, reactive, learn-from-failure techniques. We only play this game once, so we must get it right first time.

This should mean an honest, objective look at the real risks to which we are exposed, guarding especially against more extreme possibilities that would have consequences damaging beyond quantification, and which human civilisation as we know it would be lucky to survive.

Instead, the climate and energy policies that successive Australian governments adopted over the last 20 years, driven largely by ideology and corporate fossil-fuel interests, deliberately refused to acknowledge this existential threat, as the shouting match over the wholly inadequate reforms the Finkel review proposes demonstrates too well. There is overwhelming evidence that we have badly underestimated both the speed and extent of climate change’s effects. In such circumstances, to ignore this threat is a fundamental breach of the responsibility that the community entrusts to political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

Report shows how Australia is underestimating security threats from climate chnage

Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat
Senate inquiry starts as report into political, military and humanitarian risks of climate change across Asia Pacific released,
Guardian, Ben Doherty 21 June 17, As the Senate launches an inquiry into the national security ramifications of climate change, a new report has warned global warming will cause increasingly regular and severe humanitarian crises across the Asia-Pacific.

Disaster Alley, written by the Breakthrough Centre for Climate Restoration, forecasts climate change could potentially displace tens of millions from swamped cities, drive fragile states to failure, cause intractable political instability, and spark military conflict.

Report co-author Ian Dunlop argues Australia’s political and corporate leaders, by refusing to accept the need for urgent climate action now, are “putting the Australian community in extreme danger”. Continue reading

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Liberal Senator challenges Tony Abbott on his climate ;policy u-turn

Tony Abbott: Concetta Fierravanti-Wells challenges former PM on climate policy ‘about-face’ ABC News, PM  20 June 17 By political reporter Tom Iggulden, Former prime minister Tony Abbott is being accused of damaging Australia’s international reputation and his own political credibility in another outbreak of internal coalition infighting.

Key points:

  • Prime ministers are judged on what they’ve done when in government, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says
  • Criticism follows Tony Abbott’s comment his Paris Agreement targets were “aspirational”
  • She calls on Mr Abbott to reflect on his actions for the good of the party

International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, once seen as an ally of Mr Abbott’s, says he has performed a “total about-face” on climate policy that is threatening to turn off investors.

“Credibility is a very important commodity in politics,” she told PM.

“Any former prime minister will be judged on what they’ve actually done when they were in government, not on what they say they should have done or could have done subsequently.”

The criticism follows Mr Abbott’s assertion last week that the Paris Climate Agreement targets he devised as prime minister in 2015 were “aspirational”.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells pointed to “categoric” comments Mr Abbott made in 2015 when he announced the “pledge” to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030…….

June 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Crikey names and shames the Liberal Neanderthals opposing Clean Energy Target

Who are the Liberal MPs worried about Turnbull’s Clean Energy Target?,, 16 June 17 Crikey intern Will Ziebell looks back over past public comments to work out which MPs could end up dissenting. Various media outlets reported this week that at least 22 Coalition MPs spent Tuesday’s joint party room meeting voicing their concern about the proposed Clean Energy Target.

With the numbers supposedly evenly divided between the Liberals and the Nationals, it’s worth taking note of exactly who among the Liberals is on the record as being BFFs with coal. So here are the defenders of coal, in their own words:

Tony Abbott   The former PM is still ardently attached to the rock he’s described as good for humanity…….Kevin Andrews……Ian Macdonald…….Craig Kelly……Andrew Hastie……Chris Back…..Rowan Ramsey…….Russell Broadbent……Angus Taylor……Tony Pasin……

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Giles Parkinson outlines ways to improve the Finkel Energy plan

Five ways to improve Finkel’s energy blueprint By Giles Parkinson on 13 June 2017 [good graphs] 

First thing first, this scheme won’t amount to a hill of beans unless the Paris climate targets are adopted, and that does not mean the modest down-payment from the Coalition on which this blueprint is modelled, but a serious attempt to deliver on the pledge to limit average global warming to well below 2°C.

Quite why the chief scientist didn’t choose to make much of the chief science questions is a bit of a mystery, but he did underline the importance of bipartisan and federal and state agreement on this. The reaction, to date, shows this is as difficult now as it was when the climate-denying, fossil fuel-backing Coalition hard right thrust Tony Abbott to the head of the party in 2009.

Can we see some modelling please? The actual energy blueprint is vague on details. Some results of the modelling are shown, such as the modest fall in consumer bills (above), and the lingering presence of coal-fired generation in 2050 (25 per cent).

But the inputs are not revealed, neither are comparisons with other options, or how they are stress-tested with a 2°C target. Most consumer watchdogs would warn against buying something with so little information, and no warranties, but that is – in effect – what we are being asked to do. Or, at least, may be what the Coalition back bench is being asked to do.

 Don’t leave the clean energy target mechanism in the hands of the gentailers.  We saw what happened with the renewable energy target, as the big gentailers fought to have the target cut, then went on a capital strike, and then cashed in as the prices for renewable energy certificates were pushed to their penalty level.

The gentailers have too many vested interests to protect, so a better and more efficient mechanism would be for a new authority to auction capacity at various points along the target. This has been used very effectively across the world, and at state level too. It gets a good price and avoids the market being held to ransom.

Be smarter about energy storage. There is no doubt that many solar plants, and wind farms, will be happy to add battery storage to their installations, and Finkel’s report acknowledges that these combinations will beat either gas or coal on both costs and emissions. But Finkel’s proposed obligation for ALL new wind and solar plants to have storage seems like regulatory overkill, adding unnecessarily to prices.

Only in South Australia has the penetration of wind and solar reached a level where storage is now required, according to the CSIRO, which suggests that anything under 40 per cent wind and solar is “trivial” to the management of the grid (presuming the grid managers are on top of their brief). So making a no-argue requirement now seems overkill, and the approach of the Victoria and Queensland state governments – calling for bids for cheapest storage – as they roll out more wind and solar seems more sensible.

Make this transition quicker, smarter, cleaner. As we noted last week, this is not Grid 2.0, it’s actually not a whole lot different from business as usual. This review was an opportunity to redefine those boundaries, but comes up short, mainly because it does not focus enough on the implications and the benefits of all the solar and storage added behind the meter by households and businesses. The CSIRO estimates $200 billion will be spent by consumers over the next three decades.

They will want to know that this investment is worth it, and they are not locked in to a utility business model that has failed to evolve, and continues to impose costs on consumers. Indeed, half of their bills comes from the transport of electricity, which means that even if the wholesale component was free, it could not match the cost of solar and storage. Which does not mean, for a moment, that everything would go off the grid, or should; but unless there is some regulatory recognition that technology changes and costs are moving fast, then they will simply not be prepared to deal with it.

And let’s not forget, all consumers will be wanting more than $90 savings a year over the next decade after seeing their bills going up $300 a year. That’s one step forward and three steps back. There is simply no reason why more savings cannot be delivered, given the falling cost of wind, solar and storage.

June 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Professor Marcia Langton promoting Big Coal, not Aboriginal Rights

The problem is that Langton’s argument boils down to mining, good, anything that stands in its way, bad. That’s why it falls apart when faced with Adani’s proposed coal mine in the Galilee Basin, slap-bang in the middle of which is Wangan and Jagalingou country.

Adani’s proposed mine has become the Coalition’s cargo cult and its free-marketeer ministers have happily ditched their principles to promote it, fund it and change laws (including the Native Title Act) to try and force it to happen.

For this treatment to come from a non-Aboriginal person would be suspect, but for it to come from a fellow Indigenous Australian is surely unforgivable.

Why Marcia Langton is wrong on Adani,10396  Tom Allen 13 June 2017 For all her powerful and peerless leadership of Aboriginal rights, Professor Marcia Langton has it wrong on Adani.

Her speech to the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) last week made headlines because she provocatively accused environmentalists of wanting to send Aboriginal Australians back to terra nullius. That’s simply wrong. But perhaps just as bad is the fact that, just as the #StopAdani campaign is gearing up, Ms Langton was shilling for Big Coal. Continue reading

June 14, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Adani could be looking for an excuse to back out of unviable Carmichael coal project

As Adani continues to find multiple reasons to delay progress on Carmichael, one might argue that perhaps it is looking to holdbacks on a hoped-for string of royalty/loan/water subsidies as the excuse it needs to withdraw from the project.

Adani’s ‘pit-to-plug strategy’ is fraying at both ends  By Tim Buckley on 13 June 2017 Gautam Adani, the chairman of the Indian conglomerate Adani Group, has long argued that the Carmichael coal proposal in the Galilee Basin of Australia is a key part of his company’s “integrated pit-to-plug strategy.”

The Adani logic for the Carmichael project assumes that the traded price of seaborne thermal coal is irrelevant to the commercial viability of Carmichael because the coal would be used within the Adani family group of companies.

The company line is that Carmichael venture needs to be viewed, in other words, strictly in the context of the overall profitability of the pit-to-plug  strategy.

 IEEFA sees Carmichael as both unviable and unbankable if it is tied to actual coal markets (with the forward price of thermal coal back down to US$66/t), which is why the pit-to-plug strategy Adani talks up is the linchpin said to be holding the proposal together.

It’s a shaky foundation on which to proceed, however. Last week Adani Power reported that its core asset —the 4.6 GW 100 percent import-coal-fired power plant at Mundra—is no longer viable, news that brings what was an already questionable argument for Carmichael into further question.

In IEEFA’s view, any decision to walk away from Carmichael would require a A$1.4 billion (US$1.05billion) write-off for Adani Enterprises (AEL), a very unpalatable outcome for Adani Group bankers owed a collective US$15 billion, particularly if Adani Power (APL) were forced to also take a US$1 billion write-down on Mundra on top of the US$954 million net loss just reported.

  • Adani Power’s financial distress is growing, which is why it has just recorded that US $954 million loss,  Continue reading

June 14, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Marcia Langton “poorly informed” on Adani coal mine, says leading native title lawyer

Leading Indigenous lawyer hits back at Marcia Langton over Adani  Tony McAvoy says traditional owners are ‘proud and independent’ and are not being used by anti-mining activists to block the $16bn mine, Guardian, Joshua Robertson, 9 June 17, One of Australia’s leading native title lawyers has spoken publicly for the first time as a traditional owner fighting to stop the Adani mine, a campaign he said was driven by “proud and independent people” who were among the best-informed Indigenous litigants in the country.

Tony McAvoy SC, who became Australia’s first Indigenous silk in 2015, said the Wangan and Jagalingou people were keenly aware of how their priorities differed from environmentalist allies in a battle to preserve their Queensland country from one of the world’s largest proposed coalmines.

McAvoy dismissed claims by the prominent Indigenous academic Marcia Langton that Indigenous people had become “collateral damage” as the “environmental industry” hijacked the Adani issue.

He said the rhetoric of Langton and Warren Mundine, who likened anti-Adani campaigners to colonial oppressors running roughshod over Indigenous self-determination, “serves a purpose for them but is just so inaccurate”.

The barrister said to suggest that “the greens are puppet masters pulling the strings and we’re somehow puppets” was wildly off the mark and disrespectful to the many families opposing the mine, including his.

The W&J are the only Indigenous group in Australia to have, in McAvoy, a senior counsel with expertise in native title law within their ranks.

“We are likely to be one of the best informed claimant groups in the country, we have many people who are experienced in native title, including my own input, and representation by an extraordinary team of lawyers,” he said.

McAvoy is part of a contingent within W&J who have mounted legal challenges to an Indigenous land use agreement (Ilua) with Adani, contesting the right of pro-Adani representatives to approve a deal previously spurned by their claim group. The miner resurrected an Ilua last year with majority support in the W&J native title applicant, then sought to register it with the native title tribunal.

But the W&J opponents challenged the deal in the federal court, on grounds including that the pro-Adani applicant members were voted out in a claim group meeting, and that a rival meeting that endorsed the Adani deal was not legitimate.

Then Adani’s hopes suffered a blow with the McGlade native title case, which found that an Ilua was invalid because not all Indigenous representatives had signed it.

The shock precedent prompted the government to put up a bill changing native title legislation to safeguard what it argued were hundreds of Iluas thrown into doubt because they had a majority but not all the signatures of claimants.

The bill also contains amendments that would pave the way for Adani’s unregistered, contested Ilua.

Langton lashed out at Greens and environmentalists on Wednesday for delaying the government’s bill “in order to bolster their campaign against the Adani project”……….

McAvoy said Langton was “very poorly informed” on the Adani issue.

He and a swathe of the W&J argue there should be no rush to pass law changes dealing with critical issues around Indigenous property rights through future land access deals.

McAvoy argues for “splitting the bill” to validate Iluas already registered with the National Native Title Tribunal, but not those unregistered, such as Adani’s. McAvoy said he hoped this proposal would find favour with Labor and crossbench senators, with the bill due for voting as early as next week.

The W&J objectors were open about the fact that “we have an alliance between our objectives [and those of environmentalists] so that we can make use of each other and we do that”, he said.

But the group raises its own funds for its legal challenges.

“And more than that, we are very, very aware that our interests of preserving our country are not entirely aligned with the green interests,” he said……..

A land access deal is crucial to Adani gaining finance for the mine, initially needing $3.3bn.

The miner last week cited the end of this year as its deadline for finance. But the federal court this week signalled a trial to decide the fate of Adani’s deal with the W&J would take place in March 2018.

McAvoy said that even if the Senate “amends the Native Title Act in the way proposed [by the government], that proceeding is still to run its course”.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

False promises about Adani coal project have sucked in Queensland Premier and Townsville Mayor

Not that it was in writing. The only assurance Queenslanders truly had was a photo of a handshake. The premier ought to have stopped there, but she kept going.
For a premier under pressure to create jobs in a state with a population of 4.6 million, of whom more than 160,000 were unemployed in May this year, supporting a coalmine that will see job losses from elsewhere seems a serious folly.
the myriad companies that make up the Adani conglomerate make it nearly impossible to follow the money. What tax on profits will be paid in Australia? How much will be siphoned off to Adani’s “marketing hub” in Singapore and the Adani family company in the Cayman Islands?
Revealed: Gautam Adani’s coal play in the state facing global-warming hell  The extraction of mammoth coal deposits in Queensland’s Galilee Basin will only exacerbate climate change. Who supports the mines – and why? The Age, Anna Krien, 9 June 17  “…….
It was December 2016 when Gautam Adani flew into Townsville to meet Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the city’s mayor, Jenny Hill. Yes, there was some animosity: a couple of hundred people gathered on the foreshore to protest against Adani’s proposed coal mega-mine, and two native-title owners, Carol Prior and Ken Dodd, were also on his trail.
But for the nation’s kingmakers, Adani may as well be Midas. That very morning he had nipped down to Melbourne to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the Coalition’s “conditional” offer to chip in a $1 billion loan to his project. After the meeting in the Townsville City Council chambers, there was the obligatory handshake photo with the Queensland premier, and then he was gone – a “fly-in, fly-out” billionaire.

Continue reading

June 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, employment, Queensland | Leave a comment