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David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. Time to look at the bigger issues, DLS?


    You might think humans would learn from disasters like this. Apparently not yet.

    Australia suffered a terrible drought for years, ending farming in parts of the country. The Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 killed 173 people. Then torrential rains flooded out coastal cities and towns.

    No matter mate. Australia is steaming full ahead to expand their coal exports into world climate-wrecking status equal to Canada’s infamous Tar Sands. Here is what you haven’t heard.

    Let’s tune in to what is happening “down under”, with Georgina Woods, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

    [Woods interview]

    Australia is already the world’s largest exporter of climate-killing coal. When you add up the thermal coal (for electricity and heat) and the coking coal (to make steel) it’s been around 300 million tons of coal a year. Australia is keeping Japan going. Japan is a huge coal importer. But Australian coal also powers Taiwan, more of China every year, and now India.

    An Indian company GVK Group just bought into one of the biggest coal conglomerates, run by the climate denier billionairess, Gina Rinehart. Rinehart buys newspapers and TV stations, and then installs deniers like Andrew Bolt into prime time. I feel sorry for the Aussies as this coal-powered media creates a big fog about climate change science.

    The other big commercial competitor in Australian media is Rupert Murdoch. His Fox News outlets in America continually shout down climate change. It’s obvious the Australian media has been polluted by coal smoke.

    What shocks me about the rapid expansion of coal and climate denial in Australia. It seems like such an insult to all those who lost their lives in the horrible fires, big floods, and agricultural droughts that have struck Australia time and time again in recent years. How can anyone doubt the climate is changing after all that?

    Then we have the simple fact that the Great Barrier Reef, a treasure to Australia and the world, is bleaching and dying mainly due to global warming. Are Australians ready to let these great coral reefs die, to provide more short-term jobs in the coal mining industry?

    Apparently: yes! The government and corporations have just announced a giant new coal find inland in Queensland called Galilee.

    They want to set up nine new coal mines there. Currently the biggest coal mines in Australia churn out about 30 million tons a year. Just two Galilee coal mines will produce twice that, 60 million tons a year.

    Of course they’ll need 5 new coal ports to ship it all out. Several of them are located right in the World Heritage Area allegedly protecting the Great Barrier Reef. These coal ships will navigate the coral reefs, and if there is an accident, it all goes into the coral. Blighty!

    Greenpeace Australia has just released a new report “Cooking the Climate and Wrecking the Reef”. Find it here.

    Greenpeace writes:

    “If these mines proceed, when they reach maximum production, the emissions from burning the coal would be 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. If the Galilee Basin were a country, it would be the seventh biggest emitter of carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels in the world.

    And apart from becoming a key driver in global warming, these mines will also exact a terrible cost on farms, water supplies and coastal communities.”
    If all that Australian coal gets burned, that alone could take the carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere from the current 394 parts per million, to 550 parts per million. We’d be back to the dinosaur climate, with sea level rise over 100 meters!

    Find out more on the Greenpeace campaign to stop the coal disaster in Australia here.

    That just can’t be allowed to happen. The Australian farmers are gathering up to stop their fields from becoming open pit coal mines. Their alliance is called “Lock the Gate.” They are also trying to stop coal seam gas.

    Australians are getting used to coal revenues in their economy, and to fund everything from hospitals to opera halls. Meanwhile, they can kiss the Great Barrier Reef goodbye, and get ready for the fires and floods to come, produced by that very same coal. It’s a dirty business. Australia has limitless solar energy – time to convert to clean, mates!