Australia to lay coal grogan on G20?

Much better from Crikey’s Bernard Keane today after yesterday’s garbage:

With Abbott desperate to keep climate off the G20 agenda (because it’s not an economic issue … an even more bizarre form of denialism than claiming climate change doesn’t exist), the announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time for him. The Coalition’s entire post-Malcolm Turnbull strategy on climate action has been based on an assumption that there would be no concerted international action on the issue, especially by the biggest economies. That would allow Australia, with its risible bipartisan target of a 5% emissions reduction by 2020, to escape serious scrutiny (indeed, our emissions have now started rising again after a period of decline). As Treasury stated in 2010, the government’s Direct Action policy won’t even achieve that 5% at its then-budgeted allocation — which has since shrunk considerably. But Abbott has said there won’t be any more money allocated to it even if it falls short.

Whatever implausible hopes the government has that Direct Action will be enough turn to pure fantasy given that Australia now has no excuse not to lift its emissions reduction target from 5% to 15% or higher in the wake of international action. That’s why the Obama-Xi agreement is so damaging: it leaves the Coalition with no place to hide on an issue where it has long wanted to have it both ways — to behave like the denialists and resource company advocates they are but pretend to want to address climate change so as not to lose mainstream voters.

It’s pretty simple, really, with the G2 moving on aggressive climate change mitigation we look extraordinarily naked, though no doubt unreasoning Republicans will offer us a fig leaf.

Meanwhile, the G20 may actually throw up a coal clanger, from Paddy Manning  also at Crikey:

It will be strange optics if, only days after China and the United States unveiled a historic climate deal, India and Australia proclaim their commitment to building the biggest coal mine in the southern hemisphere.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Australia tomorrow ahead of the weekend’s G20 leaders summit in Brisbane, and he will address Australian Parliament on Monday. Last week Queensland Premier Campbell Newman hinted that Modi was likely to make a major announcement about Indian power giant Adani’s Carmichael project, which will open up the Galilee Basin, a whole new thermal coal province.

Adani is tight-lipped, but environment sources fear the announcement could confirm Adani as “first mover” in the Galilee — giving the company an open-ended holiday from state coal royalties — or go further and abolish any appeal rights against the project.

Adani is the last man standing in the Galilee, and Newman is on a veritable crusade to ensure the $16 billion project, including a 400-kilometre rail line and new export terminal at Abbot Point, is developed as soon as possible.

I have never argued that Australian coal should be shelved. In fact, one reason that I’m so supportive of a carbon price is that it would enable the coal industry to transition not collapse and its continuing existence would be offset by emission reductions globally. But this project is a shocker in the timing and in the execution.

Very high cost, Galilee makes absolutely no economic sense beyond a few years of construction jobs for Campbell Newman while ensuring the ongoing decline in the thermal coal price, hitting incomes and profits in exchange for greater volumes that actually add nothing to local activity except as an accounting entry to prop up government egos.

We should all hope that this project fails on every front and for every reason.

Houses and Holes
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Comments

  1. Crony capitalism (crapitalism), aka fat-envelope development will see Galilee go ahead against all logic.

    Australia maaaaaate……our heads might be in the sand, but we’re still open for business.

  2. “With Abbott desperate to keep climate off the G20 agenda (because it’s not an economic issue … an even more bizarre form of denialism than claiming climate change doesn’t exist), the announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time for him.”

    Abbott is just bizarre full stop, isn’t he?

  3. “It’s pretty simple, really, with the G2 moving on aggressive climate change mitigation we look extraordinarily naked, though no doubt unreasoning Republicans will offer us a fig leaf.”

    A G2 HnH? Can we have a G2? I suppose we can.

  4. Obama has promised to cut US emissions by between 26% and 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. Australia measures emissions cuts against 2000 levels, and calculated in that way an equivalent 2025 target for Australia would be about 30%.

    Calculating the cuts necessary to achieve that target from Australia’s current emissions trajectory, the Climate Institute says it would cost $9bn in 2025 to buy the necessary abatement at a very low $8 to $9 a tonne, or $30bn if carbon abatement costs closer to $30 a tonne in 2025, as projected by Treasury.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/13/emissions-reduction-tony-abbott-says-australia-is-acting-not-talking

    • ‘Possible’ ‘Might’ ‘May’

      ‘Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has asked Coal India, the world’s largest miner of the fuel, to more than double its output to 1 billion tonnes by 2019 to feed existing and upcoming power plants.

      Modi has promised round-the-clock power to all Indians by 2022 and recently announced the nationalised coal industry would be opened up to allow private firms to compete with Coal India, which accounts for 80 percent of the country’s output.’

      Imo highly ambitious, highly unlikely. If Modi confirms Adani Gallilee, absolutely not.

      • Whether they accomplish their goal to reduce reliance on imports, I don’t know, but it makes the idea of Modi announcing a Carmichael project very remote. Unless he’s not on speaking terms with his own energy minister.

      • Well …

        ‘Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet top Australian business leaders, including BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie and HSBC Bank Australia CEO Tony Cripps, at a roundtable in Melbourne next week.

        The meeting will take place at the Government’s house on November 18 after Modi has attended the G20 summit in Brisbane.

        Governor of Victoria Alex Chernov is hosting the chief executives’ roundtable during which the visiting Indian leader would interact with the who’s who of the Australian industry and business houses.

        Top Australian business leaders, including Visy Industries global chairman?Anthony Pratt, BHP Billiton CEO Mackenzie, Rio Tinto (Australia) MD Phil Edmands and HSBC Bank (Australia) CEO Cripps, will attend the roundtable.

        The meeting would also be attended by almost 20 top Indian industry leaders including Chairman of Essar Group Shashi Ruia, Gautam Adani of Adani group, Anand Mahindra of Mahindra Group, BP Rao of BHEL and Vishal Sikka of Infosys Ltd.

        Other CEO’s who will be part of the roundtable include ONGC CMD Dinesh K Sarraf, Chariman Emeritus of Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd Sudhir Mehta, Chairman of Lanco Infrastructure L Madhusudhan Rao, President of SP Jain School of Global Management Nitish Jain, CMD of Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd Arun Kumar Jagatramka and Austalia India Institute director Amitabh Mattoo. ‘

        …Lots of discussion.

  5. Perhaps you all need to look beyond the $$ and consider Indian public power generation, energy security and the potential for Adani to sell highly subsidised coal to Modi’s government for Indian domestic power generation.

    Sometimes friends in high places can help make up any dollar shortfall,