anti-coal

Two protesters from Front Line Action on Coal blocked Aurizon’s coal railway near Bowen for five hours on January 9, calling on the Queensland government to rule out funding for Aurizon.

They prevented any coal trains getting to Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal by locking their arms inside a steel barrel filled with concrete on the train tracks.

The Queensland Labor government is currently considering rail operator Aurizon’s bid for a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan to build a rail link between Adani’s Carmichael coalmine and the terminal.

As 2017 drew to a close the climate movement had much to celebrate. Hard fought campaigns directed at potential financial backers had resulted in Adani’s Carmichael coalmine being a far less certain prospect as one by one financial options dissolved.

With major financial institutions in Australia and overseas ruling out support for the project, Adani had pinned its hopes on China as a possible funding source as well as a market for Galilee Basin coal. In spite of the Australian government oiling the wheels for a deal, all major Chinese banks backed away in the end.

Despite appeals from the Prime Minister to keep it open, AGL has announced it will close Liddell, NSW’s dirtiest coal-fired power station, and repurpose it with clean energy.

This is a blow to the government’s pro-coal agenda, and an important step forward for the transition to clean energy and a better future.

AGL will close Liddell in 2022 as planned and invest in gas, renewables and battery storage as part of the NSW Generation Plan. It is also exploring the feasibility of a pumped hydro project in the Hunter region.

As the decision deadline looms for the $1 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan to Adani for construction of rail infrastructure for the Galilee Basin mega coalmine, a rash of protests erupted in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and at Adani’s work sites near Belyando in Central Queensland.

A sleeper issue in the recent Queensland election was the inaction by mines minister Anthony Lynham on the Land Court’s ruling of May 31 to reject the application by New Hope Coal for the third stage in the expansion of the Acland coalmine, known as Acland Stage 3, in the agriculturally rich Darling Downs.

Another United Nations climate conference (COP23) is over — though many people would have barely noticed, given the lack of media coverage. The Paris Climate Agreement is locked in and, contrary to the Coalition’s inetrpretation, Australia needs to ratchet up its emissions reduction.

This is a useful time to reflect on where Australia sits globally on climate action and what areas are of concern.

Activists from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, Great Sandy Strait Saviours and Lock the Gate gathered in the park across the road from New Hope Coal’s AGM in Ipswich on November 16 with a message for shareholders.

Accompanied by a giant inflatable cow, the protesters’ message was that New Hope is wasting its money on legal battles and public relations campaigns.

More than 100 people joined a peaceful march, organised by 350 Central Queensland, in Yeppoon on November 18.

The march aimed to send politicians and candidates a strong message to start listening to the people and stop “this climate wrecking mega-mine” from taking shape.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palszczuk has announced she would veto the $1 billion NAIF loan to build the railway line to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and the rally called on the LNP to do the same.

Australia’s behaviour at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn (COP23) has been described as that of a bully. Australia has collected a swag of “Fossil of the Day” awards — given daily by climate activists to the country or group doing its best to stop effective action on climate change.

Australia, along with the US, has been disgracing itself in one of the most contentious areas of the climate talks, known as Loss and Damage. Other developed countries, particularly the European Union and Canada, have not been very helpful either.

Renewable energy projects currently under construction in Queensland are set to create a comparable number of jobs to those of the controversial Adani new coal project, if it proceeds. The growth of renewable power generation will create more jobs than have been lost in coalmining.

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