anti-coal

Divisions about a carbon price are hardening among Australia’s big businesses. Two distinct positions seem to have emerged in the corporate boardrooms.

Some corporate groups are backing the federal government’s call for a price on carbon because they say it will allow for a more certain environment for investment.

Nine CEOs of big Australian fund managers and superannuation companies linked to the Investor Group on Climate Change have formed a new panel to lobby the government for a carbon price.

Helensburgh is not renowned for climate activism. A coalmining town, Helensburgh was established around the Metropolitan colliery, Australia's oldest continually operating coal mine, in the 1880s.

The coal transnational Peabody Energy, which owns the Metropolitan, sponsors local activities such as school sporting teams and community fairs.

However, 35 people attended a climate-focused public meeting in the NSW south coast town on November 2.

“The coal seam gas industry is facing a rural revolt with farmers yesterday threatening to risk arrest and lock their gates to drilling companies”, the November 2 Brisbane Courier Mail said.

“A massive expansion of the industry was ignited on the weekend when BG Group-owned Queensland Gas gave the go-ahead for a $15 billion liquefied natural gas plant at Gladstone that will be fuelled by coal seam gas from the Surat Basin. Santos, Origin and Shell are all trying to firm up their own massive LNG projects.”

How much is QR National worth? With the sell-off of the massive freight and rail infrastructure part of Queensland Rail launched on October 10, will the “investment community” here and overseas gobble up at least 1.46 billion of the 2.44 billion shares on offer at between $2.50 and $3?

If it does, the float will be worth between $6.1 billion and $7.32 billion for Queensland’s coffers (including at least $1.525 billion in QR National shares) and QR National’s managers, like those of Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, will have “earned” $65 million in fees.

In a win for community campaigners and the environment, BHP Billiton has dropped plans for a massive long-wall mine under the pristine Dharawal State Conservation Area (DSCA) on the NSW south coast.

The decision came on October 26 after a review by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission that said society would be better off without the mine.

Importantly, the review backed up the argument made by community groups that “remediation”, where the company would take responsibility for cleaning up the site, is a myth in these circumstances.

The seat of Brunswick is arguably the most hotly contested seat in the November 27 Victorian parliamentary elections. Based on results at the recent federal election, the new Labor candidate, Jane Garrett, is tipped to beat Greens candidate Cyndi Dawes by only 0.6% of the vote.

Learning from the criticism of Labor’s negative federal election campaign, Garrett has adopted the slogan “equality, social justice and tackling climate change” in a bid to win back voters from progressive parties.

Not so long ago, the polar ice sheet made it almost impossible to circle the North Pole by sea.

But in June, two boats set off to do just that. By mid October, both returned to port successful — the first ships to sail around the pole in a single summer season.

It’s likely the feat greatly tested the crews’ skill and endurance. But their achievement is no cause for celebration.

The Arctic is often called the “planet’s refrigerator” because of the role it plays in regulating the Earth’s climate. Now, it’s clear the refrigerator is breaking down due to global warming.

The following statement was adopted by the Trade Union Climate Change Conference held in Melbourne on October 9.

* * *

This conference of Victorian union activists and local climate activists commends the report by Beyond Zero Emissions and Melbourne University’s Energy Research Centre. The report outlines a technically feasible and economically viable way for Australia to transition to 100% renewable energy within 10 years.

Despite all the rhetoric on climate change, both the NSW and federal governments consider it acceptable to allow seismic testing and drilling to explore for gas and potentially oil off Australia's east coast.

Despite the potential to develop entire new industries in clean, renewable energy, governments will not or cannot break their addiction to fossil fuels. They have literally placed the entire offshore Sydney Basin on the market for fossil fuel extraction; an area of 6000km², extending from Wollongong to Port Stephens.

Australia’s big banks would like you to think they care about climate change and the environment. But don’t believe them.

A new report by Greenpeace Australia has revealed the “big four” — Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB — are investing billions of dollars in Australia’s dirty coal boom.

Burning coal for energy is Australia’s single biggest contributor to climate change, making more than a third of the country’s greenhouse gas pollution. Australia is also the world’s biggest coal exporter — and the export trade is growing fast.

Pages

Subscribe to anti-coal