SMH reports that Environment Minister Greg Hunt re-approved the controversial mine last week, just two months after the Federal Court set aside a previous approval for the Adani mine.
But the mine’s viability remains uncertain due to the slumping coal price and issues around financing the project.
National Australia Bank has said it will not fund the mine and other banks are being pressured by green groups to not get involved.
Sixty-one prominent Australians including Wallabies star David Pocock, a trio of former Australians of the year and eminent scientists and economists have pressed the newly turned 61-year-old Malcolm Turnbull to stop any new coal mines and to put an international moratorium on coal on the agenda of the forthcoming Paris climate talks.
The argument from the government is that Australia has a moral obligation to provide coal to India so that people who are not on the energy grid will have access to power.
What is disappointing about this statement is that the policy of the Abbott government of treating the Australian electorate as idiots, appears to be continuing under Turnbull.
The problem is not the source of energy (be it coal, solar, diesel, wind power), the problem is the nature of the grid.
The problem for the poverty-stricken of India is that they have no access to power.
The problem is not that they need more coal.
And there are two important points to remember about contributions to climate change.
The first is that Australia’s contribution, per capita, is amongst the highest in the world. So we do have an option to demonstrate to the world, how a high-polluting country can make a contribution to protecting the environment. It is called international leadership.
The second point that the petition makes is that the extent to which Australia contributes to global warming is not just the level of carbon emissions from Australia. It also must include carbon emissions from Australian coal exports
It is reasonable to argue that if we didn’t sell coal to India or China, then someone else would.
But it’s also equally reasonable to argue that if the world’s coal producers were to say: “Enough” and ban the development of new coal mines, then this would slow the degradation of our environment.
It might reverse the trend. But it will be a start.
Turnbull has the opportunity to become a leader on the international stage by saying: “Australia will develop no new coal mines. We need better solutions to the world’s energy problems.”
The question of coal is a test of leadership. A recent articles in the media have asked whether Turnbull could be a great leader.
He won’t be.
Leadership will require a different approach to climate change.
Footnote: Everybody knows that Turnbull has personal views on climate change that are far removed from those of his party. His problem is that he’s doing nothing to turn his personal commitment into policy.
You might not have like Tony Abbott. I certainly didn’t. But he had the power of his convictions.
Alert alert: Google is not searching any results for Tony Abbott. There is a God.