When it comes to the Adani Carmichael coalmine, the spotlight this week has been trained on Queensland as the state government battled an internal split on whether to give the project a royalties holiday. There have also been murmurings in Canberra, where Labor MPs are starting to express public opposition to a project many have been privately wringing their hands about. But to fathom the next phase in the political battle against the project, we need to train our eyes a bit further south. Over this past week in Victoria, the Greens have launched a new fundraising drive to produce placards which will begin appearing shortly around the electorates of Melbourne, Batman, Wills and Melbourne Ports. The placards have a simple message, easily consumed from a passing car or tram.
New coalmines will leave more people in poverty, Oxfam has said in a new report, calling on Australia to commit to no new coalmines and to end public subsidies for coalmining. The report comes as the Queensland and federal governments continue to push for the controversial Adani coalmine in the Galilee basin, signalling potential infrastructure support and "royalty holidays". The government's support for the mine, which would be the biggest in Australia, has been met with a fierce campaign of resistance from environmental, legal, social justice and human rights groups. The Oxfam report, More Coal Equals More Poverty, says the climate change impacts of coal-fired power will disproportionately affect the world's poor and – with most of the energy-poor households in developing countries beyond the reach of electricity grids – new coal-fired power plants won't bring them energy. "Renewables are the clear answer to bringing electricity to those who currently live without it," the report says.
CANBERRA - Prime Minister Scott Morrison's surprise victory in Australia's election was a win for the coal industry and ensures the debate about tackling climate change will continue to polarize the nation. Rather than backing the opposition Labor Party's plans for sweeping cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, voters fell in behind a conservative government that has refused to legislate its Paris Agreement commitments. Morrison once brandished a lump of coal in parliament as a mark of his support for the industry, and in focusing his energy policy on lowering electricity prices has derided the reliability of wind and solar. "The battle to combat climate change in Australia has suffered a major setback," said Frank Jotzo, an academic in climate economics and policy at the Australian National University. "Australia could hugely benefit from the worldwide shift from fossil fuels to renewables. My colleagues around the world are shaking their heads in disbelief about the political system's inability to translate those advantages into reality."
Josh Frydenberg has declined to bring his national energy guarantee back to the Coalition party room for a full discussion before a make-or-break meeting of energy ministers. Frydenberg rebuffed a push by the former prime minister Tony Abbott during Tuesday's Coalition party room meeting for another round of internal consultations about the government's policy, saying he would bring enabling legislation for approval after the energy ministers signed off on it. The energy minister is due to meet his state and territory counterparts in August in an effort to secure agreement for the national energy guarantee, a policy that will impose reliability and emissions reduction obligations on energy retailers from 2020. Abbott took on Frydenberg during a discussion among MPs about the negative political impact of high power prices, demanding to know whether the national energy guarantee was a fait accompli. According to government sources, the New South Wales National Andrew Gee kicked off Tuesday's conversation by telling colleagues that high power prices were killing businesses in his electorate.
The federal resources minister, Matthew Canavan, has attracted a slew of criticism after attacking the Queensland government for trying to "save the planet in 2050". But the move attracted the ire of Queensland-based Canavan, who tweeted: "Instead of trying to save the planet in 2050 the QLD labor should just concentrate on saving jobs today!" Instead of trying to save the planet in 2050 the QLD labor should just concentrate on saving jobs today! Meanwhile, it was unclear to many on Twitter why taking action on climate change and growing employment today would be seen as mutually exclusive aims.