The people of Orange will be adversely affected by the development of the Adani coal mine proposed for Central Queensland. As will the people of Perth, Melbourne, Byron Bay, Broome, Alice Springs and Blayney.
The reasons for this are many and complex. Most importantly, the mine’s devastating effect on climate, at a time when each year for the past 15 years has been successively the hottest on record, means that the Adani mine threatens not just all Australians but all of humanity.
Let’s focus on Australia for the moment though.
This mine will cover an area about five times the size of Sydney Harbour. The greenhouse gas emissions from the Galilee Basin, where the mine is located, would be more than that currently produced by the whole of Australia.
In other words, this development alone would more than double Australia’s emissions at a time when 195 countries, including Australia, signed the UN Climate Agreement in Paris, pledging to decrease emissions to keep global warming below two degrees.
Australian taxpayers may well be footing the bill for a $1 billion loan to Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s company, to fund a section of rail to carry coal to the coast. Politicians who support this use of taxpayers’ funds claim that it would be money well spent in terms of job creation.
Adani’s advertising campaign has claimed that 10,000 jobs will be created from this development, however Adani’s own accountant admitted in court, that the figure would be 1464 jobs. So this amounts to $683,060 paid by taxpayers for each single job created.
Even if 10,000 jobs were accurate, there is no mention by pro-Adani politicians of the 65,000 Queenslanders whose jobs rely on a healthy Great Barrier Reef. So either way; 1464 new jobs or 10,000 new jobs that contribute to the loss of 65,000 jobs doesn’t sound like sound maths or sound politics.
Consider an alternative use of taxpayers’ $1 billion through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF). That $1 billion was loaned to kick-start the development of a Gigafactory to produce the lithium-ion batteries required for solar power storage and the soon to be explosive market for electric vehicles.
Tesla’s Elon Musk, in a recent TED interview, stated that he wants a Gigafactory on every continent, at a cost of $5 billion per factory to build. Each Gigafactory will employ 6500 people. That would be 6500 new jobs that don’t threaten the 65,000 reef jobs, with a development that could effectively decrease emissions by making it easier for Australians to access affordable electric vehicles.
The next meeting for Stop Adani Orange will be at the Environmental Learning Facility at 6pm on Wednesday.