Score one for the planet

Several pieces of news in quick succession, have made in clear that the nightmare prospect of six mega-coal mines in the Galilee Basin has been staved off, at least for the foreseeable future. The key to the whole process is the Carmichael mine proposed by Indian conglomerate Adani. The rail line and port expansion proposed by Adani is necessary if any of the other mines are to proceed. Now the goods news

* Having already sacked its contractors, Adani is laying off most of its own staff, their non-denial denial notwithstanding. The break with Korean Steel company POSCO is particularly notable since POSCO was a likely equity investor and could have brought in debt funding from the Korean Export-Import bank
* The Federal Court overturned Minister Hunt’s approval of the project. While the grounds were technical, the decision raises the possibility that the whole process will need to be reassessed in the light of the adverse information that
* The Commonwealth Bank, the last likely source of debt finance for the project has ended its role as advisor

The remaining question is why, with no mine remotely in prospect, the Queensland government is still calling for expressions of interest in dredging for the proposed Abbot Point expansion. Hopefully, they have just been going through the motions. But, with the latest news, it’s time to stop throwing public money at this mirage. The tender process should be halted, at least until, and unless, the project is re-approved.

81 thoughts on “Score one for the planet

  1. @Megan
    For a moment I thought you meant that was one use of plastic I’d missed.

    Glass jars in some cases, crockery, better sealed aluminium and steel pans, etc, maybe a return to wooden barrels? I used to work in the food industry and, at a quick guess, 90% of all our food products were in plastic of some kind.

    One could make a case that burning any petroleum products that could be used for more durable/valuable products is close to criminal. Well, yes, it’s already that but maybe we could up the sentence?

  2. @Ronald Brak
    My objection is to ‘fuels’ not fossil although as I am sure you know oil is not a fossil fuel. Why here’s PROOF*
    Oil. The 4th Renewable Resource.

    I suspect we may also find a lot of better uses for coal than heating but it’s not a subject I have looked into nor have the knowledge to do so.

    * Note obligatory nut-bar Upper Case usage

  3. @jrkrideau

    Yes, when I proposed “Glass jars?” I was replying to this part of your comment:

    I was thinking the other day while fighting with box of cling warp that a lot of cooks are going to have to start thinking of other ways to store things …

  4. @J-D
    What is the closest equivalent (federally) in Canada to the ALP?

    I need some kind of cheatsheet to who is what in Australian politics.

    I did note that they both are red. 🙂

  5. @jrkrideau

    Canada’s NDP (New Democratic Party) resembles the ALP more closely than does any other Canadian party (although there are significant points of difference I could mention).

  6. “MARK COLVIN: It’s shaping up as one of Australia’s biggest environmental contaminations, with precious groundwater and hundreds of square kilometres of prime agricultural land at risk – and people claiming they’ve been left seriously ill.

    For years, successive Queensland governments allowed mining company Linc Energy to ignite seams of coal underground at Hopeland, west of Brisbane, and experiment with the gases given off.

    The idea was to produce cheap diesel fuel.

    But the State Government now says the project – intended to spare the environment – was in fact a massive environmental time bomb.

    The ABC has obtained the key investigation report outlining the extent of toxic contamination to groundwater, soil and air at Hopeland.”

    What about this?

  7. @jrkrideau

    A lot of plastics are harmful to the environment too. Perhaps we would be better off ceasing fossil fuel burning AND greatly reducing plastics manufacture.

    On a related issue. With kitchen appliances and white-goods my wife and I have often observed that is the plastic components that break first and by a long way. These breakages necessitate expensive repairs (repairman visits) or with appliances can mean having to throw away an otherwise still entirely serviceable appliance. Meanwhile, all the metal parts are still good. Where metal is not good (insulation needs) there are probably other materials or better plastics available than the clearly cheap ones currently used. Plastic is vile stuff and should be used as little as possible.

  8. I nominate the yaccas skink as Australian of the Year. Tough as, mate, stopped a coal mine.

  9. @alfred venison

    As I understand it you have first hand knowledge of both countries.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I perceive that the closest approximations (at present, policy-wise) are:

    Conservatives – LNP
    Liberal Party – ALP
    NDP – Greens

  10. while head of the ccf in 1959, the ndp’s first leader, tommy douglas (see “tommy douglas” in wikipedia) set in motion what in 1962 would become the first single payer universal public health plan in north america, for a province with less than a million population (see “saskatchewan doctors” strike” in wikipedia). this plan eventually became medicare, nemesis of the republican party & pride of canadians. his daughter (see “shirley douglas” in wikipedia) is a social activist to whom donald sutherland was briefly married & who kiefer sutherland calls mum. -a.v.

  11. ALP/LNP = neo-liberal, free-market fundamentalist, pro US empire, pro-war, vote together on anti-rights “terrrr” laws;

    Conservatives/Liberal Party = ditto

    NDP/Greens = social democratic policies, pro-mixed economy, “left” of other two parties.

  12. Since there isn’t a handy message board or sandpit…..

    Keen fans of democracy as it is supposed to be practiced in Australia would be familiar with the formal process whereby senators may introduce something that never stands a chance of even getting off the ground, and it goes a bit like:

    “I ask that general business notice of motion ….blah, blah, blah,…. be taken as a formal motion.”

    “Is there any objection? There being no objection…blah, blah, blah…”

    Anyone who listens to parliament would be familiar with that script – and there is almost NEVER any objection. I can’t remember ever hearing one, and I listen to parliament whenever I have the opportunity.

    So, here – today in the Senate – we have the ALP cutting off at the roots a Greens motion to recognize that we shouldn’t torture people:

    Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:54): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 782 standing in my name for today, relating to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, be taken as a formal motion.

    The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

    Senator Moore: Yes.

    The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

    Senator WRIGHT: I seek leave to make a short statement.

    The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

    Senator WRIGHT: I am greatly concerned that the government has chosen to deny me a chance to put this important motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This OPCAT was voluntarily signed up to by an Australian government in 2009, and since then both Labor and coalition governments have inexplicably dragged their feet in its ratification. OPCAT would ensure independent monitoring and reporting on places of detention in Australia, all those places where some of the most overlooked marginalised and powerless people are kept detained: prisoners in jails and police lockups, patients in psychiatric facilities, young people in juvenile detention, and asylum seekers. With very recent examples of deaths in custody and cruel and inhumane treatment of people detained, it is very disappointing that I have been prevented from putting this motion today. It is crucial to fully ratify the protocol and set clear time frames to implement. Australia’s own good standing is at stake.

    Senator FIFIELD: Just for the sake of accuracy, while the government does not support Senator Wright’s motion, it was the opposition that denied formality on this occasion.

    Senator MOORE: Yes, Senator Wright, we did deny formality to this important motion, because it is our longstanding practice. Where we have an issue such as this which is complex and creates a number of complex situations and also determines significant discussions across all states and territories, we believe it is not appropriate to use the notice of motion process for that, and that is our standard practice.

    ALP fascists actually going out of their way to be more fascist than the LNP.

    That sort of behavior can only be driven by a deep psychopathy, it has nothing to do with playing politics or democratically dealing with policy arguments. The ALP is one extremely sick puppy.

  13. @Ikonoclast
    Plastic is vile stuff and should be used as little as possible.

    Well, perhaps a bit vile but I’d still prefer oil etc to go there than up in flames.

  14. @Megan

    Well it does sound like the LNP is very close to our Conservatives (fondly known as the Cons) here in Canada while it’s difficult for me at this distance to see if the ALP are more Liberal or NDP.

    I’d probably have to move to Australia for a while to get a decent feeling for the party differences, about late October to Easter sounds about right.

    I don’t think, though, that your current PM has gotten quite as bad as ours but he is young in office yet.

    A few not-so-flattering words about ours:

    Another of Harper’s less attractive qualities is a perceived lack of loyalty toward others. One-time political adviser Tom Flanagan points out that Harper has betrayed or estranged many in the conservative movement who were at one time senior to him – Joe Clark, Jim Hawkes, Brian Mulroney, Preston Manning. This, Flanagan believes, is the product of Harper’s need to dominate whatever environment he is in. “I think he has this very strong instinct to be in charge,” he said. “He really wants to be the alpha figure, and he’s achieved that. So part of that is to dispose of anyone who might be considered to be a rival in some sense or another.”

    Flanagan also asserts that “there is a huge streak of paranoia in Stephen. And he attracts people who have a paranoid streak. And if you don’t have one to begin with, you develop it, because you’re constantly hearing theories.” At its root, “looking back, there’s a visceral reluctance to trust the motives of other people,” Flanagan concludes. …

    And the author is not a hostile journalist.

  15. that’s close enough for jazz, Megan, but see this, too, re: greens -v- ndp on oil pipelines:-
    ” In B.C. the Green party is not be trifled with. In the debate, the rest of the country got a glimpse why. ” –
    also, there’s a transcript of the recent debate somewhere on the maclean’s site that might be worth your looking at; control-f the name “elizabeth may” and see what she had to say. -a.v.

  16. @alfred venison

    The statement that the Canadian Labour Congress merged with the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation to form the New Democratic Party is found in other sources as well as Wikipedia, but is nonetheless incorrect. The Canadian Labour Congress didn’t merge with anybody; it continued to exist as an independent organisation. A correct statement is that the Canadian Labour Congress was a co-sponsor of the formation of the New Democratic Party. (The part about the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation merging into the New Democratic Party, however, is correct.)

  17. @alfred venison

    So, if we’re comparing parties on the basis that the NDP was the progenitor of Canada’s Medicare, the next question must surely be to ask which Australian political party was the progenitor of Australia’s Medicare?

  18. @alfred venison

    ‘Close enough for jazz’, perhaps, but not close enough if played straight.

    Researchers in political science have not yet paid attention to the Meganometric method of evaluating political parties by how much Megan personally hates them and rating as equivalent those parties that have similar measurements on that scale. Perhaps somebody should recommend it to them as a promising new line of enquiry. Or perhaps not.

  19. read the talk tab under ndp in wikipedia:-

    That [merger] is the term that is normally used. The CLC under the merger became part of the NDP, while individual members of the CCF became part of the NDP.

    split hairs all you want, it seems to be your forte. and you can call it the “Megan-venison” metric, if you like, i stand with Megan. -a.v.

  20. @alfred venison

    “split hairs all you want, it seems to be your forte. and you can call it the “Megan-venison” metric, if you like, i stand with Megan.” – a.v.

    I second that (or is it “third that”?). It will have to become the “Megan-venison-Ikonoclast” metric.

  21. @Ikonoclast

    Oh No! Not a split among the hard left already?

    And what this about jazz being “close enough”? Have you not heard of the Jazz police?

  22. @Julie Thomas

    Well. “Jazz Police” sounds more like funk to me. Is that me being a Jazz Policeman? It certainly wouldn’t be anywhere near my favourite L.C. song.

  23. Since there is no Monday Message, I’ll plop this link here. A recommendation is that doctors are paid more if the health of their patients improves. Am I alone in thinking that will have the perverse effect of doctors avoiding chronic illness patients, or patients who could decline precipitously?

  24. @Donald Oats

    No, you are not alone in thinking that.

    Other likely perverse outcomes of using a “price signal”:
    – initially diagnosing illness to be worse than it really is (and therefore overstate “improvement”);
    – overstating “improvement” (get up and walk! I’ve cured you) and therefore prematurely ending treatment.

  25. @Ikonoclast

    This should be in the Sandpit now there is one. I agree, it is not one of his best songs by any means; but it’s intriguing.

    I wonder which jazz musicians he had in mind. I know a few who imagine themselves to be the policers of the purity of the jazz, and they didn’t like this song or find it amusing either.

  26. @alfred venison

    I noted that the term ‘merger’ is used a fair bit. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s inaccurate. A false statement is not converted into a true one by repetition (although it’s been said that a lie travels halfway round the world while truth is pulling on her boots). The statement that the CLC became part of the NDP (offered in support of the use of the term ‘merger’) is false. Note that on the talk page all you’ve got is one person saying (correctly, as it happens) that the CLC still exists as a separate organisation and one other person saying (incorrectly) the CLC became part of the NDP, offering no evidence and citing no source. Note also that the web page of the CLC itself says nothing about its being part of the NDP. Don’t you think that if the CLC was part of the NDP the CLC would know about it? (Even if you’d rather rely on Wikipedia, the Wikipedia page on the CLC says nothing about its being part of the NDP.)

    As for the transnational comparison of political parties, on the one side I have the evidence of the official opinion of the NDP and the ALP themselves that they are similarly positioned parties; on the other side I have the evidence of the opinion of a few blog commenters. To me the first carries more weight than the second. Likewise, I have the evidence of the official opinion of the parties involved that the closest to a Canadian equivalent of the Australian Greens is not the NDP but rather (unsurprisingly) the Green Party of Canada, and again that carries more weight with me than the opinion of a few blog commenters. I am well aware that if a few blog commenters choose to believe that they know where these parties stand better than the parties do themselves, they can’t be stopped.

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