Australia is currently the biggest contributor of coal to the world. However, the Queensland government still opts to twice the amount of its export by exploiting the sacred ground of Galilee Basin to mining. The Indian mining corporation – Adani, is behind the schemes of attempts to capitalize on the indigenous Land of Wangan And Jagalingou people. The planned Carmichael mine will rank top as one of the most extensive mining sites in Australia and the world.
The amount of political scandals already stirred up in the process of planning to mine on the sacred ground has attracted abundant amount of negative attention. The Adani project has obviously been manipulated in favor of the Corporation, even bypassing the proper consent of the First Nations people. Elders of the land has reported to be deliberately misinformed, communities were turned on one another for financial gains, protestors being voted out of the committees after raising concerns of fearing damages to the cultural heritage, burial ground, and ancient art.
An elder of the Juru people said: The Adani project will have an impact on the environment, our cultural heritage and our rights as caretakers and custodians of our country–for generations to come. Adani is destroying everything that’s spiritual to us. Our rock art is as if our ancestors wrote a letter and left it there for us, it tells us: “This is where you come from and this is where your spiritual connection is. This is your country”.
In 06/2017, the Federal government has amended the law surrounding Native Title; allowing corporations such as Adani to precede projects only with a majority rather than a consensus, of those in negotiation. This has been met with an overwhelming wave of opposition. According to the natives: ‘it does not have the consent of Aboriginal people’.
Through organized protests and international petitions, indigenous owners of the Land have made successful advances in influencing major financial institutions to suppress financial support from the project. This maneuver has effectively cut-off the lifeline of the Adani mining plans. However, despite the opposition of the people, the Australian Government still strongly subsidizes Adani; billions of liters of water consumed in the mining process will not be charged. The Government is also planning to give hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of loans to Adani. This is all done regardless of the corruption scandal surrounding the CEO of the corporation, Gautam Adani. If the mining operation is eventually approved, this undoubtedly will gravely undermine the future rights of all indigenous people.
The Australian government (let along Adani) is also quite negligent to the environmental impact. The project is estimated to have a life span of mere 60 years and export approximately 60 million tons of coal per year; the mines would in turn produce up to 4.64 gigatons of carbon dioxide. It is reported that another eight more mining sites may be planned after the first one. Coal is transported to India via a specialized railway from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point coal port, which, is situated at the Great Barrier Reef. Hundreds of coal ships would then pierce through the Reed to reach their destinations. In order for the port to accommodate for the magnitude of the transporting operation, seafloor would inevitably be deepened; unbalancing the equilibrium of the delicate aquatic ecosystem.
The emission of 4.64 gigatons of carbon dioxide is undoubtedly catastrophic. According to Greenpeace, this is equivalent to rising the greenhouse gas emission by 20%, resulting in a 6 degrees Celsius increase in the average global temperature. The outcomes of drastic temperature changes as such are the acceleration of warming of the oceans, leading to the annihilation of its coral reefs. It is estimated that nearly 25% of the countable marine species rely on the reef for their biological development, and consequently approximately five-hundred million people rely on the reef for the livelihood. According to Imogen Zethoven of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the black-throated finch would not escape the fate of extinction if this project receives a go-ahead.
The promise of its economic boom and jobs are also quite bleak. The price of coal is declining over the years and increasing its supply would only accelerate its decline in price. There is also an overwhelming trend in the pursuit of renewable energy globally. The biggest markets of coal, China and India, has reduced the demand over the years and shifted their emphasis towards developing energy self-sufficiency. The investments in the associated railway and coal port would only increase the risk of them becoming stranded assets. In addition, leaders (of countries or companies) who are negligent towards climate change in such investment would be held legally liable.
The industrial development of Galilee Basin will impact negatively on other industries, most of all, tourism and agriculture. The extreme weather brought upon by climate change will have direct shock to the economy of agriculture and tourism industries. The resulting extreme heat and severe drought will drastically decrease the yield of crops. The bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef will cost Australia billions of dollars in tourism.
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