When he was here in April, Bill McKibben spelt it out for us:
- by approving the Carmichael Mine, the role of Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt had descended into farce, “a parody of what an Environment Minister would be doing”.
“I saw [him]in Paris going on and on about his great, deep personal commitment to all of this, and how this was his most pressing personal thing you could ever imagine,” McKibben says. And then Hunt signed off on Adani’s Carmichael Mine, which would be the biggest mine in the Galilee Basin, and the entire Southern Hemisphere.
As far as McKibben’s concerned, “You don’t get to do both of those things.”
McKibben sees Australia as one of the coal industry’s key strongholds. We need to take heed therefore in which direction we are being led.
PM Turnbull said on the campaign trail recently that “there is no public money for Adani”. Thom Mitchell at New Matilda says this has led green groups to take the bait and jump the shark. For example:
- Dan Spencer, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition activist who hooked into Turnbull on the issue earlier today, had said the Prime Minister’s statement “effectively stops Adani in their tracks”. Greenpeace Reef campaigner Shani Tager said “Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are right to rule out throwing taxpayers money at this disastrous project”.
However, the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is an independent body and can do what it likes. The Government knows that and I’m sure the Government has appointed ‘right-minded’ board members.
The reasoning by the Government is, as Trade Minister Steve Ciobo told the Q&A audience on May 30, that “global demand for coal is still going through the roof”.
Lynette Molyneaux from QU did a fact check and found the statement “inaccurate”. However, Prof John Rolfe from CQ University while confirming her finding disagreed that the demand for coal is likely to decline.
He said the demand for coal in SE Asia is likely to triple between 2020 and 2040, while there is uncertainty about China and India. The most likely scenario, therefore, is that “global consumption of coal will continue to increase but at a much slower rate than before”.
However, Adani as a company is hedging its bets and moving into solar, even in Australia, where has identified 650MW of large-scale solar projects. In India
- it has a much more ambitious target to build 10GW of solar by 2022, as part of that country’s target of building 100GW of solar by the same time.
Some see the move here:
- as a “strategic pivot” by Adani Australia, away from their stranded coal mine proposal in the Galilee, and towards solar.
But that would be a limited or even false view, according to Adani CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj. He says:
- the scale of the Carmichael mine and its place in Adani’s integrated “pit to plug” energy business model made it an extremely credible project.
But Mr Janakaraj downplayed the importance of mining to the Adani Group, saying it was only a small part of the Indian conglomerate’s diverse range of businesses.
“Adani is often called a mining giant, I would like to make this statement very simple and clear: we are not a mining company,” he told the Engaging with India conference, sponsored by The Australian Financial Review and the Australia-India Business Council, in Sydney on Tuesday. “Adani is a large infrastructure company with verticals in ports, energy and logistics businesses. The coal mine that we do have ambitions to open in Queensland is an integrated play that we have in our energy sector business.”
So, who knows, it might go ahead after all.
Adani is the leading company in solar generation in India, and
- aimed to become a “leading generator of renewable power in Australia” and intended to own, operate and maintain the power plants, “lead the solar cost curve without the need for government subsidies and grants”, and become a major participant in renewable energy certificate trading schemes.
Wikipedia says Adani is the largest port developer and operator in India, owns the largest edible oil brand in a joint venture, and was ranked India’s most trusted infrastructure brand by The Brand Trust Report 2015.