The development of Adani’s Carmichael mine has always been sold as a job-creating venture. In fact it will be a highly automated mine, creating jobs mostly in the cities. A new report has found that the development of Carmichael and the subsequent development of the Galilee basin will cost about 12,500 jobs in existing coal mining regions and replace only two in three workers.
From new work published by The Australia Institute, it works like this:
- Based on coal industry analysis, central estimates of employment reduction are 9,100 in the Hunter Valley, 2,000 in the Bowen Basin & 1,400 in the Surat Basin compared to a no-Galilee scenario. Galilee mines are likely to employ between 7,840 and 9,800 people, resulting in overall negative impact on coal jobs.
Wood Mackenzie modelling has shown that the effects will be on the Hunter Valley, Bowen Basin and Surat Basin.
- They estimate that Galilee Basin production of 150 million tonnes per year would reduce coal volumes in other areas by 116 million tonnes in 2035 relative to a baseline scenario with no Galilee Basin development.
Here’s the graph of the effects:
Bowen Basin is least affected because most of its mines produce metallurgical coal. In Surat the effect comes later, and is actually on mines that have not yet opened.
People are slow to get their heads around the notion that the world is moving away from coal:
The International Energy Agency has predicted “the end of the boom years for coal” and a halving of global demand by 2040 under a scenario that assumed a Paris agreement baseline.
John Quiggin has commenced a series on the future of coal with a look at thermal coal power plants. There is plenty scope for cherry picking statistics, and he’s given plenty of links to follow. This is the essence of what he finds:
- The number of plants cancelled since 2010, nearly 200 per year, is substantially greater than the number still in planning. The crucial question is whether the trend of cancellation will continue, so that the vast majority of planned plants are never built. That’s what needs to happen if we are to have any chance of saving the global environment.
The evidence from the table shows that the necessary scale of cancellations is possible. If the 2010-2017 trend continued for another five years, the pipeline of planned projects would be wiped out**. Such a total wipeout is unlikely, but it’s equally unlikely that all the projects in the list will go ahead. I’ll try to say a bit more about this in later posts.
Here’s the table, if you have a magnifying glass:
Announced + pre-permitted + permitted equals 903. 467 are under construction. A total of 1551 have been cancelled 2010-17, including 1026 in India and China combined.
Canavan is trumpetting the prospect of coal regaining its spot as top export earner, but, from his own department, this is the picture:
Meanwhile India says it intends to launch a tender for 100 gigawatts of solar power, 10 times the size of the current largest solar tender in the world.
The tender may not be practical, but it indicated intent.
The bad news, really bad, is that the Courier Mail tells us this morning (pay-walled) that Adani have achieved funding for the Carmichael mine, subject to financing the railway line, which they say is close.
Policy makers, politicians, public servants and industry leaders should take account of the notion the Hansen got it right, and what that means for their fiduciary duty.
I’ll need to listen to it again, but recently Richard Fidler interviewed Michael Kimmelman on The world’s sinking megacities. Many are in danger from sea level rise, as well as pumping out the aquifers beneath them. Parts of Djakarta are sinking 20 cm each year. We know that Shanghai and surrounds are vulnerable and go spongy with even one metre of SLR. In the south, around Guangzhou I think, there are over 30 million people in newly built mega-cities similarly exposed.
The Millennium drought here was the worst in 400 years. We appear to be in the grip of another one. In some places it rained in 2009, but then has been dry since 2011.
Sometime soon the world will wake in fright and we will have stranded assets all over the place.