Who Wants Dirty Coal for Christmas?

Early on Christmas Eve 2015 Santa and a bevy of pin-up elves got stuck on the Minister Who Stole Christmas’ rooftop

GregGrinch1 Santa and his elves have got stuck on the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt’s, rooftop to protest his approval of the Abbot Point coal port.

Just days after it was discovered the Queensland Government was hiding plans to build a secret second port for the Adani Carmichael mine the Turnbull Government has approved the facility, entailing another massive dredging project in Reef waters, with untold damage to marine life.

ClimActs co-convenor Deborah Hart said, ‘The timing of this announcement couldn’t be more cynical and sneaky. The Minister Who Stole Christmas is hoping the last minute scurry of Christmas will deter protestors and muffle their voices. If there’s one thing we know from Paris, no amount of government suppression of civil society will deter it when it comes to climate change’.

Earlier in the year the Mackay Conservation Group defeated the Carmichael mine in the Federal Court. Adani’s appalling record of flouting environmental regulations has since been exposed. Minister Hunt has given approval to a company with a documented history of bribery, corruption and environmental destruction to build one of the biggest coal ports in the world.

As Hart said, ‘And this is the first honoring by the Turnbull government of the promises it made at the COP21 – within the fortnight. It is truly Orwellian, if not farcical, the claims being made by Queensland Minister for the Environment, Anthony Lynham, that extracting and exporting coal is somehow part of their stated plan to transition to renewables. It’d be funny if our kids’ future didn’t depend on that transition. And this from the state whose treasury has declared the Carmichael mine “unbankable”, as the price of thermal coal slips to beneath $60 a tonne. Does anyone bank on this guy? Or the Federal Minister for the Environment for that matter? None of the 4 leading financial institutions in this country do, and nor do 14 major global banks, who aren’t prepared to back the Adani Carmichael mine.’

The project, proposed by Indian mining giant Adani will produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal for export a year, to be shipped through the Abbot Point terminal which is located close to the Great Barrier Reef. This new approval will permit more than a million cubic metres of dredging in Great Barrier Reef World Heritage waters.

The world’s largest reef brings in A$6.4 billion a year to Australia in direct spending and employs more than 64,000 people. Hart noted, ‘Tourism it seems doesn’t add up on the ledger of Minister Hunt’s business model. The annual 2 million visitors the local economy depends on are hardly going to continue coming to a bleached, silted reef, are they?’ she asked.

As climate scientists are finding new evidence of accelerated global warming with methane plumes erupting from seabeds, and new modelling on ‘unstoppable’ Arctic sea ice melt with 30-100 cm seal level rises by 2100, this approval of this coal port is grossly negligent towards future generations and their intergenerational right to a safe and just climate.

As the warmest year on record draws to a close, the decision by the Australian government to further lock our economy into dirty polluting fossil fuels makes a mockery of the commitments we made of a 26% cut in emission on 2005 levels by 2030 at the COP21 talks, ‘miserly as they were’, said Hart. ‘We can see clearly from this approval that the COP21 commitments are not binding. Who will hold this government to account?’

Hart added,  ‘Rather uncharacteristically there’s no chimney up on Minister Grinch’s roof, so poor Santa and his elves are stuck up here, trying to recover Christmas from the Minister who stole it, as he actively and knowingly endangers future generations. So Santa and the elves are whiling away the hours by dropping coal in festive ribbons in the Minister’s down pipe. He’ll love it, what more could a man with such demonstrated investments in coal want more for Christmas?’

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