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Australia isn't doing its part for the global climate. Sooner or later we’ll have to pay our share

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, John Quiggin, comments in The Guardian (27.5.19) on the federal government's reluctance to take more meaningful action on climate policy, arguing that the cost of responding to climate change is trivial compared with the benefits.

'As the Australian election approached, the UK parliament declared a national climate emergency. Perhaps, with a different electoral outcome, Australia would have followed suit. Instead, at least for the next three years, we will ignore the emergency while chasing the mirage of coalmines promising to create thousands of jobs.

'That mirage began to fade almost immediately with the announcement that the China Stone project, right next to Adani’s Carmichael mine project in the Galilee Basin, had suspended its bid for mining leases. Other projects in the basin have been on hold for years.

'The prospects for the Carmichael mine are not much better, at least in the absence of a large injection of public money (which may now be on the cards). Adani announced in November that it would provide $2bn of its own money to fund the project. Gautam Adani could afford to spend this much if he chose to do so, but has so far shown no sign of willingness to pour such a large proportion of his personal wealth into an obvious dud. Such announcements have been made before and nothing has happened.

'The coal boom of the last decade will fade away, whatever Australian governments do. By contrast, the climate emergency is not going away and will force itself on our attention sooner or later. When it does, we will face the need to reduce our emissions rapidly and to levels well below the very soft target the current government has set itself.'


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