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StopAdani News and Review
Another year is nearly over and Adani still has shipped no coal - has not even yet dug any up. It’s now more than 10 years since Adani was saying it will be shipping coal within two years. Our fight is on-going.
This year has seen some big wins in the fight.
All of the major financiers dropped Adani, in no small part due to our activism. Now Adani has had to resort to his cronies at the State Bank of India for a $1 billion loan - the world-wide protest against this is on now. We at StopAdani Kooyong, together with ACF Chisholm and good people from PECAN / StopAdani Macnamara played a part by conducting an on-line action recently.
Adani has still not been able to get insurance, as far as we know. Marsh, insurance broker for Adani, was pushed by the movement into developing a climate policy and no longer seems to be involved in finding insurance for the mine and associated infrastructure. All major insurers backed off and Adani was forced to go to the Lloyds of London syndicate insurance market, in which smaller insurers spread risk by sharing it and taking on riskier ventures. The movement responded by taking action against all the insurers in Lloyds who might be in the frame, asking them to state that they will not insure Adani. StopAdani groups across Australia adopted insurers, researched contacts with support from Market Forces and Tipping Point, and bombarded them with emails, phone calls, tweets, LinkedIn contacts and more recently, calendar jams - especially in “hours of power” on-line. There was a major Australia-wide on-line action with hundreds of us on-line, combined with direct action outside Lloyds in London. These actions reduced the number of target insurers at Lloyds from about 30 to fewer than 10. StopAdani Kooyong was credited with “knocking out” two of them. This sort of action will continue next year. Recently, in a surprising reversal, Lloyds has committed to getting out of insuring coal by 2030. This is in the context of and probably in response to concerted ant-fossil fuel and especially ant-Adani activism.
Other actions have targeted Adani contractors. For a full list of these, as well as financiers and insurers and contractors who have ruled Adani out, see here.
Meanwhile, Adani keeps pressing on, with government support.
Adani has been continuing works, digging the first box cut to access the coal seam, clearing the rail line which it now must build to connect to the existing rail link to the port at Abbot Point (which it is in trouble refinancing), building an airstrip and so on. Actions against contractors have continued, and Adani has been increasingly forced to use smaller contractors as the big firms have pulled out. Galilee Blockade, with Ben Pennings at the helm, has done a lot of this. As a consequence, Adani has targeted Ben in court action, claiming that Ben has accessed information about Adani from inside the company and that Ben’s actions together with others have cost Adani millions including higher insurance and contracting costs. Ben’s family members have been followed, and he can no longer be active in the fight. Adani has also targeted the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, members of which served an eviction notice on Adani in September. The Queensland government has extinguished Native Title over the mine site, and Adani has bankrupted Adrian Burragubba, an elder of the W&J, following a succession of court cases.
Adani seems to be feeling the heat on it’s image, however, rebranding itself as Bravus in Australia. This was a risible own goal, as it does not mean brave, being more accurately translated as “crooked” or “mercenary”.
Adani has downsized the mine, although it is possible this is just an attempt to make it look less disastrous - it has the capacity to upside it again.
The Queensland government has finally concluded a deal with Adani over royalties, a deal which provides for an extended royalties holiday. This follows an agreement under which Adani pays very little or nothing for water use. The Commonwealth government and Queensland government have granted all of the approvals required under their relevant Acts, flying in the face of expert opinion about dangers to endangered species including the Black-throated Finch, and to protected environments especially the Doongmabulla Springs. Both governments therefore, are apparently committed to the mine going ahead regardless of the cost.
Coal is looking more and more like a stranded asset - but Adani has a plan.
The price for thermal coal (Carmichael-mine type, burned for power generation) plummeted during the pandemic, but has now surged due to strong demand in Asia - but not for Australian coal in China, due to China’s ban. Longer-term, it is clear that coal is on the way out, due to stronger emissions targets world-wide. Adani apparently plans to get around the problem with his vertical integration model - he mines it, ships it, burns it in his power stations, and sells the power to whomever he can, currently including Bangladesh in a very lucrative arrangement. Adani’s wealth has increased dramatically during the pandemic and he can well afford to run the mine at a loss. His renewable energy business is worth far more than his coal-based business. He is closely enmeshed with the Modi Indian government and can expect very favourable treatment there.
The bigger picture - fossil fuel in Australia
It’s worth remembering that just counting domestic emissions, we are the world’s worst per capita, and that this does not count the emissions we export - Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and is on track to be the world’s largest exporter of natural gas. On a per capita basis, our emissions – including these exports – beat China by a factor of nine. This gives us a huge responsibility to get with the rest of the world in fighting global heating, and perhaps especially to take the opportunity and accelerate the necessity of switching our energy exports from being planet-destroying to planet-saving. We can do this by getting out of fossil fuels and getting into green hydrogen and ammonia exports; and do it rapidly, and to our benefit.
In contrast, if Adani goes ahead it will open up the Galilee Basin to more thermal coal mines, including those of Palmer and Rinehart - continuing governments’ fixation on fossil fuel royalties and obeisance to fossil fuel lobbyists and party donations; jeopardising international action to mitigate the risk of global disaster; and risking our being penalised by other nations for our recalcitrance.
And it’s not just about emissions
Adani is not just about emissions, it’s about local farming and water, and damaging the Great Artesian Basin, where it takes a million years for water to travel from one end to the other.
The traditional owners, the Wangan and Jagalingou people are continuing their fight against the mine, which represents a profound threat to their culture because it risks draining their sacred Doongmabulla Springs, the home of the Rainbow Serpent, the origin of Time. Please consider supporting the Wangan and Jagalingou camapign.
What we must do
So, the fight against the Adani Carmichael coal mine is still at the vanguard of the fight in Australia for the future of the planet and that of our children and grandchildren. In 2021 that fight continues - join us and we can win it. But be advised - this is a long fight and against a determined foe. In the movement, however, we see the major trends in the world are moving faster against fossil fuels and especially coal, and the future is looking brighter than it was even a year ago.