Report: Catherine King says Adani is against Australia’s national interest but not willing to stop it.

“Catherine King says that she does not personally believe the mine is in Australia’s best interests”

This post is a guest post by Sandra Hawkins who recently visited the Federal MP for Ballarat. She wrote the following from notes taken during the meeting, interrupted by Catherine King who wasn’t comfortable with notes being taken, then by memory. Catherine King doesn’t like scrutiny regarding her weak position on climate change and Adani.

 


 

image1Today Monday December 10, I met with Catherine King, shadow Minister for Health and my local federal MP to discuss the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I left her office feeling very disappointed and dejected.

Catherine had already told me during email correspondence that Labor is the party for strong action on climate change. She had recommended I read Labor’s National Policy Platform draft which is to be put before their national conference just a few days away.

I started to take notes while I was there but Catherine wasn’t comfortable with that. She said she felt I must be going to report back to someone.

I noticed throughout chapter 4 ‘Tackling climate change, securing our energy future & addressing our environmental challenges’ that there is a gap between the sense of urgency of the IPCC report and what Labor proposes. In Labor’s document there is no acknowledgement that the carbon budget is blown. There is support for fracking; mention of development of all energy resources; using revenues from mining, oil and gas for economic development and poverty alleviation.

The IPCC says we must not only slash emissions but actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Labor says it will cap emissions but eventually reduce the cap.

The IPCC says 1.5 degrees warming is too high, Labor’s draft policy document keeps referring to keeping under 2 degrees.

I left her office feeling very disappointed and dejected. I’m not convinced our local Member of Parliament fully appreciates the peril we are in due to climate change not being addressed effectively or urgently enough.

In regards to Adani, Catherine King says that she does not personally believe the mine is in Australia’s best interests. She said a federal Labor government would have no say over such state government decisions except through Environment and Biodiversity legislation. Because the Coalition have already passed it through this legislation she thinks it will be operational by the Federal election. If Labor was elected and then somehow rescinded these legislative approvals she says we’d lose or weaken the environmental protections of the legislation and the coalition would have cart blanche next time they were in.

She wouldn’t agree to stating actual opposition to it, just the belief of it being not in the national interest.

Catherine spent some time explaining to me that Labor had been proactive on addressing climate change with Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and then Julia Gillard’s price on carbon. She insisted that if the CPRS had been supported by the Greens then it would have worked well and somehow been enshrined but able to be built upon and improved. According to Catherine the price on carbon was able to be overturned because it was so near the end of the Labor government term whereas the CPRS would have been safe by being between two Labor terms.

Catherine said that in her 18 years in Parliament she had learnt that plans and actions have to be achievable. They have to get through the Parliamentary process and via the legislative frameworks. She is very happy with the renewable energy target set by Labor.

I pointed out that what she was saying was ‘achievable’ is nowhere near enough to keep us below 1.5 degrees.

I said that the effects of 1 degree of warming were bad enough. I worried for the elderly, the disabled and the young.

I said I’d advised my children not to have kids of their own, that people I met had tears talking about their grandchildren’s future.

I spoke of the lifestyle changes and individual efforts I and others are making and that it would be nice to see a semblance of that effort by politicians.

She mentioned several times that it was the Greens that were at fault and why it is so difficult for Labor to catch up if they are elected. This repetition gave me the distinct impression she either knew or guessed that I lean towards the Greens. Was I supposed to feel partly responsible? I suspected so.

It was recommended I read “Climate Wars” by Mark Butler.

She said the only way I can guarantee Climate Action is to vote Labor and they mustn’t have a hung parliament.

I asked if “As shadow minister for health, do you recognise that climate change is an existential threat?”

She replied that it is a threat, she doesn’t like the word existential.

She said she has been working with Mark Butler on a Climate Change and Health Strategy.

http://www.caha.org.au/alp_announcement

I asked if declaring an emergency could fast track action but Catherine wasn’t in favour of that and not convinced of the effect of a declaration.

She said as a shadow minister she does not sign anything when I asked “Would you sign that you support a Climate Emergency declaration?”

I’m not convinced our local Member of Parliament fully appreciates the peril we are in due to climate change not being addressed effectively or urgently enough.

–  Sandra Hawkins.

Some Actions and Resources for Ballarat Folks to Stop Adani

Influence the MP – A shadow health minister whose pro coal (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) and is too weak to speak against a climate destroying coal mine
Influence Commonwealth Bank – Board making decision on June 13th
Bcb  zInfluence NAIF – Billion dollars of public money going to Adani
Donate to Wangan & Jagalingou People
Join local groups who are fighting Adani – Organise!

  • Influence the MP – A shadow health minister who’s pro coal (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) and is too weak to speak against a climate destroying coal mine
  • Influence Commonwealth Bank – Board making decision on June 13th
  • Influence NAIF – Billion dollars of public money going to Adani
  • Donate to Wangan & Jagalingou People
  • Join local groups who are fighting Adani – Organise!

Subscribe to mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/cRKjXT

Resources

Stop Adani – http://www.stopadani.com/

This is a big issue with ACF, Greenpeace, 350 Australia, GetUP, Bob Brown Foundation, Wangan and Jagalingou people, The Australia Institute,  Environmental Justice Australia and other national groups working together to stop the madness.

Health

Doctors for the Environment Australia’s ‘Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine and Health: Fact Sheet

Australia’s new coal mine plan: a “public health disaster”Lancet

Health voices on climate change: are governments listening? Medical Journal of Australia

A call for doctors to take a stand on the Adani Carmichael coal mineCroaky

Medical experts say lending to Adani is the same as supporting big tobacco Guardian

Adani coal mine is a public health catastrophe by Dr Kate Charlesworth in the Courier

Health warning on Adani coal mineSBS

Adani coal mine is a public health catastrophe by Dr Kate Charlesworth in the Courier

If the Galilee Basin were a country on its own, it would emit more than 1.3 times Australia’s current annual emissions from all sources and rank in the top 15 emitting countries in the world.

…for the most generous budget, only 12% of the world’s coal reserves – deposits that are economically and technologically viable to exploit today – can be burned.

Risky Business: Health, Climate and Economic Risks of the Carmichael Coalmine Climate Council

Unhealthy Investments – fossil fuel investment and the health communityMedact

Commonwealth Bank – Stop the Money

Come to Commonwealth Bank on Friday 9th June at 3:30

Go here for more info or here or e-mail anthony.c.goodfellow@gmail.com

Gather at #CommBank BALLARAT BRANCH to let CommBank know that the Adani coal mine will never be built! CommBank are massive funders of climate wrecking projects around the world and in Queensland. The board is meeting on June 13 to make a decision on finance and climate impacts – drum roll – and on Adani’s carbon bomb.

Join #StopAdani Ballarat to tell CommBank don’t fund this reef wrecking water wasting land stealing disaster!

Stop the Money’ Tool Kit

Donate to Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners

http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/donate/

“Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners are fighting to defend our lands from Adani – a multi-billion dollar company – and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments. We will do whatever it takes to preserve our culture, but we can’t do it alone. If you can, please make a donation to support our campaigning efforts.”

Message MP: Catherine King

Catherine.King.MP@aph.gov.au

(03) 5338 8123

Or visit her office 5 Lydiard St

Or write a letter to Editor http://www.thecourier.com.au/opinion/letters/send-a-letter-to-the-editor/

Catherine King’s Letter in the courier where she supports the mine:

If, however, the company behind the project believes that it is commercially viable on its own and meets environmental standards it should, like all legal commercial ventures, be allowed to proceed.

– Catherine King Federal Member for Ballarat

Catherine King in unsure about accepting peer reviewed scientific conclusions from the journal Nature and conservative analysis based on the peer reviewed literature by the Climate Council.  

The survey:

Ballarat Climate Action: Do you accept the evidence based proposition from the climate council that “It is likely that over 90% of Australian coal reserves are unburnable under even the most generous carbon budget. Exploitation of Australia’s Galilee Basin coal deposits is incompatible with effective action on climate change.”?

Catherine King: Unsure

BCA: Should Australia set a price on carbon emissions?

King: Agree

BCA: Do you commit to a ban on donations from fossil fuel companies, if elected?

King: Disagree

BCA: Should all new coal mines and coal seam gas projects be prohibited?

King: Disagree

BCA: If elected do you commit to a ban on subsidies on the fossil fuel industry?

King: Disagree

Some points to consider in a letter to Catherine King:

Our requests:

  1. Given the impacts of the mine on HEALTH, the Reef, tourism jobs on the Reef, on groundwater and rivers (and downstream farmers), and on the climate, we would like you to speak out against the project itself, not just against public funding for it. ALP MPs Peter Khalil from Wills and David Feeney from Batman have each done so in the last two weeks, and we would like you to as well.
  2. Use Question Time to ask hard questions of the Coalition about the NAIF loan.
  3. Speak out publicly – in the media or parliament – against public money going to the Carmichael mine project. While we appreciate that the ALP has this as a policy position, it is only a debate if the opposition is talking about it. Bill Shorten and Mark Butler have done this and we would like you to as well
  4. In 2016 you responded in a survey that you are unsure whens asked if you agree with the Climate Council’s conclusion that “It is likely that over 90% of Australian coal reserves are unburnable under even the most generous carbon budget. Exploitation of Australia’s Galilee Basin coal deposits is incompatible with effective action on climate change.” Are you still unsure?
  5. Do you think Australia’s biggest coal mine could meet any “environmental standards” to go ahead.

Modified from the template found here http://www.stopadani.com/community_resources

 Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF)

‘Off Track: Why NAIF can’t approve the Carmichael Rail Project’ Greenpeace

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/great-barrier-reef–3/contact-the-naif-board-no-donation-ask/contact-the-naif-board

image_14389_full

The Queensland Labor government has offered deferral of royalty payments that could amount to around $300 million, the latest in a long list of federal and state concessions to Adani, including an unlimited water licence, relaxed rules on mining rehabilitation, intervention by Turnbull into native title laws, and weakened protections for vulnerable species.

Despite this, there are still questions about the economic viability of the project, and doubts that Adani are even serious about the project, given its struggling finances and debt burden, and questions about the potential conflicts of interest of some directors.

Please e-mail the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) that is considering lending $1 billion of YOUR MONEY to Adani to build a rail project that unlocks the Galilee Basin to coal mining.

E-mail naif@naif.gov.au

Tell them why it’s a stupid idea financially and environmentally.

“I want to know what assessments you have made of the North Galilee Rail project that indicate it is worth investing one-fifth of the NAIF’s funding in. What are the details of the proposal? Which corporate entity would receive the loan? What are the terms of the loan? Has there been a cost benefit analysis? I’d also like to know what other projects have applied for funding – please send through a list or make the applications publicly available on your website.”

Template Letter to NAIF

I am extremely concerned at the proposition that the NAIF would lend $1 billion to a rail project that unlocks the Galilee Basin to coal mining.

This subsidy would also make no sense economically. The market Adani claims its coal is for – India – is attempting to eliminate coal imports within the next few years, with trends showing imports on the decline.

Adani Power is itself suffering financially because of the cost of using imported coal for its power stations, pushing up the cost of electricity. Asia’s other major coal user, China, is cancelling dozens of coal power plants – many of which were under construction. With the global thermal coal market regarded by many analysts as in structural decline, giving $1 billion in credit to a project that would supply tens of millions of tonnes per year of coal to this market would make the NAIF not just environmentally reckless, but also a laughing stock.

Finally, there is the matter of your custodianship of public money. I understand that the NAIF has received dozens of applications, yet this proposal would exhaust more than the entire first year’s budget – and one fifth of the overall NAIF funding – on one unviable project.

Surely there are projects that offer the prospect of sustainable development for Northern Australia among the applications you have. To think that our public funds would be blown on one project that is environmentally, socially, and economically unsound is appalling.

With this email, I am writing to register my strong opposition to this proposal. No public money should be used to enable the opening up of the Galilee Basin to more coal mining and I will do all I can to oppose this outrageous mismanagement of public funds.  

I also want some answers. Chiefly, I want to know what assessments you have made of the North Galilee Rail project that indicate it is worth investing one-fifth of the NAIF’s funding in. What are the details of the proposal? Which corporate entity would receive the loan? What are the terms? I’d also like to know what other projects have applied for funding – please send through a list or make the applications publicly available on your website.

Please provide this information as soon as possible. As a taxpayer, I believe I am entitled to know how our public funds are proposed to be used.  

See NAIF legislation – Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Act 2016

https://industry.gov.au/industry/Northern-Australia-Infrastructure-Facility/Pages/default.aspx

7. Matters to be considered when making Investment Decisions

(1)   The Facility must not provide a Financing Mechanism unless the Board is satisfied the Project would not otherwise have received sufficient financing from other financiers.

(2)   Before making an Investment Decision, the Board must be satisfied:

(a) the Investment Proposal has met all mandatory criteria in Schedule 1 to this Direction; and

(b) there is an expectation that the Commonwealth will be repaid, or that the investment can be refinanced; and

(c) that any return will cover at least the Facility’s administrative costs, and the Commonwealth’s cost of borrowing.

(3)   In making an Investment Decision, the Board must have regard to:

(a)    whether the Investment Proposal meets any non-mandatory criteria in Schedule 2 to this Direction; and

(b)   the extent of any concession that may be offered to a Project Proponent, in accordance with section 9 of this Direction; and

(c)    the potential effect of the Project on other infrastructure; and

(d) the potential effect of the Financing Mechanism on the Australian infrastructure financing market; and

(e) the necessity of the investment to encourage private sector participation in financing a Project.

(4)   The Board, in making an Investment Decision, must consider a preference for a diversified portfolio, including with respect to industrial and geographic spread across the States and Territory that comprise Northern Australia.

  1.                  Discretion

The Board maintains the discretion to decline to offer a Financing Mechanism for an Investment Proposal.

  1.              Reputation

The Facility must not act in a way that is likely to cause damage to the Commonwealth Government’s reputation, or that of a relevant State or Territory government.

Join Local Groups

BREAZE https://breaze.org.au/business-gvt/b-g-advocacy

Ballarat Climate Action – Check facebook Adani and more https://www.facebook.com/Ballarat-Climate-Action-1422025221367818/

Keep up with news and follow Ballarat Says No to Adani – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1482666208431511/

In the media

‘Ballarat Urged to stand Against Adani’

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4696466/ballarat-urged-to-stand-against-adani/

‘Greenies to Take a Stand Against Coal’

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4613942/greenies-to-take-a-stand-against-coal/

Dispel the bullshit – debunking the climate denial/ myths

Carbon Capture and Storage is a red herring designed to derail arguments against coal

http://www.melbournefoe.org.au/carbon_capture_and_storage

‘India, Once a Coal Goliath, Is Fast Turning Green’ New York Times

Resources – General

‘Fact v fiction: Adani’s Carmichael coalmine – video explainer‘ The Guardian

‘In the battle for the planet’s climate future, Australia’s Adani mine is the line in the sand’ The Guardian

‘Australia’s climate bomb: the senselessness of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine’ The Conversation

‘A bad idea regardless of who backs it’ letter by Alice Barnes in the Courier

‘Adani coal would not cut emissions – IEA expert’ – Climate Change News

here’s a research brief with modelling undertaken by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research.

Ballarat Climate Action Survey

King’s survey response to the Ballarat Climate Action Election Survey last year.

She accepts Paris climate agreement target but disagrees with a ban on new coal, donations from fossil fuel industry and subsidies. She embodies the inherent contradictions of the Labor Party position at the moment.

Questions

Q1: Do you accept the conclusions of IPCC regarding that human caused global warming is a real and serious threat to our environment, our economy and our society and believe that all levels of government, business and the community must take urgent action to immediately reduce emissions and help stop dangerous climate change?

  • Agree

Q2: Do you accept the Paris climate agreement to keep temperatures at 1.5 to 2 degrees?

  • Agree

Q3: Will you develop and/or update a National Sustainable Transport Plan to help communities reduce their emissions from transport.

  • Agree

Q4: Do you have a target for zero carbon emissions? If so when?

Yes, 2050

Q5: Do you accept the evidence based proposition from the climate council that “It is likely that over 90% of Australian coal reserves are unburnable under even the most generous carbon budget. Exploitation of Australia’s Galilee Basin coal deposits is incompatible with effective action on climate change.”?

  • Unsure

Q6: Should Australia set a price on carbon emissions?

  • Agree

Q7: Do you commit to a ban on donations from fossil fuel companies, if elected?

  • Disagree

Q8: Should all new coal mines and coal seam gas projects be prohibited?

  • Disagree

Q9: If elected do you commit to a ban on subsidies on the fossil fuel industry?

  • Disagree

Q10: Will you develop and/or update a National Sustainable Agriculture Plan to help that sector and communities reduce emissions from agriculture?

  • Agree