Australia’s reliance on coal as an export has contributed to the further disrespect of the rights of Aboriginal communities, caused adverse health impacts, has destroyed local ecological communities and is ultimately leading to climate disruption. The power of the mining lobby has subverted our democracy to the point that governments are enlisted in support of mining interests.
In spite of some successful campaigning against Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine and rail project, ARRCC continues to be very concerned about the support it is being given by both the federal and Queensland governments.
Aunty Rose Elu speaking at the launch of Queensland ARRCC's statement, Nov 20, 2017
We stand with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Custodians whose land the Carmichael mine would desecrate. For ARRCC, our respect for the earth is interconnected with respect for indigenous spiritual connections with country, and any actions we take would need to be mindful of their wishes.
We oppose the Queensland Government's attempts to undermine the rights of the Wangan and Jagalingou, and their granting of a license which allows relatively unlimited, long-term access to our precious artesian waters.
After many months of campaigning by civil society, including ARRCC, some successes came through in the final month of 2017:
- Annastacia Palaszczuk vetoed any potential NAIF loan to Adani as her first act after being re-elected premier
- Chinese banks ruled out funding Adani
- NAB said it will never again fund a new thermal coal mine or extension
Adani parted ways with mining services giant Downer.
Adani released a statement revealing both parties had cancelled a conditional $2.6 billion contract.
This builds on ARRCC's success, along with others in the climate movement, to persuade Westpac and CommBank to go the way of dozens of other banks and rule out finance for Adani.
Want to take action?
Market Forces has an Adani List, where they showcase all the companies known to be working with Adani. They are encouraging people to tell these companies not to destroy their own reputations as well as the possibility of a safe climate. Among them is AECOM, working now with Adani on the rail line - send them a special message about how appalling this is.
Some statements from ARRCC
Climate Statement signed by faith leaders in Queensland, released November 20, 2017
Dear Queensland Premier and Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister and Leader of the Federal Opposition,
We are from diverse faith traditions in Queensland including the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Jewish faith, Pagan Tradition, Unitarian Universalists, Uniting Church, Quakers, and inter-faith and cultural organisations.
As leaders in our faith communities, we feel compelled to challenge Queensland’s proposal to assist and partner with the Adani Group to develop the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin because of the effect the resulting carbon emissions will have on our climate, our economy, the world’s poor and the environment.
With global warming being a threat to the viability of our agricultural and tourism industries, our marine life, and the wildlife in this beautiful State, it seems unconscionable that any current or future Queensland government would make a development decision that puts all this at risk.
We believe that people of goodwill must work together to reduce greenhouse gas pollution at emergency speed.
Therefore, the development of the mine is unacceptable, as are all forms of government support, direct or indirect, for the mining, transport and shipping of fossil fuels.
We urge both governments to instead invest in renewable energy technology which will create far more employment opportunities than the proposed mine.
We call on you to refuse approval for Northern Australia Infrastructure Funds to be used to build the railway line for the Adani mine.
We plead with you on behalf of our fellow Queenslanders and Australians, for the members of our faith groups, for the millions of vulnerable people on earth, for future generations who have no say of their own, and for all of creation.
Yours in peace
Dr Paul Inglis – CEO UCFORUM – Uniting Church
Peter Arndt – Executive Officer, Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane
Heather Abramson – Abramson Educational Consulting and member of the Jewish Community
Dr Rose Elu – Anglican Torres Strait Islander Community
Dr Brian Adams – Director, Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue, Griffith University
Renee Hills – Brisbane Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Linda Ward – Pagan Tradition
Dean Peter Catt – St John’s Anglican Cathedral The Rev’d Peter Moore – Chair, Angligreen Taisoo Kim Watson – Quakers
Duncan Frewin – Quakers
The Rev’d Dr Jo Inkpin – St Francis Theological College, Anglican Church
The Rev’d Murray Fysh, Merthyr Rd Uniting Church, New Farm
The Rev’d Bruce Boase - Member of the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Anglican Commission
Queensland Churches Environmental Network
Open letter signed by prominent faith leaders in Australia, released April 28, 2017
"Given the climate emergency that the world now faces, it is morally irresponsible for Australia to allow the building of any new coal mines, coal-fired power stations or other fossil fuel infrastructure. It is furthermore incorrect to promote ‘clean coal’; no coal is clean.
We are particularly concerned about the proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. If built this would be one of the largest coal mines in the world. It would lock us into 25 to 60 years of more coal mining. Not only is this bad economics it ignores the concerns of farming and tourism industries precisely at a time when Australia ought to be leading the way in investment in renewable energy."
As Pope Francis states in Laudato Si’, decisions should be made based on the common good, understood in global terms, rather than the economic benefits for one nation. Australia should be considering the many millions of people on earth, future generations who have no say of their own, and all of Creation.
The plan of both Queensland and federal governments is to export the higher grade quality coal to Asia and low grade coal to India. Carbon pollution from burning the low grade Galilee Basin coal in India will create annual pollution in excess of that of whole countries. According to research from the Australia Institute, annual emissions from the coal exported will result in an average of 79m tonnes of CO2. This would be more than the annual emissions of Sri Lanka, more than Bangladesh with a population of 160 million and equivalent to that of Malaysia.
Globally, this additional carbon pollution could contribute significantly to a rapid acceleration of global warming. Recent extreme weather events in Queensland and NSW are part of a growing scale and volatility of droughts, floods and cyclones. Our Torres Strait Islands and coastal communities are facing inundation. Overseas, the suffering is even greater.
There is a level of risk associated with any level of warming, including the almost 1 degree increase we are already experiencing. The destructive impacts are most keenly felt in developing countries such as Bangladesh, a number of African nations and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Global Humanitarian Forum, even in 2009, estimated that the health of 325 million people was being affected by climate change, principally because of loss of food security, changes in disease patterns and flooding. These issues were already causing an extra 300,000 deaths per year. (Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis, commissioned by the Global Humanitarian Forum, June 2009.) The impacts have only worsened since that time.
The proposed Carmichael mine jobs have been overstated, and cannot compare to the threats to our lands, waters and Great Barrier Reef. We must protect the sanctity of our homelands, and the ongoing livelihoods that depend on our stewardship of our country, such as the tourism and agriculture industries, which vastly outnumber the mine in both practice and potential.
Moreover, the Adani Group has a reputation for leaving terrible environmental damage, for tax evasion, corruption and spreading misinformation. “I deal daily with the devastating impacts of coal while working with some of India’s poorest people,” Indian environmental justice advocate Dr Vaishali Patil has said. “Adani tops the list of the worst companies I have come in contact with in my work.
The damage that Adani has done to our people can’t be overstated: local fishing communities unable to access their fishing grounds; vast quantities of coal spilled into the oceans and not cleaned up for years, devastating local tourism, beaches and marine life. Adani’s mine must never be allowed to go ahead.”
Current renewable energy projects in Queensland are set to employ many more people for a fraction of the investment planned in the Adani mine.
We have the proven technology to generate clean energy, and to replace and phase out the burning of coal. Australia has an abundance of renewable energy sources, to generate investment, jobs and world leading innovation.
Around the world, the transition is already happening, driven by the plummeting costs of renewables and by pro-environmental legislation in many jurisdictions. As a nation, we have the resources to support those communities who are being most impacted by these necessary changes. Instead of allowing communities to b left flailing, with the political will, there could be an orderly, planned transition so that these communities can be resilient into the future. Just a fraction of the proposed mine subsidies could produce more and cleaner new employment.
Coal is part of our history and our story, but the time for new coal mines and power stations is in our past.
Decisions should be made based on the common good, understood in global terms, rather than the economic benefits for one nation. Australia should be considering the many millions of vulnerable people on earth, future generations who have no say of their own, and all of creation.
For further information see The Australia Institute’s paper which does a fact check on a number of common myths about the Adani mine: http://www.tai.org.au/sites/defualt/files/P303%20Coal%20hard%20facts_0.pdf
Statement by Religious, Spiritual and Faith-based leaders for the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) during the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22), 10 November, 2016:
“Global society’s continued use of fossil fuels and other extractive industries, while knowing the damage they cause, is ethically untenable. We must deliberately turn away from investing in fossil fuels ……We thus ask our own faith communities for more commitments to divest from fossil fuels and invest into renewable energy and targeted engagement with companies on climate change. We need to ground this work in pursuing a just transition to renewable energy.
Throughout history, our religious traditions have provided support and inspiration during times of great challenge or transformation. We must commit to new ways of living that honour the dynamic relationships between all forms of life to deepen awareness and the spiritual dimension of our lives.”
Encyclical by Pope Francis, 18 June, 2015:
Paragraph 165: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas - has to be progressively replaced without delay….. In recent decades, environmental issues have given rise to considerable public debate and have elicited a variety of committed and generous civic responses. Politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world.
Statement of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, 5 November, 2015
“Instead of increased coal production we encourage the Australian government to actively pursue the development of renewable energy technologies and help developing countries toward the same end. In the face of overwhelming scientific consensus, urgent action is needed to avoid the catastrophic damage to the earth that climate change will bring if not halted. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel. Besides contributing to carbon dioxide production it causes enormous damage to human health and local ecosystems.”
ARRCC is aiming to add a religious voice to actions being taken all around the country to help stop the Adani mine. Together with others, we seek to create the conditions by which directors of the Adani company will see that they do not have the social license or market support to continue with the venture.
The objectives are to:
- Stand in solidarity with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Custodians who are currently using legal and diplomatic channels to protect their spiritual and cultural rights.
- Assist people across the churches and faith communities to recognise that stopping Adani should be a high priority issue for them – and generally, we should stop the mining and export of Australia’s coal and gas. That is, we want to “shine a light” on the issue for people of faith for whom climate is off the radar.
- By demonstrating opposition to Adani in a number of locations, to show that faith-based climate action is growing. We want to build the spiritual/faith climate movement.
- Change the minds of elected politicians through any democratic processes available.
- Change the minds of Directors of Adani, by demonstrating that they are going to get widespread, disruptive and consistent community opposition.