Adani Lawfare

Adani is an Indian company with a coal project in development in the Galilee basin in Central Queensland.  Serial and vexatious litigation – all actions brought over years have been lost – have delayed the project and added to costs.  The litigation it turns out – as was revealed just days ago – was funded by an American foundation with ties to Hilary Clinton.  The coal from the Adani mine would bring energy and development to hundreds of millions of Indian poor.  The legal actions have failed at every step – but have succeeded in frustrating development.  The challenges are trivial in themselves but serve a wider agenda.

The latest Australian carbon auction brought the total of carbon dioxide emission reductions to 150 million tonnes through land management at a cost of $10.23/tonne.  The potential abatement is in the order of many billions of tonnes in Australia.  This is not an Australian invention but part of a massive global effort.  The methods range from reinstating fire regime – and 30% of the continent is owned by indigenous people who may well benefit from accessing some of this money – to holistically managed grazing and no till farming.  We can look to balance the human ecology through knowledge and technology – and create vibrant, resilient and prosperous communities.   We will see energy systems organically transitioning to innovative, cost effective, low carbon sources within decades.

Costs of abatement range from cost saving efficiencies through low cost land management options to high cost alternative energy sources.  It is the latter however that is the cornerstone of progressive climate policy.  In the green ideological mix is antipathy to economic growth with increased energy costs as the preferred tool.  The least extreme advocate voluntary poverty – the most extreme the reduction of global population to a few hundred million this century with the bulk of the Earth left to ‘rewild’.  There is a suggestion that the ultimate goal is a dismantling of our economic and energy systems in the hope of founding a new existance for mega-rich westerners in a pristine wilderness.  The collecive agenda is massively unworkable.


Source: Climate Works

The starkly contrasting policy preference is for economic and energy growth fueled by whatever energy source makes economic sense at a time and a place.  The inevitable future is of course cyberpunk.  Innovation on information technology and cybernetics will accelerate and continue to push the limits of what it is to be human and to challenge the adaptability of social structures. New movements, fads, music, designer drugs, cat videos and dance moves will sweep the planet like Mexican waves in the zeitgeist. Materials will be stronger and lighter. Life will be cluttered with holographic TV’s, waterless washing machines, ultrasonic blenders, quantum computers, hover cars and artificially intelligent phones. Annoying phones that cry when you don’t charge them – taking on that role from cars that beep when you don’t put a seat belt on. Space capable flying cars will have seat belts that lock and tension without any intervention of your part. All this will use vastly more energy and materials this century as populations grow and wealth increases.

More than one billion people globally lack access to electricity, and billions more still burn wood and dung for their basic energy needs. Our High-Energy Planet, a new report from an international­ group of energy and environment scholars, outlines a radically new framework for meeting the energy needs of the global poor.

According to the authors, the massive expansion of energy systems, mainly carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, is the only robust, coherent, and ethical response to the global challenges we face, climate change among them. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet, they say.

“Climate change can’t be solved on the backs of the world’s poorest people,” said Daniel Sarewitz, coauthor and director of ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes. “The key to solving for both climate and poverty is helping nations build innovative energy systems that can deliver cheap, clean, and reliable power.”  Breakthrough Institute, Our High Energy Planet

Energy is the most fundamental requirement of every society or nation as it progresses through the ladder of development. This is clearly reflected in the average energy consumption per person across nations — for instance, an average American consumes more than 15 times the energy consumed by an average Indian. 

Today, India finds itself going through a phase of rapid ascent in economic empowerment. Industries are evolving at a significantly higher rate since liberalization. Our focus for this decade will be on the development of key infrastructure and the uplifting of the 600,000 villages where 750 million people live, as vibrant engines of the economy. In 2008, we crossed the trillion-dollar mark, and it took more than six decades for us to reach that milestone. However, it is predicted that the Indian economy will double again, to reach the $2-trillion mark by 2016, and then again redouble, to reach the $4 trillion milestone by 2025. All this economic growth will need massive energy. It is predicted that the total electricity demand will grow from the current 150,000 MW to at least over 950,000 MW by the year 2030 — which will still be less than one-fourth of the current U.S. per capita energy need. In fact, by 2050, in all likelihood the demand could go even higher, and the per capita energy demand would be equal to the current French or Russian figure of about 6000 W per capita.”  Next Big Future

The global reality is increasing emissions.  The Paris climate talks reality is for an increase in energy emissions of 3.7 billion tonnes in 2030 at a cost of US$13 trillion.  By my calculation – that could buy a trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide emission abatement through ecosystem restoration and land management.  Even half that is equal to the total of global emissions from 1750 to date.


Source: EIA 2016 Energy Outlook

Indian coal imports are expected to increase to a quarter billion US dollars in the next 16 years.  It is this demand that the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland is planned to help meet.  All within India’s Paris commitments.  Using trivial legal points to game a system to delay such projects in the hope that they will just go away is a profoundly undemocratic fraud – using foreign money allied to foreign political parties to pay for it doubly so.  To do so in support of denying energy and development to the world’s poor exposes the moral vacuum at the heart of our green elites.

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