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The Stop Adani Roadshow arrived in Sydney on 29 March. A huge crowd at the Seymour Centre heard speakers explaining how why and how the massive $16 billion Carmichael coal project must be prevented from going ahead. With the approvals it already has from both the Federal and Queensland governments, it seems that only the lack of funding from a major bank is holding it back. A decision could be mere months away now. $1 billion of taxpayers' money is already on offer from the Turnbull government. Many concessions are guaranteed following the Queensland government's concerning decision to designate the giant Adani coal mine as 'critical infrastructure' enabling it to be fast-tracked.

This is happening despite the state having set a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and having six planned solar projects equating to over 300MW of power, with part funding available from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. There are also other viable projects in the pipeline which will bring further vital investment and jobs.

Research commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACF media release Jobs in a clean energy future report, 8-12-16) indicates that a strong commitment to policy and action on climate change, as well as embracing renewable energy alternatives, would generate 90,700 jobs across Queensland by 2030 and 14,000 jobs by 2040. It would also safeguard the 70,000 tourism and other jobs relying on a healthy Great Barrier Reef and help regional towns that are struggling due to lack of transition planning for workers at the end of the mining boom.

If this mine is built it has approval to extract up to 60 million tonnes of coal per annum for 30 years. It also potentially unlocks up to nine other coal mining proposals for the Galilee Basin - and comes at a time when thermal coal is in structural decline globally. The rest of the world, including India, is turning to renewables, particularly solar. Ironically, India’s multi-national mining company Adani is now one of the players in this new market.

The multiple groups that are working collectively on this campaign see its environmental significance as being as great as that of saving the Franklin River in the 1980s. There are many reasons to oppose this mine. If it goes ahead, scientists have estimated that burning the coal will generate 4.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This will amount to more than 0.5 per cent of the world’s remaining carbon budget. Under the Paris Agreement 195 nations agreed to work towards limiting the world’s temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Australia has to play its part and move on rapidly from its attachment to coal.

The Traditional Owners of the land are vehemently opposed to the Carmichael mine and have gained wide support. They have presented their case at the UN in New York and are now fighting it in the courts. Farmers in the region are outraged that Adani has been granted unlimited annual access to groundwater, draining huge amounts of water from the Great Artesian Basin.

Local campaigners are also fighting hard due to grave concern over the extent of damage from coal ships that will pass through the already endangered Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Building the new coal terminal at Abbot Point will require the dredging of undisturbed sea bed and threaten marine species such as dugong and Green and Flatback turtles. The list of impacts goes on.

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