New Queensland coal development: expect stranding of this carbon bomb.

Jeremy Leggett on The Guardian: “While the world digests the IPCC’s 5th assessment of our carbon emissions and changing climate, plans abound for an unprecedented coal export boom in Australia. In the remote, as yet untapped inland Galilee Basin region of central Queensland, the fuse is set to be lit on a carbon bomb.” “Nine huge open cut coalmines with lifespans of up to 90 years will produce a total of 330m tonnes of thermal coal each year, to be burnt in the power stations of India, China and any other country that still resorts to coal-fired power as an energy source in the 21st century.
One of these, the 30m tonne per year Alpha coal mine owned by Indian giant GVK and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Coal, is currently the subject of a court challenge by a local environment group and farmers. They are objecting on the grounds of the mine’s devastating climate and water impacts.
The expansion of the Australian coal export industry is strongly supported by the new, enthusiastically pro-mining conservative government, which is energetically dismantling Australia’s climate change mitigation policy framework. Yet the policy to “dig it up, ship it out and let it burn” is dangerously at odds with the consensus that to keep the world from more than two degrees of warming, a substantial amount of current fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.
….The IPCC’s newest report tells us that the world has emitted about half a trillion tonnes of carbon over the past 250 years, causing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to rise by 40%. We are now on track to release another half trillion tonnes in just a few decades.
….Investors need to challenge the assumption that coal demand will continue to rise in China and elsewhere, otherwise billions of dollars or taxpayer, superannuation and shareholder funds will be wasted in assets linked to unburnable carbon.
Australia does not need to continue on the fossil fuel path. Its windy coastline, abundance of sunlight and educated workforce makes it uniquely well placed to develop a world-leading renewable energy industry that can be exported internationally. Studies from the University of Melbourne, University of NSW and most recently the government’s own Australian Energy Market Operator have shown that Australia could transition to 100% renewable energy within a decade or two for around the same cost as continuing business as usual.”