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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Triple Bottom Tuesday >>> Adani Shows Why Coal Isn't Going Away So Easily

Picture Source - The Guardian website

Gautam Adani, Asia’s second richest man and the founder and Chairman of the Adani Group, proposed starting a new coal mine in Australia back in 2010. Now after more than a decade of negotiations and development, the Carmichael coal mine is finally ready to produce and distribute coal. The Carmichael coal mine which is located in Queensland, Australia, near the iconic Great Barrier Reef, is targeting to ship its first batch of coal before the end of December and aims to produce 10 million tons of thermal coal annually for the next 30 years.

Coal is regarded as the “dirtiest” energy source due to the levels of greenhouse gases it releases upon combustion. Coal-powered power plants release the most greenhouse gas per unit of energy than any other electricity source in the world, which is why the construction of a new coal producing plant is a huge setback to fighting climate change.

The project has been met with widespread criticism and protests from its proposal days from environmental activists, investors, insurers and even Wall Street Banks. The mine has drawn sharp criticism from environmental activists and agencies who are concerned about the effects of the mine on the Great Barrier Reef. Some protestors have even climbed abord coal laden wagons and laid themselves across a railroad which prevents the mined coal from reaching an export terminal.

Picture Credit: Tom Fisk

Even investors and banks are moving away from funding projects like Gautam Adani’s coal mine in an attempt to help divert investments into more eco-friendly technology. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation commented that it was going to sever ties with Carmichael, and the Paris based Amundi SA, an asset management company, stated that it will be selling its holdings of State Bank of India’s green bonds due to the institution’s ties to the mine.

Samantha Hepburn, a professor of law at the Deakin University commented, “Carmichael seems to have catalysed a broader conversation about the future of thermal coal…That’s happening not just for activists, but in boardrooms and for investors across the world who want to reduce their exposure to toxic investments”.

However, even when faced with this level of protest, the mine is already set to meet its target. Bravus Mining and Resources (an Adani unit operating in Australia) commented, “We have already secured the market for the 10 million tons per annum of coal”. The success of coal largely revolves around the heavy dependence that superpowers like China and India have on it to supply their energy, which creates a massive demand for the fossil fuel.

It’s a major setback for climate change initiatives and it’s the reason why phasing out coal completely is a major challenge.

December 07th 2021 | 4:45 PM

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