Earth Rules

Date published: 2017-10-08

I have also just taken part in a "National Day of Action" on 7th October 2017, for the "#StopAdani" campaign. I was one of thousands of human pixels, as seen by drone camera, for a large "Stop Adani" sign on Bondi Beach. Later later on that day I attended a big crowd event in a large park in Newtown. I saw a few Parracan members among the hoards of activists. Similar events happened in 45 notable locations around Australia.

All of these events are a credit to the great organising of climate activist groups. These two big events were even more remarkable by the absence of a single politician from the two largest political parties of Australia.

Are the ALP and LNP playing a game of chicken? First one to pull the plug on Adani loses? Have too many promises been made to political lobbyists, party donators and coal mates? The ALP and LNP need to be reminded that their current large representation size, can be reduced very quickly, even in our first past the post voting system.

The Conversation site asks the big question "Why are we still pursuing the Adani Carmichael mine?"

Bondi Beach is the electorate of Malcolm Turnbull, the current elected LNP Prime Minister of Australia. Newtown is the electorate of Anthony Albanese, who closely contended for leadership of the opposition party in 2013. Lots of shame for the cowardice shown by Mr Turnbull and Mr Albanese, whatever their excuses of "being busy". They have just publicly shown that they and the political parties they represent, are failing to acknowledge our climate emergency, in case you did not already know that.

The Australian Greens Party has consistently put global warming and safe climate energy up front. Local state member, Jenny Leong, and the upper house State Parliament environment Mehreen Faruqi, were at the event, and Ms Faruqi said some very choice words on the Adani Fiasco, which included the phrase "Game of mates". The group "Front line action on Coal" was present at both events. At Newtown, the MC did present parts of a statement sent from Mr Albanese's office. The nub of it is that the ALP still considers the question of the Adani Coal Mine to be a "commercial decision".

Bill Shorten, the current opposition leader and expert numbers stacker, is on record saying that it will be OK, if the Adani mine "stacks up". Not much different to the LNP party, who also ignore non-commercial values, such as water, land and our climate emergency.  What about all those externalities? How about the non-commercial values of "Earth Rules"?

The Adani Coal Mine is now a political question. In the real world fossil fuels are on a visible track of demise, that is very easy to follow, and Jeremy Leggett has put together a picture - book on the topic.

At issue with the Adani Mine question, is a high potential for a Coal Industry biased NAIF board to loan a billion dollars to make the Adani project happen. The NAIF board is stacked with people involved with corporations that will benefit from the mine. One board member even has a company called "Coal-Train". Money is still needed to build the rail, train and mining infrastructure necessary to start ripping coal out of the Galilee Basin, and shipping it out of the coal port terminal at Abbott Point. The Adani group's modus operandi is vertical ownership of the entire chain. It bought the Abbott Point coal terminal in 2011. It owns ports and coal powered stations in India. The Abbott Point port needs a few billion next year to keep it financial, and Adani's biggest coal power station in India is up for sale for 1 rupee, because it is losing money.

Things are not going well for the Adani world. As covered in the Four Corners investigative journalism show, the group cannot make an honest living in the fossil energy trade. The Adani corporate structures are purpose built for tax-evasion, breaking environmental regulations, and escaping justice with denial. The Adani group is also big in renewable energy, so they are doing two-way bets.

Adani has been shown to regularly crushed the little people and ruin their local environment. Adani regularly breaks or ignores regulations. The regulations for Australia approval of the Adani Carmichael mine are just a piece of paper, not a stunning achievement of regulations from former worlds self-described greatest environment minister, Mr Greg Hunt.

Climate and Energy Minister Josh Frydenburg, repeated the Minerals Council of Australia campaign slogan that Coal exports to India are a gift to the energy poor people of India. This is the marketing strategy "selling point" of the Minerals Council of Australia.  It is a crude attempt at moral blackmail. It is wrong, cynical and criminal. Global warming is the apocalypse that will be worst for the billions of people living closest to tropics. India faces failure of water systems, as the Monsoon systems become unreliable and often deadly floods, and Himalayas glaciers disappear and fail to feed its famous rivers. Continued global coal consumption is a death sentence for billions of people around the world who will not survive without reliable water and agriculture. Coal is a slow burn weapon of Earth System Destruction.

Adani has established a limited number of demountable buildings, fences and a sign at their aspiration coal mine site. It must be hoping  for a financial and political miracle or blackmail to rescue the project. What dirt does Adani have on the LNP and ALP?

I am reading William Catton's book, "Overshoot : The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change" for a second time. 'Overshoot' was published in 1980, but it is just as fresh and fundamental to our times right now, and the thought and language quality is sublime. Here is a review. I have just finished "Defiant Earth" by Chris Hamilton, which is about same thing, which is our physical relationship to our planet as a species.

"Overshoot" and "Defiant Earth" can be summed up in one sentence.

"Together we all impact earth, and earth system change will impact us all".

Earth system impacts are physical and destruction in proportion to our impact on earth. There is no moral in this story, as the returned system favours, or "blow-back",  are an emergent property of how finite enclosed systems operate. There is no place "away" to where all our industrial system waste products can be harmlessly sent. Nature is left to do all the re-processing our large quantities of numerous wastes, and nature cannot cope with the rates of waste production that accompany the use of fossil fuel powered technology.

All human plans that result in continued fossil fuel waste production amount to a fossil fuel powered planet-scale suicide, which could be labelled as "fossilfoolicide". If there was global success in largely replacing fossil fuels with climate safe renewable energy, the energy flows would be still be used to continue to produce all the other kinds of waste. Earth system reactions will push back on all safe boundary trespass.

The wastes can be identified by the "planetary boundaries" approach, and those we don't see too well, are the ones marked as most extreme, in this iconic diagram. Phosphorous and nitrogen "flows" and rate of genetic diversity loss are shown as maximums. Land-system change, and climate change are shown at about half of their maximum harm potential. All of these are major changes that cause reduced "carrying capacity" of our earth. All of these system alarms are caused by human expansion, during this age of fossil-fuelled exuberance, which depends on the massive energy flows and chemical stocks that we get from fossil fuels.

The "Overshoot" book says our predicament is that our current numbers and lifestyles are being supported by "Phantom carrying capacity". The illusion of progress comes from a "Draw-down" of resources from the entire Earth System.

Earth systems are the primary non-commercial value we should be paying attention to. It is our planet, stupid.

Public opinion is another non-commercial value that LNP and ALP ignore at their peril. Given the woeful performance of the present LNP government, the ALP should be soaring in voting intention opinion polls. As the  stands farting around, doing nothing to stop the Adani Coal Mine, many people will feel they don't deserve to be voted for any more than the LNP. It is up to the Australia Greens to realise the ALP and LNP are paralysed and mutually blocked, and to come out with much bolder public campaigning.

In media coverage of Stop Adani's events, the Sydney Morning Herald noted that:-

Research commissioned by the left-leaning Australia Institute found 30 per cent of Australians supported Adani's plans for the mine, which is backed by both sides of politics at the federal and state levels.

 Conversely, 44 per cent of voters opposed the project, including 49 per cent of Labor voters and 29 per cent of Coalition voters, while 26 per cent of respondents said they were not sure or did not know.

The "Stop Adani" campaign intends it for all and sundry in Australia to know how much the ALP and LNP are crippled with extreme bullshit.

Michael Rynn
Stop Adani campaign successful events on National Day of Action on October 7th, 2017. Non-commercial values stop Adani mine.
Earth Rules, Non-commercial values stop Adani mine.
Earth Rules