Crash and Burn

This is both optimistic and troubling. Fairfax media reports that "China has put…

The Admirable Demonstration of Dan Tehan And Other…

Apparently, Dan Tehan was on QandA last night. I only know this…

Condensed Fun Facts, Dates, Myths/Misconceptions

By Richard Whitington Fun Referendum Facts Fun Referendum Facts #1: The ballot paper for…

Cannabis: We can shut up, toe the line,…

When President Obama commented that he thought cannabis was likely less dangerous…

Corruption suspicions hang over secret PNG refugee contracts

Refugee Action Coalition Media Release AUSTALIA’S SECRET PNG DEAL MUST BE INVESTIGATED Refugee advocates…

Dianne Feinstein: National Security State Diva

The tributes for the late Democratic Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, heaped…

Media Alert - Refugees Say "Fair Go, Albo"

A protest vigil will be held for 4 days at the electoral…

The Voice reveals the urgent need for truth…

The fact that Elon Musk has just halved his election integrity team…


The Fossil Fuel Proliferation Threat

Climate change negotiations and debates are characterised by some curious features. For one, there are interminable stretches of discussion that never seem to feature the agents of cause. Chatter about horrendous fires, toxic smoke, and environmental degradation often skirts around the culprit of anthropogenic change, so ably aided by fossil fuels.

With the fossil fuel industries of so many countries buried in the treaty back cover and the subtext, their existence continues to thrive. Oil, coal and gas projects are being approved in an almost schizoid manner even as the trendily minded cosy up to the message of renewable energy. As the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative notes, “While the Paris Agreement set a crucial global climate target, many governments – including self-proclaimed climate leaders – have continued to approve new coal, oil, and gas projects even though burning the world’s current fossil fuel reserves would result in seven times more emissions than what is compatible with keeping warming below 1.5°C.”

Emblematic of this are such projects as the expansion of Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, which has seen government money poured into a project private investment simply would not back. In 2018, when the private company Kinder Morgan sought to cancel the initiative due to prohibitive costs, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acquired the pipeline for C$4.5 billion.

Continued opposition from the indigenous Secwepemc and environmental activists has been rebuffed, even as Trudeau boasts of his green credentials on the world stage. To quote Angela V. Carter, a political scientist based at the University of Waterloo, “There’s two versions of reality here, and they’re not aligned.” In her view, “one of two things is going to happen. We’re either blowing well past 1.5 degrees or we’re aligning actions to meet [climate targets]. We can’t have it both ways.”

In a peculiar twist of policy, one deservedly seen as ironic, moronic and ghoulish, governments are aiding – dare one even say cuddling? – the fossil fuel industry through massive subsidies and funding. In this exercise of offering a pillow and tea-party for the environmental assassin, The Economist, not exactly a leftwing bomb thrower, came to a staggering figure: the industry, according to 2019 figures, was receiving annual subsidies to the tune of to $427 billion. In Australia alone, both state and federal governments underwrote fossil fuels to the value of A$11.6 billion in 2021/22.

Much like Canada, Australia faces the expansive power of a fossil fuel lobby which sees no interest in surrendering its influence. It is no exaggeration to say that this lobby has destroyed the careers of several prime ministers, with the hope of doing away with a few more.

The Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources 2022 report from the Office of the Chief Economist avoids mentioning climate change altogether. Emissions are only mentioned from the perspective of projected reductions, be they in terms of steel production or the iron ore supply chain. And in a curious twist, “new energy metals” such as nickel, cobalt and lithium are praised in the reduction effort, focused as they are on the production of battery cathode precursors and such conserving devices.

Despite the Albanese government being, on paper, a more ecologically sound one than its predecessor, little seems to have changed in the stunted Federal Environment portfolio. From that office, coal mine approvals or expansions have been issued like the enthusiastic emissions they will cause. The Australia Institute has found, much to its horror, that there are 26 additional proposals for new or expanded coal mines on the books pending federal government approval. To these can already be added two approvals since May 2022. “Approving 28 new coal mines,” warns the thinktank, “and the 12.6 billion tonnes of emissions they would cause, is incompatible with limiting dangerous climate change.”

In March, the Australia Institute’s chief economist, Richard Denniss, noted no fewer than 116 new coal, oil and gas projects awaiting in the approvals pipeline. Were these to go ahead, an extra 1.4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases would make their way into the atmosphere on an annual basis by 2030. This would be almost three times Australia’s domestic emissions in 2021-2, which came to 490 million tonnes. “That’s the equivalent,” writes Denniss, “of starting up 215 new coal power stations, based on the average emissions of Australia’s current existing coal power stations.”

This is further complicated by the accounting regime for such production. The emissions framework as it stands tends to consider onshore emissions, not what happens at the export destination. Most of Australia’s oil, coal and gas will find their way into foreign markets, making something of a nonsense of the containment thesis on fossil fuels.

Any number of wise words issuing from such bodies as Australia’s Climate Change Council only serve to highlight the chasm between sagacious warnings and the ruthless continuation of the status quo. Initiatives such as free rooftop solar, pumped hydro, storage batteries and electric vehicle charging stations will mean little till the deep-seated influence of the fossil fuel lobby is wound back in the corridors of government power.

For any genuine change to take place, such initiatives as nailing down a non-proliferating fossil fuels regime, would have to take place. Till that happens, hope will have to rest in the hands of eager child litigants, the legal instincts of First Nations peoples, and an assortment of brief-wielding allies concerned about the genuine risks of harm that will arise from catastrophic climate change. To the courts they have gone, as many others will go. But as this takes place, fossil fuel proliferation continues.


Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button


Login here Register here
  1. Clakka

    Geo-political and economic brinkmanship could well take us beyond the brink. Of course the bastards won’t indulge us with their calculus.

  2. Douglas Pritchard

    If there is one subject that unifies all nations its the determination to cuddle the fossil fuel industry to the ultimate conclusion for us all.
    If its a debate about going out with a whimper, or a bang?
    I am confident that the BANG has it.
    But if you aspire to an electric car because your conscience dictates, then forget it.
    The decision makers are jetting around the globe in 747s burning 15 tonnes of fuel an hour, drinking their G&ampTs, and laughing their tits off.
    Thats one of your everyday fuel tankers every hour, so if I wanted to sanction anyone, to save this planet, its your joyriding pollies that are stuffing things up.

  3. Harry Lime

    Nah, we’re all going good IT’S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.
    We are fucked ,three ways from Monday ….Who’s playing this weekend ?

  4. Andrew Smith

    There is some good news, though slower to come in the ‘Anglosphere, i.e. FT journalist Burn-Murdoch showed how economic growth is increasing in many developed nations while emissions are falling fast due to cheaper renewable sources and fast transition (unlike Oz)

    ‘Data Points: Economics may take us to net zero all on its own. The plummeting cost of low-carbon energy has already allowed many countries to decouple economic growth from emissions’

    As opposed to the fossil fuel greenwashing of demanding economic ‘degrowth’ etc. to deflect from fossil fuels and delay transition.

  5. New England Cocky

    This morning Boofhead Duddo is reported as pushing for Australia to install nuclear power for civilian electricity generation. Interesting thought, given that wind systems across Australia naturally move from west to east, so that any nuclear power station west of Byron Bay NSW would contaminate the east coast habitation belt occupied by about 70+% of the Australian population.
    When Chernobyl erupted the effect was discovered in Scandinavia, just to show the possible scale of the potential disaster that the LIARBRAL$ are proposing.

  6. Canguro

    Bang shmang, Douglas, Harry’s on to it. As was the shooting star RoadKillCafe who earlier graced these pages with his apocalyptic vision, others too. I was caught in a severe rain squall several years ago; one moment driving on a western Victorian road at highway speed, the next in total grey-out, complete loss of vision in all directions. And gripped in an existential panic such as one might experience at the moment of unexpected death, involuntarily crying out “I’m gonna die!” Freaking hell!

    At least global warming and the fossapocalypse isn’t sprung on us unannounced. Suggest warm cups of cocoa and plenty of preparation for the end times. Read books like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and watch films like Don McKellar’s Last Night or Lars von Trier’s Melancholia.

  7. Ken Fabian

    The thing about wealthy people is they tend to see their principle insurance against catastrophes is to accumulate more wealth. It doesn’t matter how bad it gets, they believe wealth protects and insulates them so there is little incentive to reduce how bad it gets, not at the expense of their wealth accumulation. If they have big holdings in fossil fuels they greatly increased their wealth with war inspired hyper profiteering and fiercely opposed any reductions in them, not even to save the economies they are part of from disaster… after insisting it was carbon pricing and renewable energy that were unreliable and too economy damaging. For the most extreme global disasters they turn to well stocked bunkers, not to fixing the problem – the Planet B delusionists are a tiny minority, and they no doubt have bunkers too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: