Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


The Great Coal Skulduggery …

Coal, Coal, Coal, that’s the elated squeal from the federal Liberals at the moment! It’s almost as intense as the hallowing eureka cry for gold back in the 1850s when everyone lived for the dream of finding an Eldorado.

These are dangerous times for the future of our planet as more coal mining means more of the same C02 output. This is exactly what the world’s climate doesn’t need!

Recently Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce gleefully flaunted a chunk of coal in parliament pandering to the coal-mining obsession before Scott Morison when on to taunt the federal opposition with the words “Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.”

Ironically the audacious passing of the coal to the Liberal troops in parliament came during the middle of one of the most intense heat waves across central eastern Australia when temperatures were smashed and fire danger levels reached catastrophic.

It seems regardless of how extreme Australia’s environment becomes, the connection of coal burning and the consequential planet-warming message just isn’t getting through.

The coal-taunting incident in parliament is an ominous sign that climate-change denial is becoming an entrenched conservative culture.

This all came soon after Prime Minister Turnbull’s shock announcement that “Australia ought to be building a new generation of coal-fired power plants, subsidized by the government if need be”.

Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos recently flagged the possibility of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation being used to fund technology-neutral power sources.

Scott Morrison, who recently led a push for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to include coal power as an option in the region as it transitions to higher levels of renewable energy, confirmed that new coal would be part of the government’s energy policy mix.

Meanwhile Australia – the world’s largest exporter of coal – has invested $590 million since 2009 in clean-coal technology research and demonstration, and yet we still don’t have one modern high-efficiency, low emissions coal-fired power station.

With the opposition Labor party standing strong on a 50% renewable energy target, the Liberals are pushing the coal barrow in defiance to any renewable¬ energy future.

Wind back 6 years when Malcolm Turnbull said – “to effectively combat climate change the nation must move … to a situation where all or almost all of our energy comes from zero or very near zero emissions sources”.

In August 2010 Malcolm Turnbull spoke at the launch of a report demonstrating the technical feasibility of moving Australia to a 100% renewable energy nation.

“We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got…. We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic. We know that extreme weather events are occurring with greater and greater frequency and while it is never possible to point to one drought or one storm or one flood and say that particular incident is caused by global warming, we know that these trends are entirely consistent with the climate change forecasts with the climate models that the scientists are relying on…. We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us”.

Since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister somehow the tides have switched dramatically as he has done a classic u-turn for the coal industry in Australia.

The big development projects such as the $16 billion Adani Group’s Carmichael Coal Mine and rail project have obviously permeated its influence through the Liberal party.

Despite the uncertainty of future coal exports the Liberals alarmingly have seemingly committed themselves to a coal driven–planet warming future!

*Ted Mead was born in the Latrobe Valley Victoria, and is more than familiar with the smoke-choked skies from the ubiquitous Coal-fired power stations. Ted laments over the past practice of burning fossil fuels as we didn’t realize what the consequences were then. However, and alarmingly, we now know the ramifications of our past but inexplicably we refuse to act.



  1. john hayward

    February 18, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    ScoMo wasn’t expressing adoration of a sedimentary rock fragment, but rather of his devotion to total selfishness. It’s the same impulse that has led to Malcolm’s radical volte face on climate change about six years ago, and to the Tas LibLabs determination to liquidate the state’s forests ASAP.

    While some of our Libs may accept Ayn Rand as the messiah, I suspect that most of them, Trumpty Dumpty and ScoMo particularly, simply never emerged from that solipsistic stage of early development .

    John Hayward

  2. Frank Strie, Terra-Preta Developments

    February 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    RE:”… the dream of finding an Eldorado?”

    The contrast:

    National Geographic – Lost Cities of the Amazon – Terra Preta

    The Secret of El Dorado – Discovery of Terra Preta


    In this documentary a legendary civilization thought to be too good to be true on the basis of the stories told by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, is found to be a real part of history. We can separate fact from fiction here, in that the golden riverbanks the Spaniard told of were not golden with precious metal strewn along them, but with something far more precious — crops!

  3. Frank Strie, Terra-Preta Developments

    February 18, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Lost Cities of the Amazon – Terra Preta
    15 years ago:

    What can we do with such information?
    Why should we?

  4. Clive Stott

    February 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    An unprecedented federal court ruling has invalidated coal giant Adani’s controversial native title deal, which could delay the development of its mega coal mine.

    But now attorney general George Brandis is working frantically to reverse the decision to save the Adani mine. Read more here….


  5. Clive Stott

    February 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    A detailed legal research brief by Environmental Justice Australia, being launched today, reveals Indian based Adani Group’s disastrous track record overseas, including illegal dealings, bribery, environmental and social devastation and allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering. The Adani Brief puts Australian governments and potential financiers on notice that backing the Carmichael mine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin may expose them to financial and reputational risks.

    Read it here..

  6. Pete Godfrey

    February 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    #5 Clive thanks for that information, unfortunately the chances of the political parties getting their grubby hands on laundered public money. In the form of political donations, in return for their support for the mine may prove too tempting.
    We have MIS schemes and Super Trawlers as sign posts of their likely bent.

  7. phill Parsons

    February 19, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Fossil fools enthralled by stranded assets.

  8. Chris

    February 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Donald Trunbull doing a Malcolm?

  9. Chris Sharples

    February 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Right-wing ideology: The attempt to justify greed and selfishness (and in this case, sheer stupidity).

  10. Martin Hay

    February 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    As there is a time delay from what we are now experiencing with the temperature rise, meaning that what we pump into the atmosphere now will not be reconciled till years to pass, and what we are experiencing now is from decades previous,we are being foolhardy indeed to be even contemplating burning more coal.
    Funny how all the coal advocates use the cost to the taxpayer of subsidies for renewables when the fossil fuel industry is subsidized over $560 BILLION a year. This is without adding the extra costs of climate disruption and health effects due to fossil fuel extraction.
    Gee, if even half that amount went into R&D for renewable technologies imagine the rapid progress worldwide.
    LNP are fooling themselves re less dirty coal, no investor will touch it. Watch the investor tide grow in the coming years for renewables……a very real human trait is greed, and money talks.

  11. TGC

    February 20, 2017 at 7:54 am

    #10 “Watch the investor tide grow in the coming years for renewables……a very real human trait is greed, and money talks.”
    And that greed will attach itself to “renewables” with the same skewed outcome so far as equity for all is concerned.
    Energy costs will soar and ‘investors’ will rub their hands together.- a play on “All power tends to corrupt…”?

  12. TGC

    February 21, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Just fill me in- how many windmills/solar reflectors needed to produce a 1000 tonnes of steel?

  13. Chris Sharples

    February 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    #12 If you think its a big issue why don’t you research it and tell us the result?

    I hope nobody bothers to answer your time-wasting question. If you’ve got something to say, say it. Otherwise please find something more useful to do than trying to waste peoples time with silly questions.

  14. Bruce

    February 22, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    #12 Tell us TGC how many MW of dirty coal power is used to produce 1000 tonnes of steel and YOU may be able to work it out depending on the renewables size and rating?

    Don’t forget to factor in the health savings in your calculations.

    Let us know.

  15. max

    February 22, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    #12 The Chinese were producing quench hardened steel ( 403 – 221 BC ) so your question is another waste of time.

  16. Ted Mead

    February 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Last night I had a vivid dream, which was more like a nightmare!
    Somehow, and inexplicably I found myself at a Liberal function sitting opposite to Scott and Barnaby, and so I constantly raised questions to them about their coal policy and philosophy. The dream seemed so lifelike because the more I questioned them the less they could justify their positions. It was like having dialogue with children or religious fanatics, which ultimately made no rational imprint upon their entrenched dogma. I suspect experiencing this beyond a dream wouldn’t have been much different?

    Another tangent is the question of why we haven’t been mining coal in Tasmania over the last century, particularly because the plunder ethics fits perfect to our successive government ethos. We have plenty of coal deposits on the Island, and the fact that it would be uneconomical to mine coal is irrelevant if you compare the losses in Forestry industry here over the past half- century.

  17. TGC

    February 22, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    #15 “The Chinese were producing quench hardened steel ( 403 – 221 BC )…” probably for the millions of motor vehicles they were(n’t) producing.
    You #15 and the snider at #13 simply avert eyes from the realities. The energy required to meet the needs- no, the demands- of contempory society is struggling to be met even now with the generators currently operating- and there are wind and solar fascists wanting to (immediately) shut down many of those. They should reap that whirlwind -(pun intended)
    The cry goes up- there’s sufficient energy capacity in wind/solar to meet our needs- if only we would reduce our needs- presumably #13 and #15
    have done that and have no requirement for- for example- anything with steel in it,
    They will recall the seductive campaign of the anti-below Franklin hydro scheme – ‘we have more ‘energy’ than we can use- we will never be able to utilise further generated power’
    Even at the domestic level the demand for energy will continue to rise- and play havoc with industries needs such that we won’t be able to encourage any industry that needs energy- not even tourism which is a huge consumer.
    Wake up to yourselves you dreamers…not in any lifetime even you children can expect will you be able to switch on to only wind/solar power.
    Your smarm doesn’t bluff me.

  18. Ted Mead

    February 23, 2017 at 10:08 am

    #17 – A typical catch cry from a troglodytic Liberal!
    Not only are you visionless – you are poorly informed.

    Yes, Australia is slow to catch up with the rest of the world on renewables but in 2017 over 20 new large-scale solar projects will come online. A further 3700 MW of large-scale solar is in the development pipeline (roughly equivalent to three coal fire power stations).

    Australia is expected to reach over 20GW of solar PV in the next 20 years, equivalent to about a third of Australia’s current total power generation capacity.

    The plans for the 3700 megawatts of solar infrastructure on the drawing board is intended to supply mines, airports, hospital facilities and business.

    The Gordon below Franklin dam would have produced only a 25th of that energy, if there was enough water.

    Australia is currently leading the world in household solar with 8000 people being employed and the potential is enormous.

    The cost of solar power is now well below the retail power prices in Australian capital cities, and continues to fall. The exception is the ACT, which has the lowest retail prices in Australia.

    Australia adds more solar power every year than the combined capacity of South Australia’s (recently closed) Northern and Playford coal-fired power stations.

    As for China they are already producing 34.2 Gigawatts of power from renewables, and without question they’d be melting steel with that!!!!

    Saudi Arabia is intending to spend $50 billion on renewable energy initiatives this year.

    The solar sector employs 2.8 million people globally, outnumbering coal jobs.

    In the United States, solar now provides twice as many jobs as coal.

    Solar costs have dropped 58% in five years and are expected to continue to fall by a further 40-70% by 2040.

    Electricity prices from new coal power stations could rise to A$160 per megawatt hour, while solar parks are around $110 per megawatt hour and are expected to come down significantly in price over time.

    Solar and battery storage for households and businesses is already gaining traction in Australia – with more than 6,500 households installing the technology. Uptake is expected to triple in 2017.

    Large-scale developments such the Lakeland solar and battery storage project and the Kidston solar and pumped hydro project (both in North Queensland) are demonstrating the potential of combining large-scale solar and energy storage technologies.

    The Victorian Government is seeking expressions of interest to build a large-scale battery storage facility in western Victoria to improve grid stability.

    There is a world-wide renewable revolution, and the coal addicted Liberals can’t live with that. Like it or not, the Turnbull and Abbotts have have no control over markets demands because the renewable market is cheaper and the consumers are the ones who will dictate the retail power price.

  19. Chris Sharples

    February 23, 2017 at 11:42 am

    # 17 See, its better to say what you really think than hide it behind obtuse questions, isn’t it!

  20. max

    February 23, 2017 at 11:43 am

    17 # The world is going to hell in a handcart and you it would appear would willingly jump aboard for the ride. There are alternatives for base load power other than coal, pumped hydro, tidal power and hydrogen are just a few. Why any one with a hope for a better lasting future would allow the burning of coal for base load power is beyond me.
    A disease is inflicting our leaders and a lot of their followers, it is called reality deficiency syndrome.

  21. TGC

    February 23, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    #19 ” # 17 ‘See, its better to say what you really think than hide it behind obtuse questions, isn’t it!!
    No it’s not- because there’s the danger of attracting the sort of polemic in #18 and the alarmist stuff in #20.

  22. Chris Sharples

    February 23, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    #21 Are you seriously arguing that its NOT better to say what you really think in preference to just asking obtuse questions??!!

    Not getting a wee bit confused are we?

  23. MjF

    February 24, 2017 at 12:30 am

    mead @ #16
    ….but we have been mining coal in Tasmania over the last century. Cornwall Coal have been digging it out continuously since 1886 and currently produce around 400,000 t/annum.

  24. Ted Mead

    February 24, 2017 at 8:57 am

    #23 – I was aware of past mining, but didn’t think it was still
    ongoing – Thanks for the update!

  25. Clive Stott

    February 24, 2017 at 1:19 pm

  26. mjF

    February 24, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I’m sure most of the stoic folk of Scamander, St Marys, Cornwall and Fingal that depend on the two collierys, will forgive your oversight.

  27. TGC

    February 24, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    #22 No!

  28. TGC

    February 24, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    #24 Meeting a market demand.

  29. Ted Mead

    February 25, 2017 at 9:45 am

    #28 – What’s the market? – export or local usage?

  30. mJF

    February 25, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Here’s a bit of history on Tas coal mining:

    Note the “Southport Swindle” of 1853 (in first doc) in which the government of the day promptly lost their investment.



  31. Clive Stott

    February 25, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Ted #29 – https://mining-atlas.com/operation/Duncan-Coal-Mine.php
    Not sure how old this information is, but it is old!


  32. Ted Mead

    February 25, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for the info

    I was quite aware of the coal deposits around Tas, and asummed that the Fingal Valley was the oldest mine.

    Maybe the black coal deposits here are too small?

    Less than half a million tonnes of brown coal would be insufficient to be thinking about a notable coal -fired power station in the state I’d reckon!

    I guess the Federal Libs won’t be looking at any major projects here.

  33. Alison Bleaney

    February 25, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    And the relatively new coal mine in the Fingal Valley was done with no real assessment of the risk for groundwater pollution with the provision for re-assessment should it occur.

  34. phill Parsons

    February 26, 2017 at 8:56 am

    TGC shows his bias. Does it matter in our wide brown land with boundless plains how many wind mills and solar pv farms it takes to power an electric arc furnace?.

    What really matters is if those same plains get enough rain, do not bake to a crisp or are blown away as dust following catastrophic fires..

    Your blue blindfold would see us all members of the dire straits club.

  35. phill Parsons

    February 26, 2017 at 9:29 am

    TGC asks how many would it take. Well with boundless plains to spare and plenty of roof space old and new what does it matter if farmers are getting an income from wind farms of home owners have low or no electricity bills [ A badge Shorten could wear with pride].

    Te trouble with the blue blindfold wrapped around the eyes of many conservatives leaders over coal versus renewables is that their adherents are not anti renewables as the polling shows.

    They have to work hard to confect such attitiudes with a grab back of ideas completely free of substance and flying in the face of facts.

    The crazed criminal fossil fools of ‘clean’ coal can only deliver higher electricity prices because new coal fired power stations are now more expensive to build and then you have to buy the fuel unlike renewables where the fuel is free.

    On another related note those who are thinking of battery storage need to know that idiot ideologues have come up with the idea of requiring seperation between batteries and buildings such as your home.

    Their fear is that non-combustible batteries will catch fire so they are including both salt water and lithium- iron phosphate batteries in their madness. is this a real safety measure or a crazed attempt to push home power storage batteries further out of reach?.

    Even with these extra measures all that happens is the repayment period for power extends out, the home owner will still save money. Staying on the grid allows a further step, the possibility of selling surplus stored power into the grid.

    No Trev the Age of Coal is over and the real problem moves to the financial market where money has been extended against an asset that is rapidly loosing it;s value along with it’ social license.

    Most Australian loves the great barrier reeef and want to keep it alive.

  36. Clive Stott

    February 26, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    APPM switched from coal to oil in 1962.

    “A great deal of attention was focused on the possibility of a thermal power station being established in the Fingal Valley.

    A feasibility study undertaken by the Hydro-Electric Comnission (HEC) regarding the establishment of such a power station to replace the Gordon-below-Franklin hydro-electric scheme concluded with some confidence, that sufficient coal exists for the economic development of a 400 megawatt facility (Hydro-Electric Conmission 1985).
    A thermal power station of this magnitude would have a requirement for between 600 000 and 700 000 tonnes of coal per annum.”


  37. TGC

    February 26, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    #35 “Most Australian loves the great barrier reeef and want to keep it alive.”
    “Most Australians” have never been to the Great Barrier Reef…
    but-#34 and #35 may be a fan of ‘wide brown lands’ and ‘countless plains’ – but probably would prefer not to be stuck there in a fit- very few people do which is a commentary all on its own.
    and, although many are taking up the socially acceptable off-the-grid options- the overwhelming majority aren’t.
    and,again, the financial market will be as keen to ‘rip-off’ investors in ‘alternatives’ just as it does those in other investments.
    My tip to #34 – read the fine print.

  38. MJF

    February 27, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Somebody better tell the Japanese the age of coal is over. They at least now seem to favour a mix of coal and nuclear.

    I saw a promo while at the movies the other night (funded of course by the Coal Board). Japan are ramping up construction of coal fired power stations in the wake of Fukushima and their thermal engineers are claiming a reduction of up to 45% in CO2 emissions via latest clean technology. They also plan on buying more Australian thermal coal to fuel these additional power stations

    So there you go.


  39. Ted Mead

    February 27, 2017 at 10:41 am


    Not the case at all.
    Coal is only one option for Japan.
    The Japs are desperate to find an alternative to nuclear since Fukushima.
    Clean -coal power stations are still in their infancy world wide.
    The preferred option for Japan has always been renewables through a super grid importing power from Mongolia, and they have been working on that since 2011.


  40. TGC

    February 27, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    And some recent ‘polling’ suggests respondees are concerned about the (rising) cost of their energy requirements.
    Industry is not alone in that concern.
    The problem with enthusiasm for solar/wind is that it tends toward the latte factions.

  41. Brenda Rosser

    February 28, 2017 at 2:50 am

    The biggest and probably the most pending threat of CO2 in the atmosphere (to humans) is on our physiology. There have been no long-term studies of our current level of CO2 on humans. None.

    Humans haven’t lived on planet earth with this very high level of CO2. Ever.

    It has already been reported that humans are now suffering from physiological distress in urban CO2 domes. It may be only a decade before we all are doing the same.

    Climate change is the least of the threats burning coal poses. Do we want to stay alive?

  42. phill Parsons

    February 28, 2017 at 8:02 am

    For steel use an electric arc furnace. It uses electricity, no coal required.

  43. Russell

    February 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Re #12
    Just one renewable energy Hydro scheme.

  44. mjf

    February 28, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    mead @ #39
    It is the case. Read your own link re entrepreneurs signing an MOU for a concept scheme from individual countries. Is there serious national interest in such a grandiose plan ? Your link doesn’t mention that. Do you seriously think Russia, China, South Korea and Japan can ever align politically to facilitate part of an international grid ?
    Japan is expanding coal generation whether you or I agree or not. No doubt renewables will orobably be in the mix to some extent but clearly the Nippon also favour coal and plan to immediately expand it. Wind energy from the Gobi Desert ?
    Keep us posted. Let’s hope they can pull it off but Iit appears Japans immediate energy expansion is organised already.

  45. George Smiley

    March 1, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    If you intend to really value add iron ore, electric arc furnaces produce far better steel. Presently we have the Whyalla works in trouble -it’s very difficult to compete with similar cheap high carbon Asian product and it is also difficult to maintain infrastructure projects in which this stuff is used. It’s said the Sydney Harbour Bridge wouldn’t still be standing if Chinese steel had been used. So the tendering process works better in the short term, note recent pipeline failures and a scandal about European reactor containment vessels in which assays were routinely fudged by the Japanese supplier.

    but that’s what the tendering process.

  46. Mjf

    March 2, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    How do you link tendering to recent pipeline failures George ?
    Is it not a fact that most pipeline failures are essentially due to initial construction errors not detected such as partial hydro testing, absence of catholic protection, oil/gas pipes still in use beyond their decommissioning dates or accidental damage ?

  47. phill Parsons

    March 3, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Most Australians don’t have to go to or live in a place to like it.

    TGC’s blue blindfold would prevent him finding a reputable poll to support his assertions just as it prevents him from seeing the evidence of the impact of CO2 on the climate.

  48. mjf

    March 3, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    @ #46

    Oh dear, should be cathodic. Apologies to the Vatican.

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