Al Gore slams Adani, tells Queensland ‘good luck’ in selling coal to India


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“This is what they have under construction right now in India for solar; 225 gigawatts. They are not going to continue with coal.

“You want to sell coal to India? Good luck with that.”

Adani Mining plans to extract up to 20,000 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum from the Carmichael mine and export it to Adani-owned coal-fired power stations in India.

Mr Gore said the statistics showed India was rapidly shifting towards solar and wind energy and not investing in coal.

Financial institutions worldwide were increasingly reluctant to back new coal projects, he said.

“That is one of the reasons why not a single global financial institution, after doing the financial analysis, would put any money up for the Adani mine, not a single cent,” Mr Gore said.

“May I just say. This is nuts. But I doubt (Adani) is ever going to happen anyway.”

In March 2019, coal produced 56.4 per cent of India’s energy, with hydro plants producing 15 per cent and solar and wind about 18 per cent.

“India is now getting bids for electricity produced from solar that is one-quarter lower than electricity from coal,” Mr Gore said.

Forbes magazine made a similar observation last year, reporting how the cost of renewable energy in India had decreased by 50 per cent over the 2016-18 period.

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Mr Gore said he could not understand why the coal in the Galilee Basin was being considered when some coal reserves in India had higher “inherent energy” output levels than the Queensland coal.

He said Indian financial experts were pointing to the increasing investment in renewable energy in India and the decline in new coal investment in India.

“I am trying to tread carefully here, but what do they know that some people in other countries don’t seem to know?” Mr Gore said.

Adani Mining Australia as recently as last week said its Carmichael Coal Mine project was more than viable and they were ready to provide $2 billion to construct the mine and the railway to connect the mine to the existing Aurizon rail line which runs to Abbot Point port near Mackay.

Mr Gore, who advocates against fossil fuels in favour of expanding renewable energy such from wind and solar sources, said Australia should be concentrating on expanding its renewable energy framework and coupling that to new battery systems.

“This is the future, we are getting away from these dirty fossil fuels,” he said, praising the recent push into electric vehicles in Australia and New Zealand.

He said Queenslanders were passionate supporters of solar rooftop systems.

“On a global basis we get as much energy from the sun in one hour as the entire global economy uses in a full year,” he said.

“Since Australia has the best solar resource of any nation in the world, you would only have to capture 0.1 per cent of the solar energy that god makes available to you in order to meet 100 per cent of your energy needs.

“If we can increase the fraction that we can profitably harness and use then we can stop using the atmosphere as an open sewer.”

Mr Gore drew a loud laugh when he told how Kentucky’s famous coal museum has recently installed solar panels.

His presentation was punchy and updated with lots of recent Australian, Queensland and Brisbane observations.

He noted the Sydney Opera House “an iconic Australian symbol” had on World Environment Day vowed to generate all its electricity from renewable energy sources.

He appreciated both Queensland and New South Wales governments committing to having zero net emissions by 2050.

However, he saved his closing remarks for the expanding battery sector which he said would allow renewable energy to be stored and used in large scale energy systems “when the sun didn’t shine and the wind isn’t blowing”.

“The technologists and engineers and scientists have given us  much cheaper batteries,” he said.

“This is a $1 trillion industry emerging in the next 20 years. This is an amazing transformation.

“The cost of batteries is coming down quite dramatically. You combine them with solar and you can really transform the entire world’s energy system.”

Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times

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