A surge in coal use to produce electricity is driving the rebound in CO2 emissions, the IEA says. — © AFP
This IS a global game changer. A group of Australian teens have got a Federal court ruling that governments have a “legal duty” to avoid harm to young people in approving coal mining projects. It’s a huge legal precedent, with global ramifications.
Read the full story on this link. There’s a lot of detail, and it’s important to understand how and why this is such a huge deal worldwide. The defendant in this class action, the Australian Minister for the Environment, did not contest the ruling.
This ruling was made relevant to the Vickery coal project. Further submissions by the coal company and the teens are required for the project, but the ruling itself is a major achievement.
It wasn’t an easy achievement, either. Making the connection between a coal mine and the future risks of global warming in legal terms is to put it mildly difficult.
Damages for global warming? It’s now possible.
Significantly, this ruling also opens legal grounds for possible damages in various scenarios. Those scenarios could include added penalties for pollution, contamination, and similar warming-related issues. Damages could also be extensive in serious cases of emissions.
Coal needs to move on, ASAP
Coal as a fuel is running out of steam, pun intended, and quite literally. Coal financing has been banned by the G7. Coal has also become the poster-monster for old tech and pollution worldwide.
The truly pathetic side of this situation is that coal, as carbon, is far more useful, and far more commercially valuable as anything but fuel. Carbon polymers are going through a Golden Age of sorts with 3D printing, high-value resins, nanotech like graphene, and a virtual dictionary of other materials.
Why is the coal industry so staggeringly slow to adapt?
Coal is likely to be completely dead as a fuel soon enough. That’s been pretty obvious for the last 40 years. New clean energy sources and growing public fury about lack of action regarding climate change are simply burying it faster.
Even China, long stuck with coal tech, has been and is still trying, to get itself out of the loop for pollution, with dubious success. The world’s biggest market is effectively disappearing.
That, in turn, means a gigantic amount of capital is now stuck in coal with a reducing market for its investment’s products. The situation is now make new products, or lose big money, fast.
It’s the nightmare scenario for an entire sector that has been ignoring its role in pollution since the Industrial Revolution. Millions of people have been directly affected and died from pollution worldwide. The sector did nothing. It avoided regulation. It effectively did nothing.
The fan is now hitting back, hard. If the coal sector wants to continue to exist, this ruling says it all. The obvious has spoken. There’s no turning back now.