Attorney General George Brandis has branded the case against Carmichael “vigilante litigation”. So the government is proposing to water down community groups’ rights to challenge these projects under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA).
According to one 2009 Sydney Morning Herald article Australia may directly and indirectly total 16 percent of global greenhouse emissions – or fifty times the per capita average. Self-interest rather than local community interest dictates protest, just as it does in the Enriched World. The crucial difference is that, unlike the Enriched World, more jobs in Australia are produced from coal production that preservation of unique, localised and rare species.
At the same time, the costs to Australia’s economy from global warming are unpaid by the present political powers in the mining industry. The most terrifying problem is how those who suffer most from Australian greenhouse gas emissions – West Australian farmers losing their former winter rainfall – are the people most dependent for current livelihoods upon Australian greenhouse emissions not being cut to zero, as doing so would multiply energy costs of transportation. Australian farmland is sufficiently cheap that private owners’ incentive is not to maintain its limited value but to extract it as a non-renewable resource. Because little soil formation has occurred in Australia since the Carbo-Permian glaciation around three hundred million years ago, lost soil stands irreplaceable and Australian soils are strictly non-renewable, unlike the Enriched World where active volcanoes or glaciers continuously supply new soil
The question is whether the problem of Australian greenhouse emissions and species extinctions will become so severe in the long term that the rest of the world – uncompetitive against a nation with per person incomparably more flat land and undiscovered minerals than the global average – will recognise Australia as the keystone in all environmental treaties from endangered species to pollution to greenhouse warming. Should this occur, Enriched and Tropical World governments and people would understand they possess every right to demand Australia’s polluting industries pay all global costs, both of direct overseas losses from Australian greenhouse pollution and by wholly remedying the cause. This complete remedy would require an uncompromising zero-emissions Australian economy be created via:
- Complete demolition of Australia’s trunk road system
- Ensuring all transport investment is constitutionally mandated to be on rail – both the most energy-efficient land transport system and ideally suited to Australia’s flat terrain
- If private motoring does continue, mandating all vehicles on Australian roads consume no more than 3 litres per 100 km of fuel (minimum fuel economy of 80 miles per US gallon)
- this is ¼ the current average, but technologically achievable as early as the middle 1980s