4 Adani Australia Scandal
Against Climate Action
For Climate Action
Sept. Special 2019 Leo Zhu
As of recent years, the accumulation of global warming, pollution and government corruption has led to widespread small-scale and large-scale disasters all over the world. Recent wildfires have included the desolation of 640 million acres of rainforest in the Amazon, as of the last 5 weeks, and over 100 wildfires at home in Australia, across two states. Last year’s UN summit followed the same formula as countless ones before it, ending in a typical failure, noted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released a recent report tracking global temperatures. It revealed news that although the last few decades have only seen a small steady rise in temperature, the last 5 years have seen a dramatic spike in temperature and were all the hottest on record. This year, in 2019, the UN opened to the public a preliminary report regarding Earth’s biodiversity. All of these relatively recent reports and news about what appears to be a global breakdown in terms of climate, environment and mass extinctions have raised a worldwide awareness of the situation. People such as Greta Thunberg have organised and begun strikes across the world with people flooding the streets of cities such as Sydney, New York, Berlin and London. It has raised awareness all over the world, with major politicians commenting that ‘children should be in school,’ and attracted the attention of media across all countries. Thunberg in particular has been under the spotlight, with harsh criticism following her actions regarding the student protests and committee for climate change. Members of the public and in social media often tend to lean on either side of the argument. This is specifically the idea that Greta, who is a 16 year old teenager with Asperger’s syndrome, is highly unreliable and is influenced strongly by radical parents. The argument that portrays Greta in a better image is that she is fighting for our future and that she is taking action, inspiring millions across the globe. The Paris agreement, once considered radical and important, has been deemed by environmental extremists including Thunberg as ‘inadequate’ and ‘not enough’. America, leaving the agreement back in 2017, dealt a large blow to the uncertainty of the agreement, due to the massive coordination problems of such an agreement. Every country has to play a part in order for the contract to work effectively. The protests of students worldwide in recent weeks has demonstrated the awareness of the global population and their expectancy of a solution to the crisis. In this short 4U Special Edition, we will be covering Climate Change. We will have a look at the Adani Australia Scandal by Leo Zhu, followed by interviews with Joanne Tran and Danielle Villafana-Pore, representing both sides of the climate action discussion. Remember to keep sending your articles to email@example.com and follow our Facebook page The Wing through bit.ly/thewingfb. This edition of The 4U Paper is available at bit.ly/4USeptemberspecial19. To view all past editions, visit issuu.com/the4upaper. Do keep in mind the views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of NSBHS Visions, North Sydney Boys High School or the NSW Department of Education. 3
Adani Scandal By Leo Zhu
What is Adani? Adani Group is a multinational conglomerate that is based in India. Founded in 1988, it has since grown into a powerful commercial giant, with their fields of expertise including energy exploitation, farming, defense and aerospace, as well as logistics and finance. In recent years, it has received media controversy for its conduct during projects. In 2018, the Queensland Government prosecuted the Adani Group, claiming one of its companies illegally released over 8 times the amount of coal sediment allowed by a temporary pollution license in Abbot Point. The company also failed to disclose that its Australian CEO was previously the head of a copper mine in Zambia, who pleaded guilty to allowing toxic pollutants to flow through a major river. This polluted and poisoned the sources of water near the vicinity and killed crops. Adani has also lied about the job openings that would be created for the Adani coal project in Queensland, initially promising 10,000 jobs available rather than the figure of 1,464 jobs it later admitted to actually providing.
What is the controversy behind the company? Seemingly straightforward, many of the companyâ€™s projects are also designed to appeal to locals, opening new opportunities and businesses. For instance, the new Carmichael mine in Queensland, attaining the media spotlight, opened a large amount of mining jobs. It will be a huge business opportunity for the nearest town, Clermont, where the local pubs and service stores will be welcoming the new deluge of customers, who will mostly be miners or other workers from the Carmichael site. Obviously this will be the equivalent of getting a big economic injection, as money exchanges hands for service. However, this will only benefit the small town itself, and do nothing for the country as a larger whole. Unfortunately, many of Adaniâ€™s projects are cleverly directed towards the local people affected, and their personal interests, such as economic benefits and population growth. These kinds of stakeholder interests have conflict, and the Adani mine is no exception. The nearest town to the site, Clermont, was visited by a 400-strong protester group, who aimed to prevent or halt the significantly damaging Carmichael mine starting work next year. Amidst controversy, they were refused service by several pubs in the town, and introduced to pro-Adani supporters, who lined the town, sporting
slogans and posters. Even politician Pauline Hanson took part in the pro-coal demonstrations, saying, “I’m sorry this is very political, because it depends on which politicians you put into parliament whether coal mining goes ahead.” Local pub owners such as local business owner Leslie Boal flat-out refused to serve protestors, and said, “We don’t want people from the south coming up here and telling us how to run our state. It’s going to cost the economy a lot of money if these mines are closed.” This idea of a small local group or town gaining much from an environmentally harmful project is used multiple times with Adani’s energy contracts. It’s also what pressures our government, to boost worker statistics and economical status in smaller towns. So what can we draw from this? Adani is a powerful business conglomerate that has subtly backed our government, lying and abusing our trust over and over, first with toxic pollutants flowing into rivers, then coal sediment dumpings, and now the number of jobs that would be created. In the hands of our Liberal Party, they would abuse Aboriginals’ sacred land titles, undo generations
of work to restore peace between our people and would sell off our land to a company that will only plunder our limited resources. It is important we recognize what they are doing, but also understand the two sides. If we are to solve the problem of Adani, we have to do something about our towns, the poorer part of our population. We have to look past money and temporary jobs as well as resources, and prepare for the future. We have to preserve the country, respect our Indigenous people’s tradition and culture, and protect our environment, not toss it away to temporary jobs and untrustworthy business giants. The Wangan and Jangalingou people as of this month have been stripped of their land rights and declared trespassers on the country they lived on, by the Queensland government, like a puppet dancing to the strings of Adani. It would have been comical had it not been such a serious, deceptively quiet situation. Contrary to what the people of Clermont said, about the mining decision being their livelihood, it is really is Australia as a whole’s livelihood, and it outweighs just one town in our country. As a nation, we have to decide what is right for the future of our lives, and stop businesses such as Adani from telling us what might benefit us.
Joanne Tran Against Climate Action
Could you please introduce yourself? Hi, I’m Joanne. I’m 17, I’m in Year 12 at Burwood Girls High School, and I’m very interested in politics. I’ve written for The Daily Telegraph about how taking action against climate change is a bad idea. Would you tell us about your political experiences? Sure. I’ve always been politically aware from a young age, but I guess it wasn’t really until when I started debating that I started pulling more towards one side over the other. And ever since then, I guess I’ve been quite vocal about my political values and my beliefs as well. You’ve publicly tended to voice opinions aligning to that of the Liberal Party, but has it always been that way? No, it hasn’t always been that way. I was always quite left-wing when I was younger. As I started researching and reading more, one of my big lightbulb moments was when I was learning about economics. You might not realise this, but economics influences every single government policy. You always have to factor in economics whenever you’re looking at government policy. How did you get into debating? It was an after school thing like public speaking. I think the best things you can do if you want to be
involved in politics, is to do debating at school. Even then, I think I was always quite political and joined the debating team quite late compared to my other teammates. Do you think people think that sacrificing our living standards temporarily and fixing climate change would be a viable option? The reason why I’m against Australia doing something like a carbon tax and putting our living standards on hold is that Australia only makes up 1.3% of the global carbon emissions. Australia could turn 100% renewable today, and it wouldn’t make a single dent in carbon emissions and climate change overall. Unless countries like China or America actually do something about climate change, it won’t actually affect climate change because they’re the biggest contributors. Should Australia start trying to advocate for more climate change policies to implement? It’s not actually going to change anything. China is building a new coal plant every week, and it doesn’t care what Australia thinks. If they actually cared, they could look at Germany and what they’re doing for renewables. They could look at what we did for the carbon tax. You don’t see them putting a carbon tax, because they understand the economic cost of implementing those policies in their
countries. They know that their people will be hurt the most with those policies. Do you feel like these children who are protesting are being used as political pawns? When I debate with people our age about these issues and I bring up economical arguments, it’s usually the first time they’ve heard about them. There’s economic arguments that they don’t know how to combat, and that just sort of made me realise, “Oh wow, you don’t even know these arguments, yet you’re so entrenched in what you believe in”. Unless they get the entire picture, they are very likely to be subjected to being political pawns. Being very naive and perfect political pawns, they do get taken advantage of by certain groups. Do you feel like those, like the organisers, who try to educate themselves don’t know enough about the issues, and therefore they continue to protest? I wouldn’t say the organisers understand the effects of their policies, because then they wouldn’t be advocating for those policies if they actually understood them. The thing is that I’ve talked to people who actually know the economic cost of things. I’m very pro-environment and want to protect it, but at the same time I feel that we have to understand the economic cost of things. I’ll be honest — I think I am
yet to encounter a person who understands all the economic arguments and still wants to advocate for action on climate change. Do you think it’s possible to transition to renewables by 2030? I don’t think so. Because Australia is such a resourcebased country, it’s gonna cost us a lot of jobs and a significant portion of our GDP. If we were to ban mining, we would not be able to afford things like the world-class education and world-class health care that we have here. What do you think Australia can do to solve climate change? I think Australia doesn’t have a solution to climate change. Are there any steps we can take at all? Unless the US or China actually starts to do anything, there is not much we can do about it. I’m not closed off to the idea of a global emissions training scheme, where everyone is legally bound to a treaty to cut down emissions on a more market-based solution, which is the emissions training scheme. But unless the US and China are involved, there is no point in Australia being involved as well, because we’re frankly just ourselves in the own foot.
In the scale of protest for climate stikes, do you think they would have affected the US policies? Honestly, no, I don’t think they would. The US pulled out from their Paris climate agreement, and their carbon emissions have actually gone down ever since. You don’t need the government to intervene at that point, the market will just correct itself. Well there is the possibility for market failure, isn’t there? If you look at the course of history, the market will always correct itself, and I just don’t see why the
market would fail here, especially when it comes to things like climate change. It’s such a pressing issue, and it will come to that point where the market will correct itself once consumer behaviour starts changing due to climate change. I feel like everything is interconnected with economics, once people actually start feeling the scientific effects of climate change they would start changing their own consumer behaviours in order to fix climate change or whatever.
Danielle Villafana-Pore For Climate Action
Could you please introduce yourself? I’m Danielle Villafana-Pore. I’m 15, I go to Fort Street High School, and I’m an organiser for the school strikes. How did you start doing school strikes? How it started was that Greta Thunberg was seen striking outside the Swedish Parliament, and that got picked up by students in regional Victoria in Castlemaine, and they started School Strike 4 Climate Australia. Then Jean Hinchliffe came to me at school one day saying “You know what we’re gonna do one day? We’re going to overthrow the government”. We had a long conversation, deciding that probably wasn’t a great idea, and so what we’ve made into a global movement is Fridays for Future and School Strike 4 Climate Change. In Australia, we organised big movements like the November 30th 2018 strike, the March 13th strike this year, and the May 3rd National Day of Action. I was asked to speak at the last strike and just talk about how climate change has impacted me personally, and generally just talk to people about climate change. From there I got even more involved because the media started picking things up. What does climate change mean personally for you? What I don’t understand is how people don’t care about climate change, when it could literally mean the end of our futures.
People are already dying from climate change. What I spoke about specifically, at the March 13th strike, which you can easily find a video of, is how I immigrated from the Philippines. I have a lot of family on the east coast of the Philippines and they have typhoons all the time. I’ve lost family members to typhoons there and the reality of it is that people have accepted these natural disasters in developing countries as just a state of being. What’s really happening is that we see the climate is changing and that natural disasters are gradually getting worse as a result of carbon emissions and climate change. It’s killing people right now. It’s a humanitarian crisis. The UN reported that we only have 11 years to prevent this from having the worst possible outcome. What that means to me, is that if we don’t take climate action now, my future and the future of humanity essentially is going to suffer the consequences. I don’t think that we can continue to see the environment as a price to pay for economic growth. That’s just not fair because people will die. Why do you think people resist the facts that climate change has an impact? The thing about climate change is that it’s an issue caused by the richer Western countries, and by the one percent in these Western countries. What that means is that the people at the root cause of the issue
won’t have any emotional attachment or empathy to the issue, because they tend not to be affected by it. What you’ll see is that people are going to be more concerned about money. They’re more concerned about economics than they are about the wellbeing of their constituents, but also the earth in general. People don’t care enough about our planet when they see it as such a large entity — “How is my individual action going to change anything?”. Another major issue is that in Australia, the school strikes aim is to stop the Adani coal mine from having new coal or gas projects and to have 100% renewables by 2030. It really stumps people when you say that. The Liberals currently barely have a policy on climate action and Labor wants to reduce carbon emissions by 2030, but it’s nowhere near enough. People go like, “Oh, what about the coal miners then?”, but at the end of the day, you are going to have a transition. However, you’re going to have to change, regardless of its now or 15 year later. We can’t keep killing our environment for the sake of archaic economics. Whether you change now, because we have the means and the resources, or you change 15 years in the future when it’s too late, you are going to pay for climate change. If you do it now, you will lose a few jobs, but they will
come back with new technology. If you do it later, you’re going to pay when the regional communities start running out of water. When our coastlines start coming this is something that we’re gonna have to pay for, and it’s our fault. Do you think you’ll be focusing on that 1% and trying to convince them, who do you think you’re trying to affect with the strikes? Well, with the school strikes, what we’re doing now is that we’re empowering and enabling our generation. What that means is when you have these massive actions and massive demonstrations, it puts pressure on our politicians and it puts pressure on the adults around us. We’re not necessarily targeting the one percent and trying to convince them, because there’s a point in time where you have to realise we can’t change peoples’ minds when they don’t think that what they’re doing is wrong. What you have to do is that you have to convince the regular world, the working people of Australia. You have to get the generations that are coming into the voting age now, to vote the right people into government and the right people into power. Do you think our youth should be more politically aware or active?
I think the issue isn’t necessarily whether or not they should be aware or active, but more so whether or not we listen to what they’re trying to say. The thing about the strikes is that since it’s such a big class action, people have to notice us. I think the thing about youth especially is that in a free country, youth will always be engaged. Even though we can’t vote, we can have our voices heard, and we’ve seen that in history. Teenagers who have the resources to access this information, they’ve always been engaged, and they’ve always been moving and pushing for social change. I think that it’s definitely something that we need to not only see more of, but we need to start taking the needs of our youths seriously and it’s the things that we do now which are going to have massive impacts on our lives, and we need to be listening to the youth, and we need to be making tangible and meaningful change based on what they are telling the politicians and our policymakers. So, with organising strikes, what has been the biggest struggle? The biggest struggle probably wouldn’t be getting youth engaged, but more so just getting adults to listen to us. We’ve had some backlash, but most of it has been on the basis of “Go back to school, what the heck are you doing? ” or “This is going to kill our economy, how dare you suggest that our economy suffers so the Earth doesn’t die.” These have been the two main bases for our backlash because there’s obviously a dichotomy when it comes to political beliefs in Australia. The problem is that since we have such a dichotomy, you have people in Labor and Greens who are willing to listen and are willing to make that change. Then you also have a large percentage of people who are on the other side, and so set in their ways that they are not willing to be open and listen. The issue with that is that even though you have this massive side that supports you, you have another massive side who are not going to change. One of the major issues of getting the LiberalNational politicians to acknowledge that it’s an issue and to get them to implement climate policies. I really do think that climate needs to be the face of future elections. Do you think it’s important for people to get permission from schools? At the end of the day, it is a strike and the school obviously can’t let you just go. They can’t just condone or support you going. But because they 14
knew it was happening and our teachers do believe in climate action, their way of showing their support was not stopping us. However, you have schools like Sydney Grammar, where they were threatened to suspend students if they were seen in their uniforms at the strike. I think you need to consider your school’s response, in the sense that this is incredibly important, but so is your education. It’s less about having the onus on the individual person pushing their school, but rather changing the attitudes of the higher powers within schools. So there are some criticisms of the strike, is it economically possible to reach 100% renewable? A lot of what I’ve seen from school strike for climate is that there’s a lot of rhetoric on moving towards something that’s economic in nature. Is it possible to go coal-free by 2030? A major issue is that we’ve known this was coming for a long time now, and we have the means and the resources. Of course, you’ll need a transition period, because for Australia, this is a big thing. But it’s something that needs to happen, and it’s 100% possible. That’s what we’ve heard from the scientists, engineers and all the experts when it comes to this. The issue is that when people think about economics, they think about what the parties have been feeding them. When it comes to the major opposition parties, like the Liberal-National Coalition, they’re all about protecting jobs. It makes sense, but their attitude is archaic and they’re not willing to transition to something that’s more sustainable. Renewable energy, solar energy, is a hundred percent possible, and it’s going to lower our emissions. We know that it’s possible, but it’s more about changing the attitudes of the politicians, and then the people, to make that transition. I’d love to see some sort of explanation for how this is going to work. I think that a lot of our ideals and a lot of our goals are based off things that are easily accessible. People aren’t genuinely willing to go and find this information for use. For example, one hundred percent renewables target is the foundation for a lot of our goals. These were based off reports on the impacts of Adani, including the economics of it. However, a lot of it was actually based on reports by the UN, especially the Paris Climate Agreements. If you really view to all the UN environmental and humanitarian reports, you’ll find exactly what we’re talking about.
So, the second, more absurd criticism, is that this is just a huge adult conspiracy, manipulating young children. I’ve seen two adults and they’re actually pretty young, I think they’re closer to your age. We do have adult supporters, their age is generally around 20, so 1st or 2nd-year university students. But I think a lot of that conspiracy started when Geddup, an advocacy agency started getting involved. There’s the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which has people who are legally adults. There are two main branches, School Strike 4 Climate and the Australia Youth Climate Coalition, these are two very different segments. School Strike 4 Climate is entirely under 18, we’re all high school students and most of our communication is mainly done over DMs and Messenger. And there’s the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which was a pre-existing organisation and legally, young people are defined as under 24, and that’s pretty much what it is. The strikes are completely youth organised, and the only adult assistance we’ve really had when it comes to the strike are marshalls. You can’t have a 10-year-old marshall with 30,000 people, it’s completely youth-led in one massive Slack, and god knows how many group chats. What kind of criticism do you have for people like Joanne? I don’t want to be attacking Joanne individually, but, I think there’s a major issue with young people and adults involved who lean in towards the right. Those
who are dedicated to these conservative parties, following their party regardless of facts. They’re unwilling to accept change when it goes against the traditional, and frankly archaic values of the party because they’re set in their ways. If you keep following these traditions, how everything has been for the last hundred years since the industrial revolution, you’re going to end up with an Earth which is distraught. It would be destroyed by humanity because no intelligent race idly accepts the destruction of their only habitat. If you only keep complicit to the fact that you’ve been treating it is wrong, you’re just going to lead to your own destruction. Whether you pay for it now or you pay for it later, you’re going to have to pay for it. That’s going to look like a loss of life, loss of habitat and that’s something we’re already seeing that with the reef. Do you have any advice to the people who say students in school are sort of aware about the climate strikes but don’t know how to go out there and do it? One thing that’s really important is to get involved in social and political movements. I completely support kids going on strike, but I think that it’s incredibly important for them to research the debates and understand both sides. They should make these decisions for themselves and just be informed politically and socially because that’s what they need to be doing.
The 4U Paper - September September 2019 (Issue 46) Designed by Dominic Cheung, Jaiden Gill With thanks to: Gary Chan, Owen Mon, Joshua Chan, Perry Chen, Eric Li, Leo Zhu nsbvisions.com