A glimpse into coal’s future

15 June 2015

When Tony Abbott said coal was good for humanity, I’m sure he didn’t expect to be attending its funeral in a few years time.

But he will. And that is because coal is dying. And plummeting through the floor at rapid rates causing prices to drop and coal mines to close.

Our generation is becoming increasingly knowledgeable on the effects of climate change. Renewable energy is becoming cheaper, more accessible and an exceptional environmentally friendly alternative to coal consumption.

You might have heard about the big ugly Carmichael mine that has been proposed to move in next door to the Great Barrier Reef for eternity and beyond. Alas! It cannot go forth without money. The Big Four Australian banks (Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and Westpac) are carefully reviewing whether or not they should fund this disaster. Considering some of these banks pride themselves on their sustainable practices, getting involved in a project like this will destroy their reputation. After careful thought, we put together some other options for them that won’t wreck the Reef.

The Ocean Cleanup: About 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year. This device could remove 42% of that rubbish. Currently it is due to commence in 2016 between Hawaii and California, if it is proven to be effective, with funding, this project could be moved to the Pacific Ocean and continue through to the next stages of its development over several years.

ocean clean up 1

A solar bike path! This has been implemented in the Netherlands in 2014 and is working to generate electricity and power. Created from cheap, mass produced solar panels, this has been funded mainly by the local authority and cost around 3 million euro. With a country as huge and sunny as Australia, why not put one here? It will encourage people to ride their bikes and generate power without pollution from coal.

Nederland track

Image from The Guardian 

NT Northern Territory Solar Energy Transformation Program led by Power and Water Corporation Indigenous Essential Services. The Solar Energy Transformation Program or SETuP aims to transform the delivery of electricity in remote off-grid communities throughout the Northern Territory. At the moment, $27,500,000 has been provided of the total $55,000,000.

solar roof

Image from arena.gov.au

A high speed bullet train running between Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and other capital cities within the country. Trains burn less fossil fuel than aeroplanes, and they have the ability to carry much more freight, including people. The average cost of this project is estimated to be $114 billion. Commonwealth Bank investing would go a long, environmental way.

bullit train

Image from Adambant.com

Lastly, instead of funding a coal mine next to the Great Barrier Reef, why not invest in keeping it alive. The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions, covers 300,000 square kilometres and is worth $2 billion per year to Australia’s economy. Keeping it alive, would have a bigger benefit than a unwanted coal mine. That’s some food for thought.

Aerial of Great Barrier Reef

And if you are REALLY stuck for ideas, here are a few quick ones.

  • Promote the export of Australian environmental technology and contribute to sustainable economic growth
  • Promote research and innovation in environmental technology.
  • Wind farms!
  • Marine energy. We are surrounded by the ocean.
  • We are in a sunny sunburnt country. There is no better place for solar projects.

The question is, How could coal possibly survive when nobody’s buying it? The answer is, it can’t. And it won’t if we work together.  

windmil 1