Floods, droughts and coal

For a discussion about the links, consequences and finance relating to coal, droughts and floods you may wish to have a look at my article in The Fifth Estate, here:


Time to turn off the coal, methinks,


One Response to “Floods, droughts and coal”
  1. Gunter says:

    Michael, I just read your post about floods, droughts and coal. We are having a world wide energy crisis on our door steps, the IEA, CIA, and other sources are telling us. While we don’t feel it yet, the Chinese are already in trouble, having to switch off electricity in some areas and to some industries because of insufficient coal supply for their power stations.

    Plus you might be aware China is building a new coal fired power station each weeks which needs more coal. A small but still substantial amount of coal comes from Australia.

    Let’s for a moment observe from a very far distance what will happen in the medium or long term if Australia refuses to send coal exports to China:

    Many Chinese will be in the dark and cold. If one or the other has a world map at hand he might find that not too far south of China is a huge continent with huge amounts of coal – and virtually uninhabited, at least compared to China. Only a few people, and they don’t give away their coal.

    History teaches us that one billion Chinese would not suffer in the cold and dark if the solution is so clear, and we would at some stage expect that they come and take what they need.

    Now for a strategic decision after accepting that 1,000 million people with not suffer in the dark and cold because just 20 million don’t want to give them something let’s again step back to get a view from the distance, this time time-wise.

    Once we accept the fact that China will get the coal it needs from Australia either by buying it or by sending their Navy we could make a really smart decision: Give them all they want, I mean sell them all they want, and take their money.

    With that money build wind, solar, wave and whatever renewable energy is available. Australia has it all. At some stage there will be the end of Australian coal. Then invite the Chinese government officials to check for themselves. They will return home and will not see any reason to use force, because there is nothing worth it.

    Australia, however, will then be 100 % powered by renewables, and might be even in a situation to sell renewable electricity to China. Forever, and no one can take that away.

    I know this proposal requires long term strategic thinking. But I am convinced it is the only way it will work in the long run. It would not offer the short term solution regarding climate change that you are seeking. But once you accept what history teaches us it might be worth considering.

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  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

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