Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friends of Felton occupy Anna Bligh's office


Friday 31st October

Time : 12.30pm

Location : Anna Bligh’s office, West End, Brisbane

Farmers occupy Qld Premier’s office to save Darling Downs from coal mining

The Friends of Felton group today sat on the floor in the Premier’s office to demand the Government introduce legislation to protect prime farmland from mining. The peaceful protest involved around 25 people.

Spokesman Rob McCreath said “The mining boom is out of control. Areas such as Felton, Jimbour, and Warra are the jewels in the crown of rural Queensland. The Premier must act now to protect our food bowl from destruction.”

The group set up a mock lunch table on the pavement outside the office, with a plate of coal for the Premier’s lunch, and a glass of polluted water.

The protesters shared their own picnic lunch with onlookers – a picnic made from fresh Darling Downs ingredients.


Shadez said...

Is it just me, or does this incredibly childish? Most kids stop playing pretend somewhere around 9, yet, for some reason, you feel the need to have someone wear a poorly constructed cut out mask of Anna Bligh.

My question to you is, what does this achieve? Sure, to your group it may seem like a good laugh, but this, along with plastering "no mine" stickers on the door of the premier's office seems awfully immature, in an almost try hard teenage rebel kind of way.

Ask yourselves what you are doing, and why you are doing it. All these childish forms of protest do is undermine the message you are trying to get across.

But more importantly, ask yourselves, why can a coal mine and a farm not coexist? It isn't as though Ambre are just going to go ahead and throw acid on the crops for fun. The Hunter Valley in NSW is a perfect example of how coal mines can coexist with large scale farms, so why is it not the same for Felton? I have personally spent 6 years of my life living in the Hunter Valley, 4 of which were on a farm, which was in no way hindered by the mining industry in the area.

At least Ambre are trying to provide us with another viable energy source, which is something the world sorely needs. If you think you can do better, then go out and do so. If not, stop trying to prevent change.

Siegfried said...

The concept of future energy seems to me to be a very valid point.

On the topic of future energy it seems that we have very little choice in the matter. While in principle it would be just wonderful to have clean, efficient energy the fact is that it simply does not exist in any viable form in the world today. Whether you choose to look at wind, solar or hydro the costs and difficulties with these types of energy are blatantly prohibitive.

What this comes down to is how effective we really can be with our energy production. The two major issues that people seem to focus on when talking about future energy are:
1)The renewability of the source of the energy
2)The Carbon Emissions associated with that form of energy production

There is no denying that we must change the types of energy that we rely upon however we must acknowledge that completely clean energy will not happen overnight and therefore we must take a pragmatic and realistic approach to the way we look at future energy. This pragmatic approach requires us to ask the question of whether we focus on renewability or carbon emissions to determine what systems are preferable.

Looking at the situation from a pragmatic standpoint there is no silver bullet to environmental problems however there are a number of steps that can be taken in the interim to mitigate environmental damage. These interim solutions are solutions that are efficient, cost effective and comparatively clean (When compared with the technologies of decades past.)

Perhaps the two most practical solutions for the problem of mass power production in Australia are clean coal technologies and nuclear power which address the issues in different but ultimately satisfying manners.

The method which the government is choosing to pursue, that of clean coal, is perhaps the more logical for Australia, Queensland in particular. Clean coal systems (in varying degrees) are comparatively simple to retrofit to existing coal facilities while remaining efficient in power production and filtering up to 99% of dangerous gasses from the emissions of the plant.
The issue of the renewability of the source of the energy is not addressed with the clean coal solution. As an interim solution however clean coal technology seems to be a step in the right direction, reducing harmful emissions and improving efficiency certainly addresses some major issues with our current behaviour.

Clean coal though can only be facilitated by the continued mining of Australia’s and Queensland’s extensive coal reserves. It is also worth noting that some sources point to the use of high quality coal (such as that found in some places in Queensland) as improving the efficiency of coal power generators.

Nuclear power faces the traditional safety arguments and perhaps even more objection than coal in some circles. The fact remains that nuclear power is carbon emission free, the risk of melt down is low and steps can be taken to mitigate this.
Nuclear fission is among the most efficient methods of generating power and although (like clean coal) it does not address the issue of renewability this method is again an existing viable interim method that we can use to reduce carbon emissions and bridge the gap between how we do things and how we could do things.

Supplementary energy, for example energy for heating or cooking has up until this point been traditionally provided by the burning of natural gas such as butane or propane. Interestingly a coal derivative known as DME or dimethyl ether shows great potential as a clean burning hydrocarbon fuel which could replace butane, propane and even fuel in diesel, petrol and gas turbine engines.
DME has a lower emission profile than existing fuels but being a coal derivative would again require the continued mining of high quality coal. Keep in mind however that wide uptake of this coal derivative would not only mean a larger market for export but cheaper fuel here in Australia (assuming that the DME was processed locally.) For all intensive purposes any increase in coal production, export and demand is simply another means with which to whether the global economic collapse with which we are all currently faced.

In conclusion, if approaching environmental issues from a purely pragmatic standpoint another major coal mining facility is needed. To assist the clean coal endeavor which is a necessary interim energy production method, to promote research and in turn uptake of DME as an alternate fuel and to allow Australia by virtue of it’s extensive reserves of resources to come through this time of economic turmoil in a comparatively good condition.

spokkeh said...

I would be highly doubtful of Anna Bligh's integrity if she were to choose to disallow a coal mine being built by a progressive company such as Ambre, who through their innovative R&D are not only mining coal, but finding more efficient ways of processing it. I believe that you 'Friends of Felton' are making mountains out of molehills, and demonizing an otherwise visionary company.

The Prophet of Revenge said...

Allowing a mining giant such as Ambre to build such a project not only stimulates growth in the region but also creates jobs for Queensland.