Arrow Energy hands back permit

17 Sept 2012. On Wednesday the Southern Downs Protection Group celebrated the decision by mining company Arrow Energy to hand back a state-issued permit allowing it to explore for coal seam gas on the Southern Downs. Warwick Daily News

Arctic sea ice shrinks to smallest extent ever recorded

14 Sept 2012. Rate of summer ice melt smashes two previous record lows and prompts warnings of accelerated climate change. John Vidal, The Guardian

Impact of climate change on food prices is underestimated, Oxfam warns

5 Sept 2012. Climate change's impact on future food prices is being underestimated, Oxfam warned in a report on Wednesday. Rebecca Smithers, The Guardian

CSIRO rejects coal seam gas claims

4 Sept. The CSIRO has rejected claims made by the coal seam gas industry in a new TV advertising campaign, and asked last week that the ads not be aired.

The commercial includes the statement: "CSIRO [and government studies] have shown that groundwater is safe with coal seam gas".

However, the national science body said this afternoon that this claim was not true. Ben Cubby, SMH

White residue in Condamine River

4 Sept. A STRANGE white residue has appeared on the banks of the Condamine River south of Dulacca, in the wake of similar reports about the Chinchilla Weir. SBN

Air pollution reaching extreme levels, warns Hunter Valley council

3 Sept 2012. HUNTER VALLEY winemakers and residents will today step up the campaign against mining in their backyards as the local council warns dust in the region is reaching ''extreme'' levels. Saffron Howden, SMH

What Sea-Ice Melt Means For Our Climate Policy

28 Aug 2012. There's half as much sea-ice as there was 30 years ago and the annual summer melt keeps smashing records. David Spratt on why Australian policy-makers should be paying attention. New Matilda

Felton farmers say victory is 'sweet'

28 Aug 2012. The Premier has reaffirmed the LNP's election commitment not to allow mining in the Felton Valley on the Darling Downs. ABC News

Courier Mail 28 Aug 2012

When Communities Say No To Miners

21 Aug 2012. Big mining projects need community approval as well as government licenses. It's a sign of a healthy democracy when politicians respect a community's social license, writes Julie Macken - New Matilda

Geologist warns CSG could have caused fire

21 Aug 2012. An experienced geologist says there's a strong chance coal seam gas (CSG) activities are behind a gas fire burning at an old coal exploration well in Queensland. A bushfire was reported west of Dalby on Saturday, near Peabody Energy's Wilkie Creek coalmine and Arrow Energy's Daandine CSG project. Petrina Berry, AAP

Gas fracking should not be allowed anywhere, says top environmentalist

20 Aug 2012. THE GOVERNMENT would “become the shoeshine boy of the [shale gas] industry” if it allowed fracking to take place anywhere in Ireland, according to the Nigerian human rights activist who heads Friends of the Earth International. Nnimmo Bassey said Ministers “should not be allowed to sacrifice the environment on the altar of corporate greed” – as they had done for decades in his own country, where “the entire nation was Shell’s concession”. Frank McDonald, Irish Times

Queensland's coal mining future drowning as exports plunge and capital programs wind back

21 Aug 2012. THE coal industry has hit a brick wall with another major miner reviewing all its expansions as exports plunge and BHP Billiton winds back its capital program. Most thermal coal mines in Queensland are now claimed to be running at a loss. John McCarthy, Courier Mail

Coal gas stream blaze still alight at Daandine, west of Dalby

20 Aug 2012. A METHANE fire in a hole on coal seam gas mining land is still burning but how the methane ignited is still unknown. Courier Mail

Climate change sees tropical fish arrive in Tasmania

17 Aug 2012. The CSIRO is warning climate change is having a big impact on the country's oceans, with tropical fish turning up as far south as Tasmania. Connor Duffy, ABC

Farmers' property rights under threat

15 Aug 2012. DEFEND your property rights while you can, Dalby lawyer Peter Shannon told the Australian Cotton Conference: farmers have few rights left, and fewer lawyers to defend them. "Industry has pretty well stitched up every experienced resource or property lawyer in Queensland or elsewhere," said Mr Shannon, who practices with Shannon Donaldson Province Lawyers. He also has a half-share in a cotton farm. Matthew Cawood, The Land

MP Baldwin tells parliament of coal dust impact

16 Aug 2012. Growing community concern about dust emissions from the Hunter’s coal trains needed to be urgently addressed, Federal Parliament heard yesterday. Paterson MP Bob Baldwin spoke about his experience as a resident living near the region’s main coal line. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

Coal seam gas review on drilling leaks could up carbon costs

15 Aug 2012. The federal government has commissioned a review into the measurement of greenhouse emissions from coal seam gas drilling, amid questions over precisely how much gas leaks during the drilling process. Ben Cubby, SMH

Mining interests shocked as licences inquiry unveiled

8 Aug 2012. SENIOR figures in the state's resources industry and politics were left reeling yesterday after an announcement that authorities would conduct a royal commission-style inquiry into four Hunter Valley mining licences potentially worth billions of dollars. SMH


Kids at 60 Hunter schools eat lunch next to coal rail line

5 Aug 2012. MORE than 23,000 Hunter school students spend their lunchtimes within 500 metres of the Hunter’s coal rail corridor. Alison Branley, Newcastle Herald

Ambre mine row escalates

2 Aug 2012. AMBRE Energy has counter-sued US partner Cloud Peak Energy in an escalating battle over a Montana mine ahead of Ambre's proposed $200 million Australian float. Anthony Klan, The Australian

Angry Queensland farmers boycott Ambre Energy's coalmine study

31 July 2012. ANGRY Queensland farmers say Ambre Energy is acting in "contempt of government policy" by attempting to push ahead with a controversial coalmine. Anthony Klan, The Australian

Mining boom forecast to end in two years

23 July 2012. AUSTRALIA'S budget surplus has evaporated and its mining investment boom has only two years to run, according to Deloitte Access Economics. Peter Martin, SMH

Green lobby sees red over major projects timetable and mine consultation periods

23 July 2012. NEW laws mean Queenslanders will get only five days more to frame objections to development of a huge coalmine than they have to comment on renovation of a character house. Brian Williams, Courier-Mail

David Letterman On Fracking: 'We're Screwed' (VIDEO)

20 July 2012. On Wednesday night's "Late Show," host David Letterman took several minutes to share his thoughts on fracking. Scolding the "greedy oil and gas companies of this country," Letterman said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're screwed." Huffington Post

A World Without Coral Reefs

13 July 2012. IT’S past time to tell the truth about the state of the world’s coral reefs, the nurseries of tropical coastal fish stocks. They have become zombie ecosystems, neither dead nor truly alive in any functional sense, and on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation. There will be remnants here and there, but the global coral reef ecosystem — with its storehouse of biodiversity and fisheries supporting millions of the world’s poor — will cease to be. Roger Bradbury, New York Times

Western Colorado Struggles as Energy Jobs Fade

28 June 2012. MEEKER, Colo. — The news of a nationwide energy boom is almost too much for people in this town built atop a sea of oil shale and natural gas, where rusting tanks line the highways and ExxonMobil helped to finance the 4-H club’s new community center. Jack Healy, New York Times

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

19 July 2012. Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is. Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone

Wind turbine syndrome: a classic ‘communicated’ disease

20 July 2012. At the beginning of this year I started collecting examples of health problems some people were attributing to wind turbine exposure. I had noticed a growing number of such claims on the internet and was curious about how many I could find. Simon Chapman, The Conversation

Rio Tinto to cut jobs as coal falls

19 July 2012. RIO Tinto says jobs will go at a central Queensland mine as the company battles falling coal prices. The mining giant says it is looking at ways to reduce its costs at its Clermont Coal Mine, west of Mackay, to improve competitiveness as the price of thermal coal drops. AAP

Key mines given free rein over aquifers

19 July 2012. THE most controversial coal and coal seam gas mining projects could still go ahead despite a negative assessment of their impact on the water table under plans which have escalated the dispute over land use. The most recent version of the NSW government's ''aquifer interference policy'' was presented to farmers, irrigators and mining and environment groups yesterday by the Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard. Sean Nicholls, SMH

Food spikes become part of the scenery

18 July 2012. RISING food prices? Get used to it. This year's drought in key US crop-growing regions has spurred talk of another global food crisis; the benchmark corn futures price has risen 21 per cent this month, while wheat is up 16 per cent. That's bad news for countries reliant on food imports, particularly developing nations. But food price volatility is becoming the norm.Andrew Peaple, WSJ

Mining and the environment: the future of Australia’s brand

11 July 2012. Australia has built a strong global brand based on its iconic natural beauty. For example, the new Australia Tourism campaign, “There’s nothing like Australia”, features icons like the Kimberley, Uluru, and the Great Barrier Reef. But on the flip-side, mining is an important part of the Australian economy, representing the third largest sector-share of GDP in 2009-2010 at 8.4%. As the economic importance of mining accelerates, can these two core Australian brands continue to co-exist without impacting one another? Vanessa Adams, The Conversation

Regulator ignores toxic plume polluting river for a decade

18 July 2012. NSW governments have known for a decade about a major toxic plume in the Georges River south of Sydney from a coalmine owned by BHP Billiton, but have never pressed the company to stop polluting. Ben Cubby, SMH

Chinese mining executive would rather invest in Australia's agriculture to meet China's food demand

17 July 2012. THE head of a $7 billion Chinese mining project in the Pilbara says Australia has a golden opportunity to meet China's soaring demand for high-quality food and he would prefer to invest in agriculture rather than iron ore, given the risk of falling prices for the steelmaking ingredient. Andrew Burrell, The Australian

Nemo faces acid test in real-life movie sequel

11 July 2012. The International Coral Reef symposium in Cairns yesterday heard disturbing new evidence that burning fossil fuels was not only pushing up global temperatures, but also ocean acidity that in turn could send the brains of some fish species haywire. Peter Michael, Courier-Mail

Ferguson defends coal seam gas industry

10 July 2012. The federal tourism minister has defended the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, saying putting gas wells on farms is no different to installing wind turbines. AAP

Local business falls to mine boom

6 July 2012. ANOTHER local business is to close in Emerald after a struggle to compete with the mining industry. The Emerald branch of McIntosh & Son will cease business after 22 years servicing the region with new and used farm machinery. Central Qld News

As the climate changes, extreme weather isn't that extreme any more

4 July 2012. With the US heatwave and Europe's rain, records are tumbling. Formerly rare occurrences are becoming the new normal. John Vidal, The Guardian

Government takes razor to Environmental Defender’s Office

5 July 2012. Queensland’s Environmental Defender’s Office is the latest victim of the Newman government’s razor gang, losing funds to help communities fight miners and developers. AAP

CSG industry in crisis as gas plays face $20bn blowout

7 July 2012. QUEENSLAND'S burgeoning $60 billion coal-seam gas export industry is facing growing doubts about its ability to supply enough gas to three giant export plants due to start in Gladstone in 2014, and to contain development costs.

A withering assessment of the projects was delivered this week by US researchers Bernstein, whose Hong Kong-based energy analysts claimed the industry was in crisis and faced another $US10bn ($9.75bn) in blowouts on top of about $US10bn announced in recent months.

This came in an estimate, which was not backed up by other analysts, that 12,000 more onshore CSG wells than planned may have to be drilled, taking total wells drilled to about 30,000.

While Melbourne-based analysts at UBS and Morgan Stanley gave a more circumspect view of the progress of Origin Energy, Santos and some of the world's biggest oil majors working to export through Gladstone, there is a growing feeling that the industry will struggle to supply all the gas needed by the plants

Bernstein analyst Neil Beveridge said he expected cost overruns to erode most of the net present value of the projects, with more wells needed than expected, and cited a drilling schedule that was already lagging.

"The industry must shoulder a large part of responsibility for how events have panned out," Mr Beveridge said.

"The dash for CSG has resulted in some projects being sanctioned before being ready, some without sufficient reserves."

Mr Beveridge said developers had shown limited ability to co-operate on infrastructure and remained too optimistic about well performance.

The operators of the three projects -- BG Group, Santos and Origin -- all declined to comment yesterday on the report.

Mr Beveridge said Santos's Gladstone LNG project faced the highest risk, with reserves "well below target".

Origin's Australia Pacific LNG joint venture with ConocoPhillips was the most solid, but still faced cost and timing pressures.

Santos and BG, which recently announced cost over-runs, have admitted that rain slowed their drilling programs but, other than that, all three projects maintain they are on track for their scheduled first LNG exports.

Cost blowouts have plagued most resources projects in recent years and the Gladstone projects are no exception.

In May, BG announced a $US5bn blowout at its Queensland Curtis LNG project, while Santos and Origin have boosted spending estimates.

Santos brought forward $US2.5bn of capital spending at its Gladstone LNG project to ensure it has enough gas to supply its plant, while Origin switched the cost estimate from $US20bn to $23bn.

UBS analyst Gordon Ramsay said the whole LNG industry was building projects in a high-cost environment.

"The issue for the (CSG) industry is that when you get out of the sweet spots, the wells aren't as productive and that means you have to drill more wells or use more technology to drill more horizontal ones or you fracture stimulate and that means higher costs to get the gas out," he said.

Morgan Stanley analyst Stuart Baker pointed out that there were still big international companies keen to buy into the projects, and that conventional gas projects also had reserve and production risks.

"These are $60bn worth of project developments and the <nobr>prize</nobr> on the other side of that will be 20 million tonnes of LNG per annum, with revenue streams over $US20bn per annum," Mr Baker said.

Neither analyst would back Bernstein's well estimate. Matt Chambers, The Australian

Queensland LNG enforcement unit to investigate 'flammable, toxic' water in Chinchilla bore near CSG project

2 July 2012. THE State Government has called in its LNG enforcement unit to investigate why a household water bore on a Chinchilla property has suddenly become flammable and apparently toxic. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail

Newman is digging in wrong hole

27 June 2012. In Queensland, the effects of Dutch disease are clear for all to see. The Queensland manufacturing sector has been shedding jobs for the past four years. The accommodation and food services industry, which includes a large portion of the tourism industry, has not had positive economic growth in five years. The continued growth in exports of Australia's resources has pushed up the exchange rate and, as a result, other industries are declining. Matt Grudnoff, Courier-Mail

Chesapeake Settles $1.6 Million Pollution Case

22 June 2012. After being sued by a group of families in Pennsylvania with methane-contaminated water, fracking giant Chesapeake agreed today to pay the families a $1.6 million settlement. What’s particularly noteworthy is, for perhaps the first time, the details of a fracking case are being made public.

The oil and gas industry has gotten used to operating in secret, typically forcing families to sign non-disclosure agreements before it will settle any pollution lawsuit (see this chart for more details.) But in this case, the families refused to stay quiet and insisted that details of their case be made public. That’s big news. Kathleen Sutcliffe, Earth Justice

The Mendacity of Hope

18 June 2012. The summits which promise to save the world keep us dangling, not mobilising. Worn down by hope. That’s the predicament of those who have sought to defend the earth’s living systems. Every time governments meet to discuss the environmental crisis, we are told that this is the “make or break summit”, upon which the future of the world depends. The talks might have failed before, but this time the light of reason will descend upon the world. George Monbiot

Global carbon emissions rise is far bigger than previous estimates

21 June 2012. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by even more than previously thought, according to new data analysed by the Guardian, casting doubt on whether the world can avoid dangerous climate change. Simon Rogers & Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Why there's only one honest objection to wind farms

21 June 2012. The daft claim that wind subsidies have driven 50,000 people into fuel poverty exemplifies the dishonesty of most objections. Damian Carrington, The Guardian

The UN is the wrong tool for climate change

21 June 2012. Scientists warn that the sooner we act to address the emergency, the better the outcome will be. If we dither too long, some effects will be inevitable. Climate change then, is not like peace or health: it is not a long-term problem to be addressed incrementally through careful management and negotiated co-ordination. It is a problem that needs an immediate, decisive and bold response. The United Nations, for all the good it does, is not the tool to address climate change. Sara Phillips, ABC

Australia has failed to protect Great Barrier Reef, says United Nations report

21 June 2012. A UNITED Nations report has declared Australia had failed to properly protect the Great Barrier Reef and called for a panel of overseas experts to review the natural wonder and safeguard its future.

Development in Queensland was out of control and about 35 projects scheduled for approval in the next year had put the Reef at further risk, according to a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Brian Williams, Courier-Mail

Queensland's farmers and miners in $250b title fight over access to grazing land

19 June 2012. QUEENSLAND'S farmers, like Valda Mason and her brother Ted, are locked in an epic battle with miners over access to the state's prize grazing land in the hunt for more of our coal and mineral reserves. Peter Michael, Courier-Mail

The Risk Of Cashing In On The Reef

14 June 2012. It got nasty quickly when Greenpeace took out an ad in the Financial Times explaining the riskiness of mining projects on the Great Barrier Reef. Julie Macken on why investors need to know. New Matilda

The burning questions that won't go away

16 June 2012. Carbon capture and storage technology is far from being viable, writes Lenore Taylor SMH

Federal ‘green-tape’ myth for Alpha mine

6 June 2012. The dispute between the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments over the approval of Gina Rinehart’s Alpha Coal Mine continues to escalate with the Prime Minister now backing her Environment Minister, Tony Burke, who the Queensland Premier Campbell Newman last night called a “rogue minister”. Chris McGrath, The Conversation

The Race To Mine The Hunter Valley

13 June 2012. In the frenzy to dig it up and ship it out, coal mining has boomed close to regional population centres. Now it’s pushing out the industries that keep those towns ticking. Sarah-Jane Collins, The Global Mail

Doctor to assess mine dust impact on children

15 June 2012. The next phase of a Hunter Valley doctor's study on the health impacts of mining will compare the lung function of children with daily data from new dust monitors. Singleton GP Dr Tuan Au is looking for volunteers for daily testing at his surgery after being told carrying out the tests at local schools may be disruptive. ABC News

Passing through with pipes

15 June 2012. SEMI-trailers carrying 18-metre long coal seam gas pipes have started passing through Banana and Taroom. The steel is being trucked from Australia Pacific LNG's stockpile at Callide, north of Biloela, to a laydown area outside Wandoan. Australian Pacific LNG pipeline community relations officer Bill Webb said 10 trucks a day were making the trip along the Leichhardt Hwy to Wandoan and this was expected to double as the project ramped up. Cameron Mccrohon, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

NSW Health warns of mine dust effects

15 June 2012. THE NSW Department of Health is standing by its assertions that dust from the proposed Ashton South East open-cut mine could have adverse effects on the health of nearby Camberwell residents.

A report commissioned by the health department from the CSIRO said a new air quality monitoring station at Camberwell had measured 11 excesses in nine months, even though wet weather had suppressed dust levels and one nearby open-cut had stopped mining in September. Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald

CSG waste water trucked to Ipswich

13 June 2012. SWANBANK could become a dumping ground for western Queensland's coal seam gas boom. Arrow Energy's Surat Gas Project, which runs from Wandoan to Dalby and Goondiwindi in the state's south-west, has proposed to use facilities at Swanbank to dispose of brine water. Geoff Egan, Qld Times

How will CSG manage the salt time-bomb?

13 June 2012. One of the most significant unresolved questions as coal seam gas wells expand rapidly across eastern Australia is how the industry will deal with the huge volumes of salt it produces. James Nason, BeefCentral

Nurse questions coal seam gas

11 June 2012. A REGISTERED nurse who has plans to do a doctorate of philosophy (PHD) on "the truth about coal seam gas" has questioned the credibility of the gas industry claims that the public had nothing to worry about on the health front. The Daily Examiner

Register for air quality alerts

8 June 2012. SINGLETON NSW residents are being encouraged to subscribe to the state government’s free air quality alert system. Telephone messages and email alerts are available for the 14 Upper Hunter air quality monitoring network stations. The Office of Environment and Heritage chief executive Sally Barnes recommended the alerts to people susceptible to health impacts as the information would reliably inform them of poor air quality days. Singleton Argus

Earth nearing 'tipping point,' study warns

6 June 2012. Earth is rapidly headed toward a catastrophic breakdown if humans don't get their act together, according to an international group of scientists.Stephanie Pappas,

Families feel trapped in coal seam gas estate

6 June 2012. Government gas investigators have been sent to the Tara residential estate, west of Brisbane, amid reports of gassy odours and children with nose bleeds, headaches and rashes. AAP/Herald Sun

Morocco promotes solar energy with plane landing

6 June 2012. Morocco's ambitious and expensive plan to draw 40 percent of its energy needs from the limitless power of its blazing sun by 2020 received a publicity boost this week as the first solar powered plane to make an intercontinental flight landed in the North African kingdom. Paul Schem, SMH

I'll not sell up to coal company, says only man left in town

7 June 2012. ACLAND, QUEENSLAND // Acland used to be a thriving little town. It had a school, two churches, several shops and a railway station. But in recent years, as an open-cast coal mine crept ever closer, residents have fled - and now only one householder remains, Glen Beutel. Kathy Narks, The National

Premier Newman can do climate denial

6 June 2012. Just in case anyone was in any doubt, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman reminded Australia earlier this week that his state was most certainly “in the coal business” and that protecting the Great Barrier Reef wouldn’t come before fossil fuel exports. Graham Readfearn, Reneweconomy

Renewable energy schemes help boost farmers' profits

4 June 2012. Surge in use of wind and solar power is providing secondary income for UK agriculture sector, in addition to rural tourism. Terry Macalister, The Guardian

UNESCO’s Great Barrier Reef report: experts respond

4 June 2012. A damning UNESCO report has criticised management of the Great Barrier Reef and warned that the area could be downgraded to a world heritage site “in danger” unless Australia makes major changes to its supervision. The Conversation

Miners cause problems then complain about them

4 June 2012. Like a man who buys a cheap house next to a pub and then complains that the noise late at night is depressing his house price, the Minerals Council has come out and complained that Australia is now an expensive place to do mining. Matt Grudnoff, ABC Unleashed

German government rejects fracking, saying they are “very skeptical” about the technology

8 May 2012. Germany has put the brakes on plans to use hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, to extract natural gas in places where it is difficult to access, such as shale or coal beds. Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and Economy Minister Philipp Rösler have agreed to oppose the controversial process for the time being, SPIEGEL has learned. Der Speigel

Bubble trouble and CSG risk assessment in the Surat Basin

4 June 2012. On 28 May Dayne Pratsky filmed this dramatic footage of gas bubbles which have appeared in four places over a five-kilometre stretch in the Condamine River near Chinchilla. As this Channel Ten item shows (both courtesy of gasileaks) Origin Energy were quick off the mark with calming words. Brian Bahnisch, Crikey

Premier Campbell Newman will not halt port and industry development on Queensland's coast to protect Great Barrier Reef

2 June 2012. HALTING port and industry development along Queensland's coast to protect the Great Barrier Reef is not an option, Premier Campbell Newman says. Kathleen Donaghey, Courier Mail

Using shale gas over coal does not help climate, says big gas investor

29 May 2012. Scottish Widows Investment Partnership says fracking companies not bothering to capture 'fugitive methane', Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Top US companies shelling out to block action on climate change

30 May 2012. Some of America's top companies are spending heavily to block action on climate change or discredit climate science, despite public commitments to sustainable and green values, a new report has found. The Guardian

Politics must catch up with solar

1 June 2012. IT is time politicians in state and federal parliaments had a look at what's happening in the solar photovoltaic market. There is a revolution going on in the electricity industry and no one in politics seems to have noticed. Giles Parkinson, The Australian

Solar power generation world record set in Germany

28 May 2012. Plants produced 22 gigawatts at midday hours on Friday and Saturday, meeting half country's electricity needs on second day. The Guardian

'Golden age of gas' threatens renewable energy, IEA warns

29 May 2012. A "golden age of gas" spurred by a tripling of shale gas from fracking and other sources of unconventional gas by 2035 will stop renewable energy in its tracks if governments don't take action, the International Energy Agency has warned. Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Footage of methane bubbling from river sparks coal seam gas concerns

31 May 2012. Fran Kelly interviews Lock the Gate campaigner Dane Pratzky, who shot the video of gas bubbling in the Condamine River. Radio National Breakfast (audio)

Bubbling to the surface: CSG impacts and the Condamine

1 June 2012. The extraction of coal seam gas (CSG) appears to be a simple exercise – drill bores, pump the water out and gas flows away. While this is technically true, many of the environmental risks are nowhere near as straightforward at all. Gavin Mudd, The Conversation

Bubbling river blamed on gas

30 May 2012. Video has emerged of a major gas leak on the Condamine River in Queensland that conservationists say could be dangerous methane leakage from a nearby coal seam gas project. SMH

Gas plant plan will cost Gladstone jobs: report

29 May 2012. An independent think tank says Arrow Energy's planned gas plant off Gladstone in central Queensland will have widespread negative economic effects. ABC News

Home brands rely on foreign imports

28 ay 2012. THE supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are relying on cheap labour in countries such as South Africa and Thailand to deliver their burgeoning home brand lines at the lowest prices. SMH

Brekkie meeting gets a little fiery

26 May 2012.  IT WAS not all roses yesterday at the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and Industry monthly breakfast meeting as guest speaker Shane Charles clashed with members of the audience during question time. Mr Charles, who is the CEO of the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, raised the ire of two members of the audience with some of his comments during his presentation. Adam Davies, Toowoomba Chronicle

G8 Deaf to Climate Change Warnings by International Energy Agency

21 May 2012. When the chief economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA) issues a dire warning, you'd think the world's leaders would sit up and take notice. If this statement by Fatih Birol last week wasn't a dire warning, then I don't know what is: "What I see now with existing investments for plants under construction... we are seeing the door for a 2 degree Celsius target about to be closed and closed forever." Kelly Rigg, Huffington Post

Renewables investment eclipses fossil fuels

19 May 2012. Investment in renewable energy infrastructure is outstripping that for fossil fuels. Investment was equal in 2008, but the balance has swung since. During 2011, globally, $40 billion was invested in fossil fuels. $260 billion was invested in renewables.  In the past year the price of photovoltaic cells has dropped by 50%. Peter Newman describes the growth of investment in renewable as exponential. He says we are living through one of the most dramatic periods in history as fossil fuels are being phased out. Radio National Science Show

The real cost of coal is quickly adding up

21 May 2012.  We are paying the price for cheap energy, write Linda Connor and Stuart Rosewarne. "Cheap coal" is a myth. And like all myths, we accept its wisdom without thinking. University of Sydney

Electricity industry is in for a big shock

25 May 2012. ANYONE who doubts the profound, game-changing impact that the large-scale rollout of renewable energy technologies could have on the incumbent electricity industry should look closely at events in Germany.Giles Parkinson, The Australian

Obeid family and friends reap millions from lucrative coal licences

21 May 2012. A FRIEND and financial adviser to Eddie Obeid and his family, who had no mining background and a $1 company, won a coal exploration licence worth millions of dollars in a controversial tender run by the disgraced former resources minister Ian Macdonald. Kate McClymont, SMH

Mayor vows to block CSG expansion

21 May 2012. A REPORT into the effects of coal seam gas extraction on ground water in western Queensland has justified the Scenic Rim Regional Council's stance against the industry, according to the mayor. Queensland Times

Pay-as-you-go solar PV arrives in Australia

20 April 2012. California-based Sungevity is set to become the first solar company in Australia to offer zero-cost rooftop solar, teaming up with local company Nickel Energy to offer pay-as-you-go leasing deals that have proved enormously popular in the US. Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy

Methane on Tap: Study Links Pollution to Gas Drilling

9 May 2012. A team of researchers has produced the first systematic evidence that methane has escaped into drinking water in areas where shale gas drilling is under way, finding explosive concentrations at distances far greater than were previously thought possible. National Geographic 

Stricken ship narrowly misses reef

20 May 2012. Authorities have revealed they were bracing for an environmental disaster off far North Queensland last night when a bulk carrier came within metres of striking an outlying reef. ABC News

Air quality exceedance

15 May 2012. DUST resulting from recent drier weather may have caused the air north-west of Singleton and around Mount Thorley to fail daily average national health standards. This is the view of the state Office of Environment and Heritage atmospheric science manager Chris Eiser in response to polluted air in both areas last Tuesday and Wednesday. The government’s air monitors issued health alerts for north-west Singleton at 11pm last Tuesday and 10pm the following night. Health alerts for Mount Thorley were issued for eight o’clock and 11 o’clock onWednesday night. The monitors record fine suspended particles that damage people’s respiratory tracts. Singleton Argus

CSG report vindicates producer fears: AgForce

17 May 2012. At least three percent of bores across the Surat Basin will be devastated by the burgeoning Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry despite assurances from the previous State Government and resource companies underground water will not be affected, Queensland landholder representative group AgForce said today.

'Close Encounters' With Gas Well Pollution

15 May 2012. Living in the middle of a natural gas boom can be pretty unsettling. The area around the town of Silt, Colo., used to be the kind of sleepy rural place where the tweet of birds was the most you would hear. Now it's hard to make out the birds because of the rumbling of natural gas drilling rigs. NPR

William Hague tells ministers to help green industries boost economy

15 May 2012. The government should do more to help green industries boost economic growth, stop the UK falling behind international rivals, and avoid losing its global leadership on the environment, William Hague has told cabinet colleagues, in a private letter seen by the Guardian. Juliette Jowit, The Guardian

Australia seventh-worst polluter on Earth: report

16 May 2012. A report ranking the world's biggest polluters puts Australia in seventh place. ABC News

Coal-seam gas advisers' links to mining industry exposed

14 May 2012. MOST of the scientists advising the federal government on coal-seam gas pollution have financial links with the mining industry. Natasha Bita, The Australian

Saudi Arabia targets 41GW solar by 2032, China to beat 10GW/year

10 May 2012. As the Australian government struggles with its Solar Flagships program, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, has unveiled an ambitious solar deployment. Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy

OPINION: Clear the air in coal versus health debate

12 May 2012. The proposed expansion of coal exports through Newcastle will inevitably increase air pollution. The question is whether this is a threat to the health of Newcastle inhabitants. Linda Selvey, David Shearman, Newcastle Herald

NFF urged to fight mining

10 May 2012. THE National Farmers' Federation is being attacked for its stance on mining. Australia Party leader Bob Katter and Drew Hutton, the chief of the anti coal-seam gas group Lock the Gate Alliance, say farmers should have the right to veto miners who want access to their land. They have criticised the NFF for failing to argue for this view. Leslie White, Weekly Times

Coal seam gas fine taints 'clean' claim

10 May 2012. THE company fined for a major coal seam gas mishap in Australia last year has boasted of a ''clean environmental record since its foundation'' as it lobbies the federal government for permission to expand its coal seam gas operations. Peter Ker, Paddy Manning, SMH

Rally lets off steam over coal seam gas

2 May 2012. THE Deputy Premier and leader of the NSW Nationals, Andrew Stoner, was heckled and booed as he tried to reassure a 4000-strong rally of farmers and environmentalists at NSW Parliament yesterday calling for tougher restrictions on coal and coal seam gas mining. SMH

Excellent 12 min video of protest here

Health and coal growth

27 April 2012. CUMULATIVE impacts of coalmining and coal-related activities in the Hunter are what coal companies and governments have traditionally avoided discussing. Newcastle Herald

Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA warns

25 April 2012. Governments are falling badly behind on low-carbon energy, putting carbon reduction targets out of reach and pushing the world to the brink of catastrophic climate change, the world's leading independent energy authority will warn on Wednesday. The Guardian

Drilling scare halts coal seam gas work

28 April 2012. The Queensland Government has put a stop to work on an underground pipeline after the release of drilling fluid into the Condamine River on the Western Darling Downs. ABC News

The silent war taking place

21 April 2012. Let me tell you a story. It's a tragedy, a scandal, a dark page of our history in the making, a story that winds its pain through many lives in many places - and it's true. You may have trouble believing it to be true, for such things couldn't possibly be happening in democratic Australia, Land of the Fair Go. I am talking of an invasion of our country, a taking over of land and a clearing out of people. And I mean this literally.Sharyn Munro, Maitland Mercury

Germany Solar Installations May Have Tripled in First Quarter

19 April 2012. German solar installations may have more than tripled in the first quarter from a year ago, the country's deputy environment minister said. Bloomberg

Festival wins new support

18 April 2012. FELTON farmers now have a powerful weapon against mining companies that loom on their horizon, one that has already won over thousands of new supporters. Chris Calcino, Toowoomba Chronicle

Festival finds a niche at Felton

16 April 2012. NEVER in her wildest dreams could organiser Sally McCreath have imagined such a response to the first Felton Food Festival yesterday. Tim Braban, Toowoomba Chronicle

Hopper firm on promise

10 April 2012. MEMBER for Condamine Ray Hopper is adamant the LNP will deliver on its promise to stop two controversial mining projects on the Darling Downs. Toowoomba Chronicle

Mining plans scrapped

30 Mar 2012. FARMERS around the Darling Downs are rejoicing after the announcement by the newly elected LNP government to scrap plans for any further mining in the Felton and Acland areas. Callum Bentley, Toowoomba Chronicle.

Campbell Newman slams farm gate shut on miners


162 K

The rising tide of climate change

14 March 2012. The climate is changing, according to a new report from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and the CSIRO. Days and nights are getting hotter, sea levels are rising, rainfall patterns are changing. Yawn. Heard it all before. Sara Philips, ABC

Behind the seams: Lock the Gate unites cockies, blockies, croppers and greenies

20 Mar 2012. I have been copping some flak lately from my Green or left-wing friends for being seen talking about coal and coal seam gas on public platforms with such well-known political conservatives as Alan Jones and Bob Katter. These people tell me they won't come to meetings or actions being organised by Lock the Gate while we mix with such people. My response to them is two-fold. Drew Hutton, Crikey

Germany's $263 Billion Renewables Shift Biggest Since War

19 Mar 2012. Not since the allies leveled Germany in World War II has Europe's biggest economy undertaken a reconstruction of its energy market on this scale. Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg

South Australia's big win with wind

21 Mar 2012. Wind Power in South Australia has been a howling success; it now provides more electricity in the state than coal and in just a decade the wind industry has developed into one of the world's leaders - and all to the benefit of South Australians. Matthew Wright, Reneweconomy

China to Restrict Coal Demand, Output to 3.9 Billion Tons

China, the world's biggest user and producer of coal, will limit domestic output and consumption of the commodity in the five years through 2015 to reduce pollution and curb reliance on the fuel. Bloomberg

Winds of change blow through China as spending on renewable energy soars

19 Mar 2012. World's biggest polluter spends £4bn a year on wind and solar power generation in single region as it aims to cut fossil fuel use. Jonathon Watts, The Guardian

Official: Australia the best place for miners in the world (again)

21 Mar 2012. So which country is the best in the world to be a miner? Not Australia, if you'd listened to mining companies or the opposition over the past two years. 'Now it is safer to invest in Argentina, in Tanzania, in Zambia, in Ghana and in Botswana than it is to invest in Australia,' Tony Abbott said in 2010. But a leading US mining consultancy has, for third year in a row, listed Australia as the best place to be a miner. Glen Dyer & Bernard Keane, Crikey

On Arctic Sea ice melt and coal mine canaries

23 Mar 2012. Despite peak global temperatures in 2005 and 2010 (unprecedented in the instrumental record), a recent sharp plunge in volume of the Arctic Sea ice and a spate of extreme weather events, coal mining, coal exports and carbon emissions continue to grow, overwhelming any mitigation attempted by schemes such as the Australian carbon price. Andrew Glikson, The Conversation

Mankind kept 2011 global temperatures near record-WMO

23 Mar 2012. (Reuters) - Human activity kept global temperatures close to a record high in 2011 despite the cooling influence of a powerful La Nina weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said on Friday. Emma Farge, Reuters

Australian carbon tax "gutsy": GE

25 Mar 2012. The Australian government is "gutsy" to follow through on its pledge to introduce a carbon tax, the world's top industrial conglomerate says. GE vice chairman John Rice said the $23 a tonne tax applying from July 1 would prompt the company to allocate more resources to carbon-reducing technologies. AAP

Behind the seams: Lock the Gate unites cockies, blockies, croppers and greenies

20 Mar 2012. 'I have been copping some flak lately from my Green or left-wing friends for being seen talking about coal and coal seam gas on public platforms with such well-known political conservatives as Alan Jones and Bob Katter. These people tell me they won't come to meetings or actions being organised by Lock the Gate while we mix with such people. My response to them is two-fold.' Drew Hutton, Crikey

Singleton votes against coal seam gas industry

20 Mar 2012. GAS explorer AGL's presentation detailing its exploration plans to Singleton Council last night ended with an urgency motion opposing the coal seam gas industry.

The company's presentation had hardly finished before Cr Alison Howlett put an urgency motion to tell the government that council reiterated its past opposition to coal seam gas exploration and extraction.

The motion was carried unanimously after council's general manager Lindy Hyam said it was an appropriate time to make the views of council known following the release of the draft strategic land use plan, which the government said would protect the Upper Hunter from coal seam gas and mining. Frances Thompson, Newcastle Herald

Palmer backs away from CIA claims

21 March 2012. Mining billionaire Clive Palmer has stepped back from some of the colourful remarks he made yesterday about the Greens and conservationists, which Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said could undermine Australia's investment appeal. David Wroe and Judith Ireland, Brisbane Times

Palmer says green groups funded by CIA

20 March 2012. Mining magnate Clive Palmer has accused the United States government of funding environmental group Greenpeace via the CIA to undermine Australia's coal mining sector. Matt Wordsworth, ABC News

Resources tax: what you may not know ...

20 March 2012. Despite all the hullabaloo, all the hand-wringing and the wailing from various sections of the mining industry, the passage of the Mineral Resources Rent Tax overnight confirms Australia as one of the world's most benign destinations for miners.

That's right. When it comes to taxing resource companies, Australia is a soft touch, a virtual tax haven. Ian Verrender, The Age

Keith Urban and Nicole 'No coal' Kidman's stand against coal mining

18 March 2012. NICOLE Kidman and Keith Urban have joined the growing anti-coal mining movement, hanging a $20 placard on the gates of their $6.5 million Southern Highlands country retreat. Linda Silmalis, Daily Telegraph

Coal and gas paid $7b in subsidies

16 March 2012. THE State Government has poured almost $7 billion in subsidies into the coal and coal seam gas industries in the past five years, an economic study shows.

The study, partially funded by protest group the Friends of Felton, also found that the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries also received about $900 million over the five years, but still faced barriers such as access laws for large-scale wind and solar projects. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail

Cahill knocks funding decision

21 March 2012. SOME councillors have accused their colleagues of favouritism after they overturned the decision of an independent panel to provide funding to the Friends of Felton yesterday. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

Bun fight over grant funds

15 March 2012. FRIENDS of Felton's failure to secure funding for a food festival became a hot topic at City Hall yesterday, with allegations that the councillor responsible favoured the mining industry. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

Call for a sustainable Felton

15 March 2012. A STUDY comparing the short and long-term effects of a Sustainable Energy Plan located in the Felton Valley with the proposed Ambre Energy coal to liquids project will be released on Friday. Toowoomba Chronicle

Climate snapshot shows rapid warming

14 March 2012. The findings from the latest national climate report show greenhouse gases are at their highest level in modern history and that Australia's climate is warming at an alarming rate. Liz Hobday, ABC Radio The World Today

Fears for health of Great Barrier Reef

12 March 2012. UN heritage body expresses "extreme concern" over industrial development near Australian natural wonder. Aljazeera video

Explosives take a toll

12 March 2012. EACH year, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate explosive are detonated in the Hunter Valley's open-cut mines.

The charges of explosive "emulsion" are placed in holes drilled many metres down into the earth, the amount and depth of the explosive charges calculated to open the ground with the minimum of impact above the surface.

But "shot-firing", as the process is known, is an imprecise science. Explosions do not always go according to plan. Water in the blast can create massive clouds of orange gas - mainly oxides of nitrogen - hanging in the air.

Explosions can breach the decibel noise limits set by the NSW Department of Planning.

The overall impact, as residents of Camberwell and other villages in and around the mining areas of Singleton and Muswellbrook know only too well, is a wearing toll of noise and vibration. Newcastle Herald

Activists bring Bimblebox to town

12 March 2012. FRIENDS of Felton is bringing the renowned documentary Bimblebox to Toowoomba this Thursday night.

The film follows the story of Alpha resident Paola Cassoni and her two-year fight to prevent the 8000ha Bimblebox Nature Refuge - which she co-owns - from being swallowed by Clive Palmer's proposed China First coal mine.

Directed by US-based filmmaker Michael O'Connell, the movie placed Ms Cassoni's story in the wider context of massive coal and coal seam-gas expansion in Australia and its impacts on farm land, communities and the environment. Toowoomba Chronicle

Has government lost the ability to assess CSG?

8 March 2012. MARK COLVIN: The rapid growth of Coal Seam Gas drilling is one of the biggest challenges facing State and Federal Government regulators. And one of the key questions about CSG is how to protect the water table.

Now leading hydrologists are questioning whether the industry can even be properly scrutinised. They say the coal seam gas giants have poached most of the scientists working in the field. They also warn that after years of losing skilled experts, governments have lost their ability to assess projects independently.
Matthew Carney reports. ABC Radio PM

Miners might not dig a coal delay, but it makes sense

8 March 2012. At the same time as the government introduces a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gases and create a low-carbon economy, it is vastly increasing greenhouse gases by expanding Australian coal mines and supporting the coal seam gas industry. Squaring this circle should not be beyond the capacity of a government that is not in the pocket of the coal miners and which has the nation's best interests at heart. David Day, SMH

World running out of resources: UN

31 Jan 2012. A major United Nations report has called for a sustainable "evergreen revolution", warning that time is running out to ensure there is enough food, water and fuel to meet the needs of the world's rapidly growing population.

In a grim warning about the earth's increasing demand for resources, a panel led by the presidents of Finland and South Africa found demand will grow exponentially as the global population rises from 7 billion people to an expected 9 billion by 2040. Jill Colgan, ABC News

Methane makes shale gas a current climate danger

31 Jan 2012. In the US, as in Australia, debate about the merits of alternative gases has been heated. In the US the contentious gas is shale, rather than coal seam. But at least one source of conflict is the same: this gas may provide energy, but will it reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Renee Santoro, The Conversation

Greenpeace chief warns of 'perfect storm' of crises

3 Feb 2012. The head of environmental pressure group Greenpeace warned Friday the world faced a 'perfect storm' of crises and was heading for what he termed a crisis of 'epic proportions.'

Speaking for the first time at the Munich Security Conference, Kumi Naidoo presented an apocalyptic version of the state of the world and accused leaders of 'sleepwalking' into disaster. AFP

Coming to the party not cheap for free enterprise

4 Feb 2012. LINC Energy chief executive Peter Bond doesn't mind explaining what motivated his company's $80,000 in donations to the Liberal Party last financial year.

''I'm personally not happy with that three years of leadership [under Labor] and the fact we had to go through the resources tax - the way that was brought in and the lack of consultation,'' he says.

But as Bond points out, Linc also gave money to Labor - $23,700 to its federal and Queensland branches, the company's donor disclosure form lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission shows. Its total spend on donations was more than $100,000. Ruth Williams and Ben Butler, SMH

AgForce CSG stance under fire

3 Feb 2012. The Wide Bay-Burnett Conservation Council in southern Queensland has accused farm lobby group AgForce of sitting on the fence when it comes to coal seam gas (CSG) exploration. Frances Adcock, ABC News

Kerry coal seam gas protesters face court

3 Feb 2012. Five protestors charged over anti-coal seam gas protests last month appeared in the Beaudesert Magistrates Court this week.

Another 10 protestors will face court over the next month following a 10 day blockade at the Arrow Energy site near Beaudesert.

Tracey Larkin was first before the Magistrate. Audio interview with Steve Austin on ABC 612 radio Brisbane

India's panel price crash could spark solar revolution

2 Feb 2012. SOLAR power has always had a reputation for being expensive, but not for much longer. In India, electricity from solar is now cheaper than that from diesel generators. The news - which will boost India's "Solar Mission" to install 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022 - could have implications for other developing nations too. Michael Marshall, New Scientist

Muswellbrook Council apology on mine

2 Feb 2012. A HUNTER community "shattered" by a coal mine has received an apology from the council that wouldn't listen.

Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush has apologised to Wybong residents for the council's support for Mangoola coal mine in 2007, and in 2004 when it was known as Anvil Hill.

"There is a great deal of shame that council supported that development and I apologise to the Wybong community and others that it did so over the objections of its own residents," Cr Rush said this week.

"Although the NSW government approved it, council supported it and for that, it is right for the council to apologise."

He said the mine had cost the Wybong community too much.

Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald

No mining on Southern Downs

6 Feb 2012. Despite the changes to the upcoming local and state elections, one message remains clear: Southern Downs residents do not want mining in the area without appropriate conditions.
As the Southern Downs Protection Group starts gaining real momentum, with signs advertising protection of our food and water from mining and gas extraction now out in the community, mining has become one of the main election issues. Rebecca Brown, Southern Free Times

Bloomin' harvest looms

31 Jan 2012. As some of the region's farmers prepare for harvest, others plan to ramp up their fight against the state government announced the introduction of its strategic cropping land legislation.

Felton farmer Bob Free said loopholes in the legislation were there to protect the interests of mining companies and would allow them to continue to hold farmers "over the barrel".

"If a farm grows its crops on a slope of more than 5e per cent, or the farm is less than 50 hectares in size then it will not qualify as strategic cropping land and will not be protected. We don't want someone in Brisbane telling us what is suitable cropping land. We know what is suitable,'' he told The Toowoomba Chronicle 

Callum Bentley/AAP

Experts suggest link between coal mining and fragile lakes

31 Jan 2012. ABC 7.30 Report video

Food zones for farmers in danger of coming a cropper

31 Jan 2012. A KEY election pledge by the NSW government to fence prime farmland off from mining interests is in danger of collapse, with the minerals and gas industries refusing to concede that any part of the state is off limits. Ben Cubby and Sean Nicholls, SMH

Living in the dusty shadow of coal mining

28 Jan 2012. AUSTRALIA'S resources boom is already generating a lot of dust, noise and fumes, and the amount stirred up is only going to increase, given plans by miners to double coal and iron ore extraction this decade.

Yet state and federal governments are doing surprisingly little to monitor and regulate these impacts on the people living in the shadow of mining and energy projects. While state governments require companies to submit voluminous environmental impact statements, designed to protect flora and fauna, less is being done to protect people.

From the time minerals are dug from the ground and shipped to port in open wagons to the time they leave our shores as exports, governments generally leave it to the companies concerned to monitor the harmful effects of toxic substances on people, and the reporting seems patchy.

Tanya Plant, a Queensland farmer and mother of two, worries about the effect the emissions from New Hope Corporation's coal mine, located about 2km from her home, may be having on her family. Her two-year-old daughter has been having coughing fits and after successive trips to the doctor she has been told the causes may be "environmental".

"It has been worrying to have one of our children coughing a lot for months. We are concerned about those really small particles, as well as things like heavy metals," says Plant, who grew up on her Acland farm, west of Toowoomba, and obtained a PhD from Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar.

In fact, Plant, her husband, children and parents seem adversely affected by constant exposure to dust, noise and plumes of gases released by regular blasting.

"I'm uncomfortable telling too many people the details of all our health issues, but there are some worrying symptoms which seem to have been going on for quite a while and none of us seem as healthy as we should.

"I'm only 36 and had hoped and expected to continue to live an active life for some time yet, and to be able to raise our kids in a good environment to give them the best start and chance in life. This farm has been in my family for many generations and is very much a part of us. I can't really picture a happy future without it, but I'm not sure whether we should live here any more."

The permanent dust monitor recently installed on her property is a crude device: a plastic funnel that sits on top of a glass jar. In response to Plant's requests, NHC measured fine particles known as PM10 on one occasion last year, but it is yet to forward the findings. In response to Plant's complaints about noise levels, the company has taken readings but has refused to divulge some results.

When the company did the PM10 study last year, it appeared the officer from the Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station, a government agency, was contacted by an executive from New Hope while conducting the test and agreed to meet him immediately afterwards, Plant says.

But it is the smaller particles, known as PM2.5 and PM1, that health studies indicate are even more dangerous to human health, and these are not being measured at Acland, or in most other mining regions in Australia. A human hair is seven times the width of a PM10 particle, and 30 times that of a PM2.5. These ultra-fine particles are dangerous because they can become embedded in lungs or enter the bloodstream.

In response to questions from Inquirer, a New Hope spokesman declined to comment on why the company would not provide the results of dust and noise tests to Plant's family. The company would not comment on the frequency of its testing for dust levels near the mine and its expansive coal dump near the town of Jondaryan, nor would it cite its evidence for using the crude jar and funnel for measuring dust.

But New Hope says it operates "above compliance" and provided the results of monthly noise tests carried out "at random times". But these tests are different from those done when complaints are made, which the company won't release.

The company says its dust monitoring is "above and beyond compliance". It says the testing done by Simtars has " consistently met government air quality requirements". But the company tests only for PM10 particles, and the spokesman would not say how frequently they are carried out.

New Hope says it is investing "thousands of dollars" installing quieter reverse beepers on its vehicles, and it is trialling a muffler suppression system on its trucks, even though it is meeting all compliance levels.

The Queensland government has installed only two dust monitors near mining towns. One of its 29 permanent monitors is at Mt Isa, but the others are all based near major urban centres. Coal mining regions in the Bowen Basin and on the Darling Downs do not yet have permanent monitors in place, and the closest monitor to the Acland mine is at Toowoomba, more than 50km away.

The government has installed a monitor in the centre of the Bowen Basin coal mines at Moranbah, even though there are several other towns closer to the coal mines. The results from this temporary monitor are not published on the government's air quality website. Instead they are reported "through a reference group".

This contrasts with the NSW government, which has responded to community pressure and installed a network of 13 dust monitors in the Hunter Valley, although only three of them measure PM2.5 particles.

Queensland Environment Minister Vicky Darling says that in addition to the government's monitoring, companies are required to report any hazardous impacts swiftly, as well as in an annual report. Executives who provide false and misleading information face penalties of up to $832,500 or two years' imprisonment.

Darling defends the use of the funnel and glass jar as a device to measure "dust nuisance impacts", essentially a crude measure of the sheer volume of material in the air.

The Plants live near the New Acland coal mine, which opened in 2002 as a small mine and has grown into a four million tonne a year operation. While still a modest mine by Australian standards, NHC has a plan before the state government to more than double production to 10 million tonnes a year, while also developing a pilot plant for coal-to-liquids technology.

The listed company's ownership is tied to chemist chain Soul Pattinson. Washington H. Soul Pattinson owns 60 per cent of New Hope, and in turn owns 24 per cent of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, which includes Soul Pattinson and Priceline.

While the existing mine is scheduled to be exhausted in 2018, the plan for a third-stage expansion would extend its life by a further 35 years and also mean double the amount of dust for nearby communities. It would come within 5km of the town of Oakey, population 3600.

Plant says the state government has made assurances about the proposed expansion being assessed through a rigorous EIS process, but the current stage of operations went through the same EIS processes. She says these don't require monitoring of dust, noise or the rainwater consumed by people living just a few hundred metres from the mine's main operations. Plant points out that people living in the settlement of Muldu, just 700m from the key mine operators, were not included in the EIS among the "sensitive receptors", meaning people affected by the mine.

"It doesn't give me confidence that the health of people near the mine is treated all that seriously," Plant says. "There doesn't seem to be much data available but even so, it doesn't seem like noise and dust has always complied with the state standards. I have seen how black some of the rainwater collected from people's roofs has been."

A group of concerned doctors has written to federal and state ministers about the risks for the population near this mine. Doctors for the Environment, which includes Gustav Nossal on its scientific committee, says in a letter to federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that the expansion to a four million tonne annual operation had already subjected the surrounding population to "serious pollution which is likely to have affected their health and this situation has existed since 2006 when stage 2 commenced".

Emeritus professor David Shearman told Burke it "beggars belief" that the company has not produced adequate data on PM2.5 levels and that of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are commonly found in high levels around coal mines.

"However the data that is presented, though inadequate, suggests that air quality has been unacceptable for some years," he wrote.

While there has been limited research in Australia on the health effects of coal mining, Shearman pointed out that extensive studies in the US by the Physicians for Social Responsibility found people living in high coal-producing counties had higher rates of cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and kidney disease compared with people in non-coal-producing counties.

Noise is also going largely unmeasured, despite its impact on human wellbeing.

Plant describes the noise as an almost constant irritant that her daughter sometimes describes as "that loud growly noise" as she puts her hands over her ears. "We often have to shut windows due to noise and even then some nights I haven't been able to sleep for even a whole hour at any point. It is hard for the kids as they get woken too," Plant says.

The risks to the surrounding population extend to the coal dump just 1km from the town of Jondaryan, and then all the way along the railway line to the port of Brisbane, where the coal is loaded on to ships.

From Jondaryan the coal is often trucked through Toowoomba by road to local power stations, but most of it is shipped via rail to export terminals in Brisbane. The coal moved in trucks is meant to be covered with tarpaulins (although locals have taken photographs of uncovered trucks), while the coal moved on trains is not required to be covered.

People who live along the railway lines, and in the towns, say the black soot on their roofs gets into their drinking water.

Peter Faulkner, who lives just 300m from the railway line, has black streaks on the plastic water tank he uses to collect drinking water. Another resident, 600m from the line, says her drinking water is being contaminated by soot from the train. When Inquirer visits her property, she shows a jar of black water produced from washing the soot from her roof.

Asked if he has considered obtaining an assessment from the government, Faulkner says he no longer trusts the institution.

"There's no impartiality when it comes to assessing these mining projects," he says. "The fact they seem to be covering everything up concerns me greatly. They have a duty of care towards us. They are not looking after us at all."

Paul Cleary, The Australian

China report spells out "grim" climate change risks

17 Jan 2012. (Reuters) - Global warming threatens China's march to prosperity by cutting crops, shrinking rivers and unleashing more droughts and floods, says the government's latest assessment of climate change, projecting big shifts in how the nation feeds itself. Chris Buckley, Reuters

Mekong Delta reels under repeated disasters

17 Jan 2012. Known as the nation's rice basket, blessed with fertile soil and favorable climatic conditions, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has been at the forefront of Viet Nam's amazing agricultural transformation in the Doi moi (renewal) period.

The nation went from being a net food importer until the late 1980s to one of the top exporters in the world of rice, pepper, shrimp, coffee, cashew nuts and other produce.

However, this dramatic transformation is now under threat with the Mekong Delta reeling under the impacts of natural and man-made disasters including climate change. Pham Hoang Nam, VietNam News

Strong support for wind farms obscured, says CSIRO report

18 Jan 2012. THERE is much stronger public support for wind farms than media coverage of the issue would suggest, because a ''vocal minority'' who oppose wind farms secure the majority of media and political attention, according to new CSIRO research. Kelsey Munro, Ben Cubby - SMH

Climate alliance challenges wind farm claims

24 Jan 2012. HEALTH and welfare groups have called on state governments to explain the rationale for restrictive new planning laws for wind farms after finding no credible evidence that living near turbines is bad for people's physical wellbeing. Adam Morton, SMH

Miner facing emissions charge

16 Jan 2012. IN WHAT is being described as a landmark decision, the Land and Environment Court has held that one of the state's coalmines should have to pay to offset some of its greenhouse gas emissions as a condition of operation.

The provisional decision was a win for the Hunter Environment Lobby, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, which had appealed to the court over the Minister for Planning's decision to consolidate historical consent authorities of the Ulan mine, near Mudgee, and to double its operational life and capacity until 2031. Leonie Lamont, SMH

The proof is in the heating - solar's shining success story

21 Jan 2012. Something extraordinary happened to the German national power grid during the pleasantly mild early weeks of last summer. Not only did the country's almost 1 million, mainly rooftop (photovoltaic) solar panels pump 13.2 gigawatts into the grid - the equivalent output of up to a dozen nuclear power plants, or about 40 per cent of the highest-ever demand in Australia's national electricity market - but they did so at exactly the right time. Martin Green, SMH

Foreign calls to save our farmland - The Australian


Losing farmland to fossil fuels

23 Jan 2012. Today, across NSW, farmers are participating in wind projects by co-locating wind turbines on their land. Just 2,000 modern 7.5MW on-shore wind turbines would provide enough electricity to power more than half of NSW.

The NSW government is opposed to wind and the development benefits that accompany it, including financial benefits of $8,000 per wind turbine. This money flows to farmers who are choosing to diversify and play a part in the 21st century move to a renewable powered economy. Matthew Wright, Climate Spectator

Gas no good to bridge coal and renewables, says study

21 Jan 2012. THE amount of greenhouse gases released by unconventional gas drilling ''exceeds that of oil or coal'', an American study says in contradiction of some claims made by Australia's growing coal-seam gas industry.

Cornell University researchers analysed the volume of methane leaking from shale-gas wells in the US and concluded that using more gas would make climate change worse, rather than better. Ben Cubby, SMH

Killing the Great Barrier Reef for short-term profit

20 Jan 2012. If it comes to pass, will the Great Barrier Reef with all its beauty, tourism and fishing, be exchanged for short-term fossil-fuel profits, royalties and the temporary balancing of budgets? David Shearman, ABC Unleashed

GM microbe breakthrough paves way for large-scale seaweed farming for biofuels

19 Jan 2012. Scientists have created a genetically engineered microbe that turns the algae into low-carbon biofuel, but must make the technique commercially viable. Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Ebenezer open-cut coal mine near Ipswich battle heads to Supreme Court in Brisbane

19 Jan 2012. Opponents to the Ebenezer open-cut coal mine near Ipswich will take their fight to the Supreme Court on Friday.

Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner, who also owns Spicers Hidden Vale resort, is heading the campaign with community groups opposed to the mine restarting operations. Jane Chudleigh, Ipswich News

Fitch issues warning on oil and gas projects

20 Jan 2012. Fitch released a report yesterday arguing that companies running big liquefied natural gas projects were too saddled with debt. It said it expected the free cash flow of upstream gas companies to remain negative as they committed to new gas projects and faced challenges with regard to project execution. Greg Roberts, The Age

Fossil fuels are sub-prime assets, Bank of England governor warned

19 Jan 2012. Open letter to Sir Mervyn King says overexposure to high-carbon assets by London-listed companies risks creating a 'carbon bubble'. Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Santos admits to CSG pollution

19 Jan 2012. Santos has reported to authorities there was a 10,000-litre spill of untreated Coal Seam Gas water effecting 1.2 hectares of the Pilliga State Forest in NSW. Ross Kendal, Ethical Investor

Mining investment sparks backlash

18 Jan 2012. THREE anti-mining groups in the Toowoomba region have warned a junior mining company that any plans to develop new coal mines in the area will be met with determined opposition.

Cuesta Coal, which formed in September 2011 to take over Blackwood Coal, has announced a capital injection of $20 million from the Chinese Beijing Guoli Energy Investment Co. Ltd. Toowoomba Chronicle

Farmers end their 10-day Qld CSG blockade

21 Jan 2012. Farmers flung their hats onto the ground in the classic Aussie challenge to a fight at the end of a 10-day blockade of a coal seam gas (CSG) drilling site south of Brisbane.

The protest wound up on Saturday as Chinese-owned mining company Arrow Energy pulled its rigs out of the Scenic Rim. AAP/SMH

Watch the video here

CSG miner's efforts futile: Newman

20 Jan 2012. A miner is wasting its money exploring for coal seam gas (CSG) south of Brisbane because a Liberal National Party government would not let it develop anything it finds, leader Campbell Newman says. Nine News

Qld tourism group backs CSG blockaders

19 Jan 2012. Queensland's peak tourism industry group has backed protesters blockading a coal seam gas (CSG) drilling site south of Brisbane. Tony Barlett, Nine News

CSG protester arrested at Arrow site

18 Jan 2012. One man has been arrested after workers clashed with protestors at a coal seam gas blockade south-west of Brisbane.

Tactical response group police were called to the Arrow Energy site at Beaudesert in the early hours of this morning. ABC News

Heavy police presence at CSG protest

18 Jan 2012. An elderly man who fell from his wheelchair during a police arrest was left lying on the ground as workers drove their cars around him at an anti-coal seam gas blockade south of Brisbane, protesters say.

The incident happened on Wednesday morning as police from the tactical response unit set up an exclusion zone and ordered demonstrators to move away from the entrance to Arrow Energy's drilling site on a farm at Kerry, near Beaudesert. Tony Barlett, Nine News

Coal seam gas support to hurt Labor in Queensland election, says Bob Katter

17 Jan 2012. QUEENSLAND Labor will take a hit at the state election over its support for the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, federal independent MP Bob Katter says.

Mr Katter, whose fledgling political party is contesting the poll, visited an anti-CSG blockade on a farm near Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, on Tuesday.

Police have arrested and charged 13 people since the protest camp was set up on a farm at Kerry on January 12. AAP/Courier-Mail

Billionaire faces inquiry over donations to Nationals

18 Jan 2012. THE Department of Planning (NSW) is investigating whether a coalmining company has breached the state's planning laws by not declaring political donations from its chairman, the billionaire mining magnate Nathan Tinkler. Josephine Tovey, Michelle Harris, SMH

Winemakers put heat on O'Farrell

16 Jan 2012. HUNTER wine industry leaders say they hold Premier Barry O'Farrell accountable for a "promise" they said he made before the 2011 election to protect vineyards by removing them from coal seam gas exploration areas. Frances Thompson, Newcastle Herald

Green energy investment soars to $260bn

12 Jan 2012. Global investment in clean energy reached a new high of $260bn (£169bn) last year - despite the financial crisis and the anti-environment agenda of Republicans in the US Congress, a United Nations investors' summit was told on Thursday. Suzanne Goldberg, The Guardian

Cargo boat and US navy ship powered by algal oil in marine fuel trials

13 Jan 2012. Giant cargo boats and US navy warships have been successfully powered on oil derived from genetically modified algae in a move which could herald a revolution in the fuel used by the world's fleets - and a reduction in the pollution they cause. John Vidal, The Guardian

Protesters call ceasefire on CSG blockades

14 Jan 2012. A resolution to an anti-coal seam gas (CSG) blockade in southern Queensland is now likely, with protesters and Arrow Energy entering negotiations.

The farm blockade was established by local landowners and anti-CSG groups at a farm at Kerry, near Beaudesert, on Thursday and has prevented Arrow workers from conducting exploratory drilling in the days since.

The group is calling for baseline water tests to be conducted before drilling is allowed to commence. AAP/Nine News

Stink over coal seam leak

14 Jan 2012. THE state government may prosecute a coal seam gas miner after it admitted releasing 10,000 litres of saline water into a state forest near Narrabri more than six months ago, which was not reported until last week.

Josephine Tovey, SMH

Carr's chance to rev the EV engine

12 Jan 2012. You would think, reading the claptrap about why the federal government is giving $34 million to Ford, that there was no such thing as an electric car and that the world was not rushing towards switching from petrol to electricity for transportation.

But it's not too late: any handout to General Motors must be tied to a commitment to build an EV in Australia. Alan Kohler, ABC

Bligh 'mystified' by council's CSG ban

12 Jan 2012. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says she's "mystified" by a council's decision to declare a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) mining and coal exploration.

Somerset Regional Council unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday declaring the region a "no go" area for the two activities.

It is the first municipality to make such a declaration and follows moves from the neighbouring Scenic Rim Council to seek a ban on the mining practices. AAP/Nine News

Monitoring dust, noise

11 Jan 2012. THANKS to the closure of the Newcastle steelworks and the Boolaroo lead and zinc smelter, the air above Newcastle and Lake Macquarie is much cleaner than it was.

But the dramatic inland expansion of open-cut coalmining has ushered in a new era of air-quality and health concerns, with Singleton and Muswellbrook often under a brown pall of dust.

After years of lobbying by residents and environmental activists, air-quality monitoring networks are being built to measure pollution from the big open-cuts. Newcastle Herald editorial

Rumblings of disquiet over noisy mines

11 Jan 2012. MINING-related noise has emerged as a new Upper Hunter battleground, with unprecedented numbers of residents complaining about the effect of noise pollution on their lives.

The Department of Planning's Singleton office, which opened in October 2010, received 82 complaints relating to noise last year. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

Driven out of town: Mining critic says he's being 'intimidated'

11 Jan 2012. One of the most vocal critics of expansion by Wilpinjong Coal believes he is being 'intimidated' to leave his residence in nearby Wollar, NSW.

Late night phone calls and 'property budgets' are what Bruce Marshall believes to be bluffs, forcing people from the small rural community.

Mr Marshall said he and others have received phone calls from representatives of the mining company, including stock and station agents, telling them there was only a small amount left in their budget to purchase property and landowners must sell before funds disappear.

He believes this is a divisive tactic and questions the idea of a 'property budget' when millions of dollars are being spent expanding the mine and nearby railway loop. Darren Snyder, Mudgee Guardian

Perth city drill bid withdrawn

11 Jan 2012. The Chinese mining company responsible for a controversial exploration drilling licence application covering some inner-city Perth suburbs has withdrawn its bid. The news comes a day after the WA Mines Minister Norman Moore said the application had "Buckley's chance" of being approved.

Mr Moore said even if the licence had been approved, consent was required from any individual who had freehold ownership of their land before drilling could be undertaken on their property.

"That can prevent anybody from exploring all mining on that land full stop," he said. "Everybody in the South-West can simply say no in respect of their property."

Rania Spooner, WA Today

It is the coal barons, not activists, who threaten society

10 Jan 2012. I'd like to know how the government can justify employing a private company to spy on me. As an anti-coal activist, and member of one of three main community groups in Australia campaigning against the coal industry, I was alarmed by revelations in The Saturday Age that the Australian Federal Police has singled us out as a potential threat and is employing a private company to spy on us. Shaun Murray, SMH

Call for action on global groundwater crisis

9 Jan 2012. International water scientists have today issued a call for action over the growing threat to the world's groundwater supplies from over-extraction and pollution.

Water supplies will begin running out in critical regions where they support cities, industries and food production by 2030 unless urgent steps are taken to better manage the resource, they cautioned. The Land

Mayor puts mining ban on agenda

ONLY weeks after the Scenic Rim called for the State Government to rescind mining permits, the Mayor of the Somerset Regional Council is calling for a moratorium into the industry in the Brisbane Valley.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann will be proposing the moratorium at next week's council meeting with the intention of becoming the first Queensland council to ban coal mining and coal seam gas extraction. Geoff Egan, Qld Times

Report exposes huge shortfall in funds to fix mess left behind by miners

9 Jan 2012. Toxic abandoned mines require a massive clean-up, for which state budget funding is "substantially inadequate", a report has revealed. Nicole Hasham, SMH

IEA: World on Pace for 11°F Warming, "Even School Children Know This Will Have Catastrophic Implications for All of Us"

4 Jan 2012. The International Energy Agency was once a staid and conservative organization that people ignored because it was staid and conservative. Joe Romm, Climate Progress

Another Year Goes By and We're No Closer to Solving Climate Change

3 Jan 2012. So we start 2012 with an unprecedented understanding of climate science and the consequences of warming, and at the same time seemingly irreconcilable differences on what to do, a Gordian Knot of a problem; complex and intractable, ingeniously self-tightening.Auden Schendler, The Atlantic

German Solar Output Increases by 60% in 2011

1 Jan 2012. Just weeks after the solar industry installed the one millionth system in Germany, the country's solar trade association announced that the technology accounted for 3% of total energy generation in 2011 - increasing 60% over 2010 to 18.6 terawatt-hours (18.6 billion kilowatt-hours.)

This follows data released last week showing that renewable energy accounted for 19.9 percent of electricity production in the country in 2011, growing 16.4 percent over 2010. Meanwhile, overall energy use in the country fell 4.8% due to warmer temperatures and increasing efficiency efforts, further boosting the value of solar generation. Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress

Markets and climate change: A case of cognitive dissonance

20 Dec 2011. Earlier this month, Nicholas Stern -- respected U.K. economist and author of the famed Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change -- cast a spotlight on what he calls a "profound contradiction at the heart of climate change policy."

On one side, the world's governments have pledged to hold temperature rise to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). To have even a 50/50 shot at meeting that target, humanity has a "carbon budget" of about 1,400 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2050. The more we exceed that budget, the more the 2 degrees target slips out of reach. Here's the thing, though: The world's proven fossil fuel reserves, if burned, would create about 2.8 trillion tonnes of CO2, double that carbon budget. If countries are serious about 2 degrees, they must be planning to leave a lot of fossil fuels in the ground. Right?              David Roberts, Grist

Environment world review of the year: '2011 rewrote the record books'

22 Dec 2011. The ecologically tumultuous year saw record greenhouse gas emissions, melting Arctic sea ice, natural disasters and extreme weather - and the world's second worst nuclear disaster. John Vidal, The Guardian

Ohio Mayor Buys Quake Insurance as He Seeks Answers on Fracking

5 Jan 2012. The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, says he wonders whether a well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and natural-gas drilling is making his city shake. Just to be safe, he's bought earthquake insurance. Mark Niquette, Bloomberg

AFP spies targeting green activists

7 Jan 2012. THE Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, has secretly pushed for increased surveillance by federal police intelligence officers of environmental activists who have been protesting peacefully at coal-fired power stations and coal export facilities.

Documents released to the Herald under freedom of information laws confirm the police are "continually monitoring" anti-coal mining and other environmental groups. Much of the intelligence collection is carried out for the federal police by a private contractor, the National Open Source Intelligence Centre, in Melbourne.

Philip Dorling, SMH

Miners on the march

3 Jan 2012. WHILE a decision is being reached within the walls of State Government over mining permits on the western rim of Warwick, talk is mounting in the local area about what the future holds for landowners. Emma Channon, Warwick Daily News

The business plan to stop ecocide

27 Dec 2011. The British lawyer Polly Higgins often draws parallels between the campaign to outlaw slavery and her initiative - to abolish ecocide - the destruction of the natural world. Think poisoning a river, tropical deforestation, or the havoc wreaked by climate change. The comparison is not original but it is valid, concerning the protection of powerful business interests, the damage that they cause but often do not see, and the prevailing ideology that some people can have dominion over others or their environment without consequences.

Higgins's solution is also as simple as the outright outlawing of slavery: the campaign wants environmental destruction to be declared illegal by making it a fifth crime against peace in the international criminal court.

Juliette Jowit, The Guardian

Renewables need not cost more-EU energy chief

BRUSSELS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Shifting to renewable energy will ultimately cost around the same as business as usual, and the EU needs to set the next steps towards low-carbon power soon, pending formal targets by 2030, Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Thursday.Barbara Lewis, Reuters

Coal export surge a danger to Barrier Reef

31 Dec 2011.THE chief of the organisation charged with protecting the Great Barrier Reef has warned that the construction of more coal ports on the Queensland coast could affect the health of the world heritage site.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said the authority was considering measures such as compulsory pilotage on foreign ships to cope with the expected tripling of coal shipments through the reef in the next decade.

At Easter last year, a foreign-flagged vessel with a Korean pilot and two Vietnamese officers -- none of whom had visited Australia before -- ignored both channels and ran straight through the reef to Abbot Point. The three were each fined $70,000.

The day before, a Chinese-registered ship, the Shen Neng 1, ran on to the reef at Douglas Shoal near Gladstone.

The two incidents underlined the reef's vulnerability, particularly to overseas vessels.

Dr Reichelt said there was "a pretty strong case for increasing compulsory pilotage through the reef, and that's one thing we'll be looking at this year in conjunction with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Maritime Services Queensland".

"There's other elements we can look at as well -- one question is whether we're better served having two local pilots on board instead of just one."

He said the existing coal ports of Gladstone, Dalrymple Bay and Abbot Point all were excised from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and excising any more areas would affect reef management and marine fauna in the park.

"There is no doubt that there would be better outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef if shipping activity is confined to fewer areas," he said. "The fewer areas, then the less disruption there will be to sea animals, which have to leave an ecosystem where there is a port and go somewhere else, and that would have quite an effect on marine life."

The capacity of coal ports on the Queensland coast is 245 million tonnes, but planning is under way to expand Abbot Point, Gladstone and Hay Point, while building new ports at Balaclava Island and Port Alma near Rockhampton as well as at Dudgeon Point near the existing port of Dalrymple Bay, taking the overall capacity to 927 million tonnes.

A new generation of larger boats will mean greater efficiencies in carrying coal, but the increase in port capacity and growth in the coal and coal-seam gas industries means the number of ships travelling through the reef each year could rise from about 2500 to 7500 within a few years.

Dr Reichelt's comments come as the federal minister to which the reef authority reports, Environment Minister Tony Burke, is considering applications for two more coal ports in Queensland, at Keppel Bay near Rockhampton and a completely new operation very close to Dalrymple Bay.

Mr Burke has said he will assess the applications very closely and take environmental factors into account before granting any approvals.

But the issue of increased traffic through the environmentally sensitive reef will come to a head in March when UNESCO officials visit Australia to look at potential damage to World Heritage areas, including the reef.

Dr Reichelt said the authority was already working with the maritime safety authority, a federal government body, and Maritime Safety Queensland, a state government body, to assess the effects of more traffic on the reef.

One area of particular concern is Abbot Point, where plans exist to upgrade the port from its current capacity of 50 million tonnes of coal a year to 400 million, making it one of the biggest coal ports in the world.

Abbot Point lies beside a sensitive part of the reef, and ships must either pass through the reef in a channel near Palm Island, about 300km north, before tracking south close to the coast, or through the channel that leads to Dalrymple Bay, about 200km to the south.

At the moment, ships that come through the southern passage must have local pilots, but there is no such requirement for ships that use the Palm Island route.

Andrew Fraser, The Australian

Bottom of the harbour

31 Dec 2011. IT took 10 years for Graham McVean to get permission to build a jetty on his private getaway island, located in an unlikely paradise in the Gladstone industrial port harbour on the central Queensland coast.

McVean could never understand why his jetty posed such an unacceptable environmental risk, surrounded as it was by a coal loader, Australia's biggest cement works, two failed shale oil projects, an alumina refinery, aluminium smelter and cyanide factory for the gold industry.

Nowadays, after tying his commuter boat to the pontoon, McVean likes to celebrate his triumph over bureaucracy by taking a leak into the surrounding waters.

Such is the security at Gladstone Port, McVean - a former television and radio executive for Christopher Skase and present adviser to Gladstone's greenhorn federal Liberal National Party member Ken O'Dowd - says he once received a telephone call from a harbour worker to admonish his indiscretion. McVean's spray had been monitored from kilometres away by a port camera that he later found was powerful enough to read the name tag pinned to the breast of a thief who broke into his island sanctuary.

It raises the question, how has Australia's most closely watched port missed what has been happening right in front of its eyes?

The fish no longer come to be fed at McVean's jetty. Record numbers of dolphins, dugongs and turtles have washed up dead on Gladstone's shores during the past year. Oysters have disappeared from the harbour pylons. Sharks and stingrays are being caught with red rashes.

Large numbers of crabs are presenting with deformed shells, while barramundi and other scale fish are being pulled from the waters with bulging red eyes and red raw sores.

Two contrasting explanations have been offered.

The first is that last year's floods, which turned the harbour waters fresh and brought an abundance of barramundi from the dams to the sea, disrupted the ecological balance.

The second is that dredging of Gladstone harbour to enable Queensland's multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas industry to export coal-seam gas to Asia has stirred up misdeeds of the past and poisoned the water. Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Anger over moves to delist Gladstone Harbour

The Greens say the Gladstone Ports Corporation is trying to remove its harbour from the World Heritage List so it can avoid international scrutiny about its dredging operations. ABC News Online

No action against toxic fume mine

22 Dec 2011. A southern Queensland mine was acting within health and safety regulations when it blasted toxic fumes beyond the limits of a safety zone, a state government investigation has found. Brisbane Times

Marmion kills Margaret River coal project

21 Dec 2011. WA ENVIRONMENT Minister Bill Marmion has rejected a proposal for a coal mine in Margaret River, saying the area is too environmentally sensitive. Nick Evans, Perth Now

Flight Centre boss leads anti-coalmine campaign

21 Dec 2011. One of Queensland's wealthiest men has spearheaded a campaign against proposed coal mining projects between Ipswich and Toowoomba in southeast Queensland. Brisbane Times

Glennies Creek mine plan banned

22 Dec 2011. FEARS about damage to the Hunter River and the health of Camberwell village residents have prompted the NSW Planning Assessment Commission to refuse a coalmining application near Glennies Creek, outside Singleton. Greg Ray and Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

Wind farm opponents 'aided and abetted' by climate sceptic groups

20 Dec 2011. THE anti-wind farm movement that is gaining influence in the NSW Parliament is being ''aided and abetted'' by climate sceptic groups and some mining figures. Ben Cubby and Josephine Tovey, SMH

Council blocks CSG testing

19 Dec 2011. LISMORE City Council has received unprecedented community support for its popular, though legally uncertain, moratorium on coal seam gas activities on all council-controlled land. Dominic Feain, Northern Star

Why big energy wants to kill the LRET

16 Dec 2011. Ever heard of the merit order effect? Readers of this column may be familiar with it, because it is emerging as a key issue in the Australian electricity sector, and a flashpoint between the established fossil fuel generators and the new wave of renewable energy technologies, and a conflict between short term profits and long term gains. Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator

Landholders, you're not alone

16 Dec 2011. SIMMERING tensions are at risk of boiling over after famers from across Central Queensland met with Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton on his tour of the region earlier this week. Simon Green, CQ News

Economy will be wounded by new mine, claims report

16 Dec 2011. A MASSIVE coalmine being proposed by the Queensland mineral baron Clive Palmer will be so big it will create a mini boom of its own, with all the adverse side-effects hitting manufacturing and other non-mining sectors of the economy, according to an economic assessment of the project. Philip Coorey, SMH

We are letting our resources luck turn to dust

25 Nov 2011. Paul Cleary's book Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia's Future, is a timely appraisal of the dramatic economic and social impacts, as well as the political ramifications of the current resource boom. Kerry Carrington, The Conversation

China solar goes for gold

24 Nov 2011. The scale of ambition in large-scale solar took a quantum leap forward this week when two Chinese companies announced they would soon begin construction on a 1,000MW (1GW) solar PV plant. The solar farm, near the Chinese city of Datong, would be by far the biggest in the world, and is being funded by CGN Solar, an offshoot of the China Guangdong Nuclear Corp, and Hong-Kong based polysilicon supplier GCL-Poly Energy. Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator

Hutton likely to challenge CSG fine

9 Dec 2011. Conservationist Drew Hutton says he's likely to appeal against a court's decision to fine him over a coal seam gas (CSG) protest in Queensland. Toby Mann, AAP

Fracking may be causing groundwater pollution, says EPA report (USA)

9 Dec 2011. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday for the first time that fracking - a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells - may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution. The Guardian

Winemakers vote to expel AGL over CSG

9 Dec 2011. Hunter Valley winemakers are going to expel natural gas company AGL Energy from their ranks because of its coal seam gas exploration. Perry Williams, Australian Financial Review

Tests reveal contaminated water near gas site

9 Dec 2011. THE state's first case of water contamination from coal seam gas drilling has been discovered in north-western NSW, according to independent tests. Ben Cubby, SMH


AGL suspends drilling for gas at NSW farm

8 Dec 2011. Natural gas company AGL has announced it will suspend drilling at a northern NSW farm to allow community consultation to take place. AAP

Two Bob's Worth at Dalby

7 Dec 2011. Senator Bob Brown and Bob Katter MP support Drew Hutton in court. ABC News video

Gloucester mining blockade

7 Dec 2011. THE community's fight to stop coal seam gas mining in the Gloucester Valley has stepped up a notch, with a peaceful blockade now in place outside a local property where mining company AGL plans to install a drilling rig. Helen Manusu, Manning River Times

Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall

25 Nov 2011. Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.Alex Morales, Bloomberg

Gloucester landowners blockade AGL coal seam gas project

6 Dec 2011. The residents of this idyllic valley are facing the same questions facing so many other communities that are on the frontline of the fossil fuel boom "How can we stop our most beautiful and productive farmlands becoming an industrial wasteland at the hands of the mining industry?" John Hepburn, Crikey

Mining blasts shake up locals

6 Dec 2011. FOR Dan Bourke the rumblings of an explosion are an all too familiar sound. Mr Bourke does not live in Afghanistan or Iraq but rather on a property outside Rosewood. Kieran Banks, Qld Times

Concern builds over chemicals left behind

2 Dec 2011. FOR every "fracked" coal-seam gas well, between 10,000 and 35,000 litres of chemicals are injected into the ground, with up to 40 per cent remaining there. The CSG industry has talked down the quantity of chemicals used in the process, repeatedly stating the chemicals represent roughly 1 per cent of fracking solution with the remainder comprised of water and "proppant" such as sand. The Senate committee into CSG, which delivered an interim report this week, has examined the bulk of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" process. It states that because of the very large volumes of solution involved, "even 1 per cent is still a significant volume". Fracking is thought to be used at up to 40 per cent of the 18,650 CSG wells approved for development in Queensland. Anthony Klan, The Australian

Warning on CSG impact 'ignored': report

2 Dec 2011. INTERNAL advice to the Queensland government had warned five years ago that coal-seam gas development was dictated by misplaced "technological optimism" that environmental problems could be solved, when there was no way to assess the industry's "cumulative impact" on farming and water. The scathing assessment was made by a then principal policy officer to the state Department of Mines and Energy, Geoff Edwards, who yesterday backed the finding of an all-party Senate committee that CSG projects in Queensland had been approved prematurely. Jamie Walker, The Australian

Bligh accuses Heffernan-led inquiry of bias

2 Dec 2011. QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh has accused the Bill Heffernan-led Senate inquiry into the coal-seam gas industry of setting out to undermine the emerging resources sector in a bid to score cheap political points. A day after delivering its report, recommending CSG development be suspended in areas tapping the Great Artesian Basin, Ms Bligh said any moves to enforce a moratorium would cost the 9000 jobs that have already been created by the new industry in Queensland. Michael McKenna and Andrew Fraser, The Australian

Gas projects left under a cloud

GROWING community and political opposition to coal-seam gas production is beginning to make analysts doubt whether yet-to-be approved projects will get up.

In a note to clients yesterday, Credit Suisse analyst Sandra McCullagh said that while $50 billion of CSG export projects being built by Santos, BG Group and Origin at Gladstone were likely to overcome some landowner issues, this week's Senate committee recommendation that CSG development in some areas be suspended was a worry for others. Ms McCullagh said the 50-50 Arrow Energy joint-venture between Shell and PetroChina, whose $535 million bid for Bow Energy was cleared by the competition watchdog yesterday, could face hurdles.

"It is hard to see they will have any easy path to approval as their Surat CSG acreage (in Queensland) is all strategic cropping land," she said. "Focus will have to be on the less-sensitive Bowen Basin so the concern is that Arrow will not have enough gas to feed a two-train LNG project." Matt Chambers, The Australian

Mine benefits outweigh green fears, Palmer says

Mining magnate Clive Palmer says he expects the State Government to approve a controversial central Queensland coal project early in the new year. The $8 billion Waratah Coal project in the Galilee Basin near Alpha, west of Rockhampton, has attracted opposition from environmental groups. The project is in the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, which is home to the endangered black-throated finch. Megan Hendry and Paul Robinson, ABC News

Why we won't need coal

1 Dec 2011. Last month, the International Energy Agency released a stunning report that suggested that the future of thermal coal exports could be threatened if the world ever decides to implement the policies to limit global warming to an average 2°C, rather than just merely talking about it, as they are doing in Durban this fortnight. Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator

Coal licence for union boss sparks ICAC investigation

14 Nov 2011. THE awarding of a coal exploration licence to a former union leader by the disgraced former Labor minister Ian Macdonald is set to be investigated by the corruption watchdog after an independent report found there was ''a circumstantial case of wrongdoing''. Sean Nicholls, SMH/The Land

Non violent action for Gloucester?

30 Nov 2011. The Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance has called a public meeting to look at community responses, including the possibility of non-violent action, to push AGL to halt its drilling program until an independent examination of seismic and water studies has been undertaken. The Gloucester Advocate

Farmer protects Hunter Valley land from mining company NuCoal Resources

30 Nov 2011. THERE are many reasons why fifth-generation farmer Ian Moore doesn't want mining companies coming on to his land to explore for coal. There are the fears of what it might do to his property, the effect it could have on the water supply and the noise and visual impact of drills boring holes more than 500m deep. But the real reason he decided to fight plans by NuCoal Resources to start exploration on his Hunter Valley property was a dying wish from his father. Neil Keene, The Daily Telegraph

Tests set to determine air quality

30 Nov 2011. Singleton and Muswellbrook should know what is in the dust they breathe by the end of June next year.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology (ANSTO) will conduct a fine particle characterisation study developed and jointly funded by NSW Health and Office of Environment. Hunter Valley News

Thai floods could be costliest in a decade: Allianz

18 Nov 2011. SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Insured losses from Thai floods could be in the double-digit billions of dollars and the disaster will lead to a re-assessment of weather risks to industries in Asia, a senior official from global insurer Allianz said. David Fogarty and Kevin Lim, Reuters

Climate change leading to food crunch

17 Nov 2011. Surging population growth and climate change are driving the planet towards episodes of worsening hunger, which only an overhaul of the food system will fix, a panel of experts says. AFP/The Age

LNP's 'no-go' zones

28 Nov 2011. AN LNP government will not approve any mining or coal seam gas activity across Gowrie Junction and the Felton Valley. Troy Rowling, Qld Country Life

UN: farmers must produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed population

28 Nov 2011.The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that farmers will have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to meet the needs of the world's expected 9-billion-strong population. That amounts to 1bn tonnes more wheat, rice and other cereals and 200m more tonnes of beef and other livestock. The Guardian

Qantas plans bio-fuel flight

14 Nov 2011. Qantas will run Australia's first commercial flight powered by sustainable fuel, CEO Alan Joyce has told an aviation conference in Brisbane today. Tony Moore, SMH

High risk demands stronger regulation of mining projects

26 Nov 2011. WHEN CSIRO scientist Peter Stone briefed federal MPs and staff on coal-seam gas earlier this month, those in the room with some understanding of the likely effects were taken aback by his low-risk characterisation of the mammoth CSG projects that involved 40,000 production wells in southeast Queensland.

Those present included Liberal senator Bill Heffernan, who heckled from the floor, and Liverpool Plains farmer Tim Duddy, who has been working with independent MP Tony Windsor on ways to protect prime farm land from mining.

What made Duddy and others even more alarmed was that Stone did not declare his relationship with Origin Energy and US multinational ConocoPhillips in his oral presentation. The companies are advancing the biggest CSG project in the state.

A fact sheet circulated by Stone does declare CSIRO's relationship with the Origin-Conoco project known as APLNG, but the same document says CSG is an "exciting" development for Queensland and Australia because of the significant economic benefits the industry is poised to deliver.

Duddy says CSIRO's basic premise is not whether large-scale CSG can coexist with prime farmland but that it is dedicated to finding ways to advance the industry.

The scale of the projects being advanced in Queensland are breathtaking, and these magnify the risks, which are threefold.

First, there's the drawing of vast amounts of groundwater. The National Water Commission puts the potential drawdown at a conservative 300 billion (giga) litres a year, a 55 per cent increase on the present extraction rate. Advice in July last year to then environment minister Peter Garrett, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation by Inquirer, says the drawdown could be three to five times the NWC's estimate.

Second, there are the toxic chemicals pumped into wells to "frack" the gas, which could enter groundwater up to 1000m below the surface. Third, there's the bringing of millions of tonnes of salt to the surface through saline water, with no plan for managing this water.

The science of what happens when tens of thousands of wells are drilled through aquifers into coal seams is uncertain.

CSIRO's briefing notes says the threat of groundwater contamination is "low risk", and the overall effect of these developments can be managed. "Although absolute guarantees about potential impacts are not possible, existing knowledge from research on aquifers and groundwater models make it possible to estimate the level of risks of adverse impacts," one note says.

Contrast this with advice obtained under FOI for Environment Minister Tony Burke's approval of the APLNG project, which involves 10,000 production wells. The advice quotes a Geoscience Australia paper that warns of "high levels of uncertainty in the predicted impacts of CSG development on groundwater behaviour", and says "APLNG's modelling requires further work to fully establish uncertainties".

Stone is the deputy head of the CSIRO's Ecosystems Science division and the director of a newly launched research unit, the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance, which is being funded by APLNG to the tune of $10 million. While GISERA has strong governance to ensure research independence, the link to APLNG and Stone's can-do approach to CSG have raised concerns about the scientific advice governments have been getting.

Stone says that as the nation's most trusted scientific organisation, CSIRO would not do anything to undermine that trust, but the issue is also one of perception. While he says he circulated a briefing note "devoted" to GISERA and its relationship with APLNG, another note on GISERA that he forwarded to Inquirer made no such mention of this link. Stone said he would ask for the note to be amended immediately.

The answer to these doubts is the Independent Expert Scientific Committee, a new statutory authority negotiated by Windsor that has a mandate to give government the best possible advice on specific CSG and coal projects. Initially funded with $150m across five years, IESC's advice will become pivotal for the federal government on CSG and coal projects, while another $50m is available for advice to state governments.

Under a national partnership agreement to be negotiated with the Council of Australian Governments, all governments will be required through legislation to take into account the IESC's advice, which will be made public.

Darling Downs farmer Ruth Armstrong, 38, who is fighting against Shell and Petrochina's CSG project encroaching on the rich, black soils of her Cecil Plains farm, thinks better science will help, although it is probably too late to protect Queensland.

Armstrong says it will be "touch and go" whether the IESC looks at the project as it won't be created until next year. She expects Arrow to lodge its development application within a month.

"I think it is very good news for NSW. The industry there is in its infancy," says Armstrong, an ecologist who is representing 13 families in a court action against the Queensland government's approval of these projects.

Duddy says one result of this new advice may be that projects are brought forward on a more modest scale. He thinks the scale is really the heart of the problem.

National Water Commission chief executive James Cameron says the scale of the projects is "increasing the risks and obviously the potential uncertainties with those impacts".

Downs farmers west of Toowoomba have seen the problems of scale. New Hope Coal's Acland mine was originally sold to the community and the town of Acland as a one-million-tonnes-a-year operation. It has expanded to five million tonnes a year, with plans for a third stage to reach 10 million tonnes a year.

When Inquirer recently met farmers living near the mine, they reported a raft of serious health consequences and said they dreaded the thought of the mine doubling in size. When asked why it was potentially spreading harmful coal dust by having an enormous, uncovered coal dump and by transporting uncovered coal, New Hope said it was meeting all "legal requirements" set out in its development permit.

Springsure Creek farm manager Lizzie Bradford, 38, is part of the community campaign to stop a longwall coalmine development by Bandanna Energy. The project has been approved even though the area is meant to be protected by the state's strategic cropping legislation. Bradford, who manages a 16,000ha farm with her husband, says the community's main concern is subsidence. "There is no way this country will be rehabilitated to its current form," she says.

The state opposition has shown no interest in listening to farmer concerns, she says, so she hopes the new committee could examine the project in greater detail.

Bradford's hope that scientific evidence will prevail underscores a common refrain of farmers on the Downs. They say the state government's intimate partnership with industry, encouraged by the upfront payment of royalties, means that projects with enormous risks have been fast-tracked without proper assessment of the environmental and human impact. They say they no longer feel they are being governed.

The IESC is a good idea that is long overdue, but it should be seen as the start of stronger national regulation of resource developments. As I argued in my book, Too Much Luck, we need independent assessment and monitoring of resource projects by a federal-state institution. We should think about a "Reserve Bank" of resource project assessment.

Paul Cleary, The Australian

Millions Spent in Albany (USA) Fight to Drill for Gas

25 Nov 2011. ALBANY - Energy companies have been pouring millions of dollars into television advertising, lobbying and campaign contributions as the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo enters the final phase of deciding when and where to allow a controversial form of natural gas extraction that is opposed by environmental groups.Thomas Kaplan, New York Times

The Tussle Between Energy and Ecology Moves to the Australian Outback

23 Nov 2011. Here's a Dot Earth 'Postcard' from the outback - specifically from the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a 20,000-acre patch of drylands ecosystems in Queensland, Australia, whose owners are fighting a plan to mine surface and subterranean coal seams to supply China's relentless needs. Andrew Revkin, New York Times

Miner 'demanded change to survey'

23 Nov 2011. AN ARCHAEOLOGIST claims she deleted key sections of a survey of Aboriginal heritage sites commissioned by Fortescue Metals Group because she feared she would not be paid for the work if she did not. Jan Mayman, SMH

Queensland approves toxic waste discharge

24 Nov 2011. The Queensland Government ignored environmental safety guidelines when it granted Origin Energy and ConocoPhillips permission to release toxic water from its coal seam gas operations into the headwaters of the Murray Darling Basin. Brit-Helen Johansen, ABC News

A Coal Region's Quest to Switch to Renewables

11 Sepr 2011. Germany's bituminous coal mines are soon to lose their subsidies. But one Ruhr Valley company is looking to transform its mines into sources of renewable energy. Along the way, they could solve one of Germany's largest challenges as it attempts to switch over to green energy. Frank Dohmen and Barbara Scmid, Der Speigel

Devastating disease spreads from fish to other marine species at Gladstone

21 Nov 2011. There is no end in sight to the crisis which has decimated the fishing industry in the burgeoning port of Gladstone. Daniel Knowles and Brian Williams, Courier-Mail

The seam old story springs a leak

19 Nov 2011. The federal Minister for Energy, Martin Ferguson, is often criticised but he's right about this: the coal seam gas industry has grown too fast.

We have not done our homework before issuing approvals for this $50 billion-plus export industry - on the possible groundwater and land-use impact, on what to do with the millions of tonnes of salt left over, or the impact on Gladstone harbour and the Great Barrier Reef.

Crucially, we have rushed to develop coal seam gas reserves as a cleaner alternative to coal, assuming it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. But will coal seam gas reduce emissions? By how much? We don't actually know. Paddy Manning, SMH

Mining gone far enough (Singleton NSW)

15 Nov 2011. IAN Hedley has reached a tipping point.The multi-award winning Singleton businessman came to the precipice on Friday when he addressed a state government planning assessment commission and objected to a $600million Mount Thorley Warkworth open-cut coalmine expansion plan. Paul MacGuire, Singleton Argus

Scenic Rim takes on CSG

18 Nov 2011. IN Queensland local government's toughest talk yet on the mining-agriculture battle, the Scenic Rim Regional Council has threatened to use the courts to challenge any government-approved resource sector development in its region. Troy Rowling, Qld Country Life

Farmers vow more blockades against CSG

17 Nov 2011. Farmers are threatening more demonstrations and blockades unless they're given added power to keep coal seam gas miners off their land. Stephen Johnson, AAP

Win for gas blockade as Santos pulls back

15 Nov 2011. COAL seam gas drilling at a flashpoint site on the edge of the Liverpool Plains has been halted after the state's biggest coal seam gas operator, Santos, backed down, ending a three-week blockade by residents. Ben Cubby and Sean Nicholls, SMH

Grappling with science and sceptics

12 Nov 2011. Protecting the water wealth of the Great Artesian Basin is the latest challenge for the coal seam gas industry. Ben Cubby, SMH

U.S. Delays Decision on Tar Sands Pipeline Until After Election

10 Nov 2011. WASHINGTON - The Obama administration, under sharp pressure from officials in Nebraska and restive environmental activists, announced Thursday that it would review the route of the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline, effectively delaying any decision about its fate until after the 2012 election. John M Broder and Dan Frosch, New York Times

Coal Project Hits Snag as a Partner Backs Off

10 Nov 2011. WASHINGTON - The leading American effort to capture carbon dioxide from coal plants has hit a stumbling block that could imperil the project and set back a promising technology for addressing global warming, people involved in the venture said. Matthew L Wald, New York Times

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

9 Nov 2011. The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure. Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Doubt cast over strategic cropping laws

11 Nov 2011. The Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) has told a parliamentary inquiry that proposed strategic cropping laws may not address concerns about the expanding coal seam gas (CSG) industry. Melinda Howells, ABC News

EPA Finds Compound Used in Fracking in Wyoming Aquifer (USA)

10 Nov 2011. As the country awaits results from a nationwide safety study on the natural gas drilling process of fracking, a separate government investigation into contamination in a place where residents have long complained that drilling fouled their water has turned up alarming levels of underground pollution.Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

Anti-mining campaigner steps down

9 Nov 2011. FELTON farmer and anti-mining advocate Rob McCreath has stood down as president of Friends of Felton. Toowoomba Chronicle

Mine regulations relaxed ahead of QLD storm season

8 Nov 2011. Environmental regulations have been relaxed to help Queensland miners prepare for more difficulties this wet season. Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche told AAP the relaxed conditions would make it easier for mines to 'handle what's thrown at them in the upcoming wet season'. Andrew Duffy, AAP/Australian Mining

Longannet UK carbon capture project cancelled

19 Oct 2011. Last remaining project in government competition for CCS funding scrapped as partners fall out over funding. Hanna Gersmann and Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Felton claims win over Shenhuo

2 Nov 2011. The Queensland government has confirmed Shenhuo International Group, a large Chinese state-owned mining company, has abandoned its application for a coal exploration permit on a 5000ha area of the  Condamine River floodplain near Felton, south of Toowoomba. Australian Financial Review

Farming town claims win over Chinese miner

2 Nov 2011. A conservation group is claiming a landmark win in the battle to stop mining creeping into prime farmland in Queensland.

Coal seam gas projects should be halted

2 Nov 2011. All coal seam gas projects should be halted while a scientific investigation of their impact on farm land is carried out, key independent MP Tony Windsor says. AAP, Brisbane Times

Mayor speaks out against Ambre Energy USA coal export plan

19 Oct 2011. Dana Lyons interviews Mayor Dan Pike of Bellingham, Washington State, USA, about the proposed coal port to be built just north of Bellingham and the resulting 20 additional coal trains per day that would come through the city. YouTube

Fringe farms in food fight as growers fear hunger for coal seam gas

27 Oct 2011. The "suburban" farmers whose small vegetable plots criss-cross the outer rim of the Sydney basin are girding themselves for war against coal seam gas (CSG) companies creeping ever closer to the city. Samantha Townsend, The Daily Telegraph

EU: Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands?

28 Oct 2011. A controversial move to prohibit oil imported from what's been called the world's dirtiest fuel source could be an example for the rest of us. Robert Mellinger, Yes Magazine

Coal seam gas now too risky - Australian Ethical

26 Oct 2011. Fund manager Australian Ethical has sold out of its investment in Origin Energy because of the risks associated with its coal seam gas operations. Ross Kendall, Ethical Investor

Flooding rains plain truth of climate change: scientist

21 Oct 2011. Australia can expect more frequent devastating floods like those in Queensland this year, and the world is facing decades of unprecedented hardship as a result of climate change, according to the chief scientific adviser to the British government. Karen Kissane, The Age

Crop scientists now fret about heat not just water

24 Oct 2011. Crop scientists in the United States, the world's largest food exporter, are pondering an odd question: could the danger of global warming really be the heat? Christine Stebbins, Reuters

Regional town replacing smoke with mirrors

26 Oct 2011. A proposal to build a series of solar thermal plants is attracting local interest because of its ability to provide both base and peak load electricity. Greg Muller, ABC Radio Bush Telgraph

Map reveals stark divide in who caused climate change and who's being hit

26 Oct 2011. The global north is at lower risk of global warming impacts and is better placed to cope than the global south, but globalisation means we are all affected. Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Mining tug-of-war at Felton

31 Oct 2011. VICKI Green says she feels stuck between "the devil and the deep blue sea" with a tug-of-war playing out between mining companies for the 400-hectare cropping blocks her family has farmed at Felton, south of Toowoomba, for more than 15 years. Troy Rowling Qld Country Life

ZeroGen fails

28 Oct 2011. The Courier-Mail can reveal the controversial ZeroGen operation was shut down a fortnight ago, despite the Premier promising the ailing firm would be given to - and run by - the coal industry to ensure its work did not go to waste. Patrick Lion, Courier-Mail

Farmers pledge to continue blockade of CSG mining site for 'as long as it takes'

28 oct 2011. SIMMERING tensions over the coal seam gas beneath the state's farming country boiled over at dawn yesterday, when farmers parked heavy machinery across a planned drilling site on the Liverpool Plains, south of Gunnedah. Ben Cubby, SMH

Clean coal shambles as ZeroGen project collapses

28 oct 2011. Documents filed with ASIC this month show the company, which had proposed a "world-first" $4 billion clean coal power plant storing carbon emissions underground, is under external administration after a liquidator was appointed on October 11. Patrick Lion, Daily Telegraph

Energy analyst turns up heat on new gas projects

28 Oct 2011. Senior energy analyst Gundi Royle has broken ranks with her colleagues, attacking industry and regulators for failing to conduct independent regional modelling of the groundwater impacts of up to $80 billion in planned coal seam gas (CSG) development, mostly in Queensland. Paddy Manning, SMH

Farms in jeopardy as gas rush gets out of hand

20 Oct 2011. The invasion of farmland by miners, especially coal-seam gas (CSG) companies, has got country people as mad as hell. Terry Ryder, The Australian

Alan Jones speech to the National Press Club on mining v farming

Watch the video of this tour de force performance here

Seeking a Pacific Northwest Gateway for U.S. Coal

20 Oct 2011. Bellingham, Washington, is admired for its green power purchases, its innovative building efficiency program, and the "buy local" ethos of its bustling Saturday farmers' market. But the fossil energy world now has its eye on this small coastal city just 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of the Canadian border (map). Plans are under way for a $500 million marine terminal that would make Bellingham a gateway to energy-hungry Asia for the U.S. coal industry. As many as 18 new freight trains per day would run back and forth from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana to carry coal to the new port. The tracks pass just a few hundred yards from the craft and vegetable stands of the Bellingham farmers' market. Stacey Schultz, National Geographic

Residents to challenge mining plans

18 Oct 2011. AN IPSWICH anti-mining group has taken the first step in a groundbreaking legal challenge to mining expansion in the area. Peter Foley, Qld Times

Australian Ethical sells out of Origin Energy

17 Oct 2011. CSG prompts divestment: 'This leadership position reflects our status as Australia's foremost ethical investment manager for over 25 years'.

Mayor backs no mining

17 Oct 2011. MINING will have no place in the Scenic Rim if mayor John Brent has his way. Cr Brent last week declared that he would attempt to ensure the region remains free from coal mine and coal seam gas wells. Geoff Egan, Qld Times

Exporting carbon and hypocrisy: our big growth industry

18 Oct 2011. There are two ways that Australia "contributes" to human-caused climate change but policymakers and politicians only seem willing to tackle one of them. Graham Readfearn ABC The Drum

Food security: Worth fighting for

17 Oct 2011. ANGRY landholders preparing to fight for the country they love attended a food security forum in Gunnedah on Wednesday. Chris Monkton, Moree Champion

Let's talk sense on climate

30 Sept 2011. IF YOU read the climate change opinions rolled out in the Rural Press letter pages week after week, you would have to conclude that the world's climate scientists are a) devious, or b) idiots. Or devious idiots.The ultimate test of a truth is reality, and reality doesn't point this way. Matthew Cawood, The Land

Coalition chief denies 'gift'

13 Oct 2011. STATE Opposition Leader Campbell Newman has responded to queries raised about his dealings with an energy company proposing to mine farming land at Felton. Stuart Cumming, Toowoomba Chronicle

Mine blasting stopped until risk 'acceptable'

7 Oct 2011. THE Queensland government has suspended blasting operations at the New Acland coalmine, west of Brisbane, as details emerged suggesting operators reshaped the safe exclusion zone around a potentially toxic cloud of matter that drifted near a public road. Jared Owens, The Australian

Scholarships slap face of farmers

6 Oct 2011. AN announcement that Ambre Energy has offered scholarships to school children has been branded an insult to the agricultural industry. Toowoomba Chronicle

Monitors cut out during dusty day

23 Sept 2011. AIRBORNE dust particles reached hazardous levels in Singleton's windy conditions on Tuesday despite most mines in the area implementing changes to operations to reduce their impacts. Sarah Lee, Singleton Argus

Coal and gas position welcomed

29 Sept 2011. After four months of dedicated research and information gathering the Upper Hunter Shire Council announced its position to protect the shire and its traditional existing industries from coal and coal seam gas mining. Caitlin Andrews, The Scone Advocate

Alan Jones: Mining v farming

Alan Jones interviews Kingaroy farmer Carl Rackemann and Marian Lloyd-Smith from the National Toxins Network. Listen here

Methane adds fuel to a heated debate

24 Sept 2011. The green credentials of coal seam gas are in dispute. Nicky Phillips and Ben Cubby, SMH

Coal wars: Move for green future

28 Sept 2011. COALMINERS and coal seam gas companies have been warned off a large part of the Hunter Region - virtually the entire Upper Hunter local government area - in a bid to protect the thoroughbred industry, water and prime agricultural land. Fran Thompson, Newcastle Herald

Brazilian Farmers "Have Good Reason to Worry"

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sep 20, 2011 (IPS) - Bananas are harvested where apples used to grow; cassava, a traditional crop, is disappearing from the Northeast; and the southeast is losing the fragrance of good coffee. This is the science fiction of a new distribution of crops in Brazil, South America's agricultural powerhouse. Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS News

New mining projects threaten Queensland's food bowl

25 Sept 2011. It's Carnival of Flowers time but, with worries over land security as the result of planned new mining projects, it's not all rosy on the Darling Downs. Miriam Bauman, Independent Australia

India, China acquire coal assets in Queensland

20 Sept 2011. ALMOST all the coal in Australia's next major coalmining area, the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, has already been sold to Indian or Chinese interests, three years before mining is due to start.Andrew Fraser, The Australian

Very little local research on health impacts of mining

20 Sept 2011. A Newcastle University researcher is questioning why Hunter region researchers are not at the forefront of Australian research into the health impacts of coal mining. ABC News

Treasurer's secret mine deal

20 Sept 2011. QUEENSLAND Treasurer Andrew Fraser has struck a secret deal with a coal mining company to allow it to avoid proposed laws to protect the State's best farm land. Daniel Burdon, Central Qld News

Exploration for coal and minerals has jumped by 1000 per cent in five years and covers quarter of state

19 Sept 2011. EXPLORATION and mining development has exploded to such an extent that almost the entire state is covered by some sort of lease.John McCarthy, Courier-Mail

Coalmining and burning are harmful to health: study

19 Sept 2011. OVERWHELMING evidence exists that coalmining and the burning of coal is harmful to health and can have a significant effect on communities, a medical study to be published today has found. Jacqui Jones, Newcastle Herald

Council pushes for 5km buffer zone

14 Sept 2011. IF TOOWOOMBA Regional Council gets its way, no companies will be able to explore or mine for gas, coal or minerals within 5km of any of the region's towns. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

Mining approval blind to royalties flow

15 Sept 2011. In what has been described as an "accident of history", a loophole in Queensland law means that in many cases, landholders whose property was titled before 1910 own the royalty rights to coal below the surface, rather than those rights vesting with the state government as is usually the case. Anthony Klan, The Australian

Land title loophole could cost Bligh $1.5bn in royalties

10 Sept 2011. THE Queensland government stands to lose as much as $1.5 billion in mining royalties over the next decade because of a property law loophole that is adding more friction to the growing debate over land use. Anthony Klan, The Australian

Drilling Down - CSG in USA

Articles in the Drilling Down series from The New York Times examine the risks of natural-gas drilling and efforts to regulate this rapidly growing industry.

We've got mining on the mind, survey shows

8 Sept 2011. THE public thinks mining contributes far more to the economy and job creation than it really does, while underestimating the level of foreign ownership in the industry, a survey says. Clancy Yeates, SMH

More on same story from ABC and ABC Rural

More mining dust recorded in Muswellbrook

6 Sept 2011. A SERIES of increases in fine particulate matter pollution readings at Muswellbrook has reignited concerns about Upper Hunter air quality. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

Landholders on edge over council vision

3 Sept 2011. ROADWAYS that plough into lush paddocks and the duplication of a rail connection are among works proposed for Queensland's Darling Downs during the next 20 years, fuelling fears that local authorities are pulling out all stops to make the region a hive for coalmining activity. Jared Owens, The Australian

Felton mapping blunder uncovered

31 Aug 2011. FELTON landowners have uncovered a Toowoomba Regional Council mapping blunder that would have resulted in Ambre Energy's site being listed as a mining lease. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

The Alien v Predator clash of Australia's economic staples

19 Aug 2011. Proximity is everything in politics. Thanks to the laws of human nature, it is axiomatic that we are bothered more about things that happen right next door than we are about the things that have been going on forever, on the other side of the country, or the world. Annabel Crabb, ABC

Buffer zone backflip angers owners

2 Sept 2011. PROPERTY owners are outraged their homes are going to become part of a buffer zone meant to protect families from heavy industries. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

Shining future for solar power

26 Aug 2011. BIG solar is up to the job of powering Australia. Matthew Wright, Daily Telegraph

Region fights for its rights

29 Aug 2011. TEN years ago the township of Acland, situated less than two hours from Warwick, had a population of 300 but since the establishment of an open cut coalmine just 2km from the centre, it has been reduced to a one-man town. Jenna Cairney, Warwick Daily News

Brisbane mining company pulls plans to build US river port

29 Aug 2011. A BRISBANE-BASED company proposing a coalmine seen as a litmus test in the battle between farmers and miners on Queensland's Darling Downs has been pressured to withdraw plans for a port in the US. Anthony Klan, The Australian.

German village produces 321% more energy than it needs

Ok, those Germans are just showing off now. Not only has the nation announced plans to shut down all of its nuclear power plants and started the construction of 2,800 miles of transmission lines for its new renewable energy initiative, but now the village of Wildpoldsried is producing 321% more energy than it needs! The small agricultural village in the state of Bavaria is generating an impressive $5.7 million in annual revenue from renewable energy. Zeit News

Palmer blasts 'poisonous' coal seam gas industry

29 Aug 2011. Mining magnate Clive Palmer has launched a scathing attack on Australia's coal seam gas industry, saying the technology is unproven and could have a devastating environmental impact. Michael Atkin, ABC News

Approval given for ghost coal project on Darling Downs

27 Aug 2011. THE Queensland and federal governments incorrectly claimed that a coalmine on the fertile Darling Downs had been approved, heightening concerns that negotiations involving potential projects in the region are being handled far too loosely.Anthony Klan, The Australian

Feel pain but no gain from boom

23 Aug 2011. THE mining boom in Queensland might be big but it certainly isn't broad. While the mining industry tries to suggest otherwise, the simple fact is millions of Queenslanders bear the pain of the mining boom without receiving any of the gain.Richard Denniss, The Australian

Farmers dig in for Xstrata legal fight

23 Aug 2011. FARMERS have accused mining giant Xstrata of "land banking" on Queensland's Darling Downs, as they yesterday took their fight against a huge new open-cut coal mine to the Queensland Land Court. Jared Owens, The Australian 

Vietnam's rice bowl threatened by rising seas

21 Aug 2011. Climate change is turning rivers of Mekong Delta salty, spelling disaster for millions of poor farmers. Kit Gillet, Guardian

We can no longer afford growth at any cost

22 Aug 2011. Just a few hours out of Sydney, you can see firsthand the economic tensions sparked by the resources boom. Not far from the country music capital of Tamworth lies some of the country's most fertile agricultural land, producing more than a third of our cereal crops, the Liverpool Plains. In direct competition with farmers are coal and gas companies, who are hell-bent on extracting the riches that lie beneath the soil. Clancy Yeates, SMH

Lock the gate, says Felton campaigner

20 Aug 2011. EMBATTLED Felton district producers lobbying to stave off an open-cut mine and petro-chemical plant say a new rail proposal will "turn the inner Darling Downs into one huge mine pit." Qld Country Life

Hopeful miners ride the rails that brought the farmers

20 Aug 2011. IN the Felton Valley on the Darling Downs a battle is heating up between long-time farmers of one of the nation's most fertile food bowls and a mining company seeking to pull about 150 million tonnes of coal from the earth.Anthony Klan, The Australian

Lobbyists swell the ranks as coal-seam stoush heats up

19 Aug 2011. THE standoff between farmers and miners has become a lobbyists' picnic, with former high-profile political figures signing on as advisers to coal and coal-seam gas producers.Rosanne Barrett, The Australian

Our food bowls should not be sacrificed to mining

17 Aug 2011. Australia is the driest continent on earth and as we push towards an ever increasing population we must be mindful of the fact the less than 9 per cent of our continent's surface is arable land: a far smaller portion of that is prime agricultural land, and an even smaller portion of that has underground water resources. Tim Duddy, SMH

Mining: tiny footprint, heavy tread

25 July 2011. The resources industry has moved to quell concerns that mining developments could soon blanket large areas of farmland by releasing data to show that mining projects account for a 'tiny footprint' of actual land area. James Nason,

Food crisis in Asia

1 Aug 2011. As the global population rises, farmers, particularly in developing countries, are coming under pressure to increase their crop yields to meet growing demand. D J Clark looks at the problems facing farmers and consumers in different parts of Asia, and examines some of the possible solutions.DJ Clark, China Daily

Mining-free zones for Queensland towns

16 Aug 2011. MINING exploration over densely populated areas will be banned in Queensland as the government attempts to quell community anxiety about encroaching resources development.Roseanne Barret, Sid Maher, The Australian

Anna Bligh 'selling out' small towns by allowing mining and gas developments

16 Aug 2011. THE Bligh Government has been accused of abandoning small towns and farmers by excluding their properties from a ban on mining and gas developments.John McCarthy, Steven Scott, Courier Mail

Tony Abbott, Campbell Newman divided over right of farmers to reject miners from their land

15 Aug 2011. TONY Abbott remains locked in a policy wedge over allowing farmers to reject the intrusion of mining on their land, with LNP leader Campbell Newman splitting from the Federal Opposition Leader. John McCarthy, Courier Mail.

Acland comes back to life for census night

13 Aug 2011. FOR one night the Queensland town of Acland lived again.Jared Owens & Jamie Walker, The Australian

Protestors halt coal trucks

10 Aug 2011. AN IMPROMPTU protest at New Hope Group's Acland mine stopped coal trucks in their tracks for two hours yesterday. Toowoomba Chronicle

Rural inhabitants up in arms over wanton destruction

17 July 2011. IN Jondaryan, a small township on the Darling Downs in Queensland, they have been building a mountain of coal for the past 10 years. It is hauled from New Hope Mine at Acland and dumped near the township before being loaded on trains heading to the coast. Heather Brown, The Australian

Stop the fracking: Olivia joins Cate taking on miners

OLIVIA Newton-John is the latest celebrity to take on the powerful mining industry over environmental issues. Cameron Houston, Neil McMahon - The Age

Bush anger amid food fears

7 Aug 2011. MINING and energy firms have swooped to buy more than 390,000ha across Queensland despite almost unanimous opposition to the sell-off of prime farming land. Kelmeny Fraser, Sunday Mail

What's mined is theirs to spend, and fast

13 Aug 2011. The risks of adding more pressures to regional economies already stretched to their limits, as well as intensifying risks for water resources and the environment, seem to be ignored as state politicians see only the billions in upfront royalties they stand to gain. Paul Cleary, The Australian

Riding our resources 'dumb luck' to ruin

6 Aug 2011. Without stronger and more effective government control, Australia will continue travelling at breakneck speed towards the bottom of the quarry, a journey that will wreak havoc on the non-resource sector and potentially leave many people far worse off. Paul Cleary, The Australian 

Sceptics on the menu at Rinehart's luncheon

29 July 2011. Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart hosted a lunch with Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett and the Chinese Ambassador Chen Yuming to hear a presentation from one of Australia's most prominent sceptics of human-caused climate change on the same day that the government was launching the details of its carbon tax proposal. Graham Readfearn, Crikey

Euro wind power tipped to treble by 2020

3 Aug 2011. Energy producers expect European wind power generation to triple by 2020, with tens of thousands of new, ever-bigger wind turbines springing up, an industry body says. The Age

Unravelling a few of Australia's climate change myths

28 July 2011. The heat that's now being generated by the climate change debate in Australia seems truly amazing to an outsider.Richard Lambert, ABC Unleashed

Michael Bloomberg gives $50m to Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign

21 July 2011. The environmentally friendly New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, made his largest ever gift to the green cause on Thursday, giving $50m(£31m) to a campaign to shut down America's coal-burning power plants. Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian

Concern over mining in urban and residential areas

Mining companies are beginning to look to urban and residential areas for their operations. In southern Queensland, coal and coal seam gas explorations are causing community concern.

Guests:Sterling Hinchliffe, Queensland Mining Minister; David Pahlke, Councillor, Ipswich City Council; Jim Wiltshire, President, Toowoomba Coalmine Action Group.

ABC Radio National Breakfast (audio file)

Politicians push to protect 'sensitive' farmland

30 June 2011. Politicians are rushing to join the chorus of concern about the need to protect prime Australian farmland from mining, but not everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Alexandra Kirk, ABC news

Beyond reasonable doubt: respecting the science

30 June 2011. Since my appointment as Australia's Chief Scientist in late May I have inevitably been drawn into the debate surrounding climate change.Prof Ian Chubb, ABC Unleashed

Why the coal rush can't be ignored

29 June 2011. THE buy-up of some of Australia's most productive farmland by Chinese interests to mine for coal provides another window into an ever-growing chasm between rural and urban Australia.The fact that it is Chinese interests involved on the Liverpool Plains is irrelevant. The issue is not about nationality; it is about whether enough is being done to safeguard rural communities and the nation's long-term interest. Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Call from NSW government to halt foreign land grab for mining

29 June 2011. NSW will demand Julia Gillard review foreign buyouts of farms as pressure grows on her government to stop the rapid encroachment of mining into prime rural land.Siobhain Ryan, The Australian

Chinese land grab tests farming dynasties

28 June 2011. The buy-up of prime agricultural land by Chinese state interests sparked a furious political debate yesterday, with Coalition figures, including Liberal senator Bill Heffernan and independents such as Nick Xenophon, railing against the development. James Madden and Siobhain Ryan, The Australian

Chinese mine giant snaps up 43 NSW farms

27 June 2011. A CHINESE government-controlled mining giant has spent $213 million buying up 43 farms so it can explore for coal outside the NSW township of Gunnedah.Natasha Bita, The Australian

Climate Change: It's bad and getting worse

23 June 2011. Severe weather events are wracking the planet, and experts warn of even greater consequences to come. In depth report by Dahr Jamail, Aljazeera

Greens concerned at bias in coalmine assessment

25 June 2011. AN AGENCY hired by the Chinese coalmining company Shenhua to prepare independent environmental assessments for a proposed $40billion mine near Gunnedah has also been urging the state government to approve the mine, raising questions about its impartiality. Ben Cubby, SMH

Suburbs in revolt as mining exploration hits city limits

25 June 2011. AN intensifying "boom-lash" from the suburbs is forcing the resource states to crack down on mine development, as exploration creeps to within 500m of homes in Sydney and outside Brisbane.Rosanne Barrett & Jodie Minus, The Australian

Coal versus Hunter native title claims

25 June 2011. He is drawn on the cave wall in red ochre, his long arms are outspread in a protective embrace of the tribal territory and people of the valley. He has no mouth, as he talks from the heart. His name is Baiame and he is the creator, the great spirit of the Wonnarua - the first people of the Hunter Valley. Liesel Rickarby, Newcastle Herald

Coal vs cows: an ungodly row

25 June 2011. FIRST it was coal versus foals, now it's coal versus cows as a new mining battleground develops in the Hunter. Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald

Miners lose as frontline hits front lawn

23 June 2011. Score one to the little man in a battle that is raging from the coal and gas fields of central Queensland to the rolling pastures of the Darling Downs, west of Toowoomba, across the Hunter Valley in NSW - and even in the suburbs of Sydney. Rosanne Barrett, The Australian

Minister halts latest coal plans

22 June 2011. QUEENSLAND Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has stopped an exploration permit that would have meant coal exploration in urban areas around Toowoomba. Toowoomba Chronicle

Oakey opposes mine expansion

20 June 2011. At a town meeting on Friday night, more than 100 locals formed a coalition to protect Oakey and surrounding towns from the expanding interests of mining company New Hope Coal. Chris Calcino, Toowoomba Chronicle

Ocean heading for mass extinction, scientists warn

21 June 2011. Scientists are warning of a potential marine massacre with a mass extinction of sea life akin to the death of the dinosaurs. Sarah Dingle, ABC News

Everything taken by the mines

20 June 2011. TEN years after Lorna Densley's Acland home was swallowed up by coal mines, the wound has not yet healed. Chris Calcino, Toowoomba Chronicle

Warning: extreme weather ahead

13 June 2011. Tornados, wildfires, droughts and floods were once seen as freak conditions. But the environmental disasters now striking the world are shocking signs of 'global weirding'. John Vidal, The Guardian

Food price explosion 'will devastate the world's poor'

17 June 2011. Food prices will soar by as much as 30% over the next 10 years, the United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have predicted. Rupert Neate, The Guardian

Solar gets cheap fast

9 June 2011. There's a joke in the solar industry about when "grid parity" -- the time when solar becomes as cheap as fossil sources -- will happen. Stephen Lacey, Grist

Coal meets the last man standing

18 June 2011. At a time when Australia's mining industry is growing rapidly, Glenn Beutel's story touches a nerve. The question his life and his stand pose is how far Australia wants to go in pursuit of financial gain while destroying people's quality of life. Andrew Fraser, The Australian

State secretly carries torch for Chinese miner

18 June. THE NSW government has directed staff to help the Chinese miner Shenhua search for new coalmines south of Sydney. Ben Cubby, SMH

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!

24 May 2011. Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week's shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn't mean a thing. Bill McKibben, Washington Post

Watch this video which sets McKibben's words to striking footage.

Blasts blamed for Oakey shakes

9 June 2011. BLASTING at the open-cut coal mine in Acland is being blamed for a series of seemingly unexplainable happenings in Oakey on Tuesday. Toowoomba Chronicle

Fertile plains under frack attack

18 June 2011. Durum wheat is going head-to-head with coal seam gas in a battle over NSW's top agricultural region, writes Leonie Lamont, SMH.

Felton cautious over crop policy

31 May 2011. FRIENDS of Felton president Rob McCreath has welcomed the framework for the Strategic Cropping Land policy, but remains cautious about what it means for Ambre Energy's plans for the area. Toowoomba Chronicle

Focus falls on SCL slope criteria

1 June 2011. EARLY concerns about the implications of failing to meet just one of eight Strategic Cropping Lands (SCL) criteria have been raised by one Felton district producer. Graham Fuller, Qld Country Life

Natural gas is no climate change 'panacea', warns IEA

6 June 2011. Reliance on gas would lead the world to a 3.5C temperature rise, and out-of-control global warming, says new research. Fiona Harvey, The Guardian.

A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself

4 June 2011. CIUDAD OBREGÃN, Mexico - The dun wheat field spreading out at Ravi P. Singh's feet offered a possible clue to human destiny. Baked by a desert sun and deliberately starved of water, the plants were parched and nearly dead. Justin Gillis, New York Times.

Land values undermined

11 June 2011. Mandalong residents are finding it difficult to sell properties in their suburb and blame the area's coalmine for devaluing their land. Damon Cronshaw, Newcastle Herald.

CSG: a threat to us all

31 May 2011. The case against coal seam gas: Drew Hutton is a spokesman for Friends of the Earth and acting president of the Lock the Gate Alliance. SMH

Up a gum tree: Are koalas 'slipping to extinction'?

25 May 2011. Every gum tree contains a koala, or so most Australians assume. But complacency could be killing off the emblematic native animal, according to scientists, who want it listed as an endangered species. Kathy Marks, The Independent.

Council calls for law changes

23 May 2011. The Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor and councillors are calling for changes to State legislation to extinguish existing prospecting and mining leases close to townships. Toowoomba Chronicle.

Mayor vows to oppose mining

17 May 2011. IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale has vowed to fight shoulder to shoulder with his people if mining companies step up coal mining in the area. Peter Foley, Queensland Times.

Shutdown threat after well blows

24 May 2011. THE Queensland government has threatened to shut down one of the biggest coal seam gas operators in the state unless it can plausibly explain why a well in the state's southeast erupted. Andrew Fraser, The Australian.

Farmers demand coal seam gas ban after well blowout near Dalby

FARMERS and environmentalists are demanding a moratorium on the $60 billion coal seam gas industry after a well blowout near Dalby spewed potentially explosive methane and water 90m in the air.John McCarthy, Courier-Mail.

Climate change model? Just look at old Blighty

21 May 2011. Read it and weep. As Australian politics sinks deeper into a sleazy mire, making progress impossible, dear old Blighty - amid a crippling recession and austerity cuts - is lighting a path to a clean economy.Paddy Manning, SMH.

Chris Huhne pledges to halve UK carbon emissions by 2025

17 May 2011. The UK is to put in place the most ambitious targets on greenhouse gases of any developed country, by halving carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, after a tumultuous week of cabinet rifts on the issue. Fiona Harvey & Allegra Stratton, The Guardian.

Coal train visits Bank of America and Wells Fargo

15 May 2011. On Friday two bank branches in downtown Portland, one belonging to Bank of America and the other to Wells Fargo, were visited by around 30 activists concerned about the banks' investments in dirty energy projects. Nick Engelfried, It's Getting Hot in Here.

Farmers vent over CO2

18 May 2011. A farming community on Queensland's fertile Darling Downs says the state government is trumpeting a small saving in CO2 emissions while planning for a project that will emit 118 times as much. Channel 9 News. Sky News


Local clean energy, not coal exporting, is key to Northwest prosperity

8 May 2011. As we approach the twilight of the fossil fuel era, don't expect dirty energy to fade without a fight. Coal use in the United States has been declining for some time, but attempts are underway to revive the coal industry's fortunes by exporting American coal to feed the growth of China and other Asian economies.Trevor Winnie, Sustainable Business Oregon.

Corporate leaders in a climate of disbelief

7 May 2011. Scepticism hung heavy in the air. At a packed Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch on climate change, the institute's former chief executive, Ian Dunlop - a petroleum engineer who was a Shell executive and now is the deputy convener of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil - rose to put a question to keynote speaker, David Mortimer, the chairman of Leighton Holdings, the world's biggest contract coalminer. Paddy Manning, SMH.

The base-load myth

2 May 2011. To every complex problem there is a simplistic response, which is usually wrong. For instance, to the challenge of generating all of Australia's electricity from renewable energy, the deniers repeatedly utter the simplistic myth that renewable energy is intermittent and therefore cannot generate base-load (that is, 24-hour) power. Mark Diessendorf, Online Opinion

Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever

April 2011. The world is using up its natural resources at an alarming rate, and this has caused a permanent shift in their value.
We all need to adjust our behavior to this new environment. It would help if we did it quickly. Jeremy Grantham, GMO Quarterly Letter

Wine, gas, don't mix

3 May 2011. HUNTER winemaking legends and leaders have called for the vineyard region to be 'excised' from a coal seam gas exploration licence. Michelle Harris, Newcastle Herald.

Ambre dismisses claims

4 May 2011. MINING company Ambre Energy has dismissed as 'ridiculous' claims that it is trying to skirt around policies that would prevent it mining on the Darling Downs. Jim Campbell, Toowoomba Chronicle

Shire opts out of mining survey

21 April 2011. Cr Rush said the council had declined to take part because it objected to the methodology being employed, which assumed co-existence between mining and other land users 'was a given'. Dayarne Smith, Muswellbrook Chronicle

Felton Valley says 'we are protected'

23 April 2011.The project is simply unfeasible and Ambre Energy must now withdraw its proposal and take away the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over our community for over three years. Graham Fuller, Qld Country Life

Shale gas: is it as green as the oil companies say?

20 April 2011. At the heart of the shale gas 'sell' is the industry's analysis of a European Climate Foundation report - an analysis ECF rejects. Fiona Harvey, The Guardian.

Upper Hunter coal industry receives harsh report

15 April 2011. The NSW Minerals Council says it is surprised the Hunter Valley's coal industry has rated poorly in an independent community survey. ABC News

Coal seam gas: a sleight of hand?

11 April 2011. The resources industry has embarked on a new push for special exemptions from a carbon tax to ease the burden on coal mining and big gas exporters - AFR Monday April 11. This demand is imprudent and indeed unacceptable in view of the health and environmental impacts of these industries. David Shearman, ABC Unleashed

Slow-onset climate change a huge risk to food supply - FAO

8 April 2011. LONDON (AlertNet) - Failure to prepare for the impact of slow-onset climate changes could have catastrophic effects on food production, according to a new study by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Max Greene, Alertnet

Bob Irwin arrested at Tara CSG protest

14 April 2011. Channel Ten News video

Coal-Fired Conflict, USA

13 April 2011. The shift to a green economy, as we at CAP have long argued, is more than just investing in clean and efficient energy technologies in various industries - it is a transformation of the economy from one based on volatile, ever-risky fossil fuels to one that is more diversified, more sustainable, and more economically prosperous overall. But if the United States is serious about combating the perils of climate change through economic and environmental transformation, should we really be encouraging the export of American coal to Asian markets? Tom Kenworthy, Kate Gordon, Center for American Progress

White Energy Ends A$500 Mln Cascade Coal Acquisition Bid

12 April 2011. The cancellation raises questions about the prospects for major resource development in the world's largest coal exporter, amid growing conflict between mining companies and local farming groups over developing coal and gas.David Fickling, Dow Jones Newswires

Fertile areas face open-cut threat

9 April 2011. Like so many other rich agricultural regions in NSW, Bylong is now covered by exploration leases issued by the former Labor government is a desperate bid to rake in revenue. Paul Cleary, The Australian

Greens claim LNP now pro-mining

12 April 2011. THE sidelining of Ray Hopper from the LNP shadow ministry by Campbell Newman is a clear sign that the LNP will be pursuing a strong pro-coal and coal seam gas mining policy in the lead-up to the next state election. Toowoomba Chronicle

Mid-West calls for long view of mines

11 April 2011. Mid-Western Regional Council, NSW, has called on the State Government to look beyond the next 25 years when considering the effect of new coal mines on surrounding communities. Robyn Murray, Mudgee Guardian

10-year window to save reef: expert

4 April 2011. The Great Barrier Reef will be lost unless there is dramatic action to cut greenhouse gasses over the next 10 years, a climate change scientist warns. Sydney Morning Herald

Solar Power May Already Rival Coal, Prompting Installation Surge

6 April 2011. Solar panel installations may surge in the next two years as the cost of generating electricity from the sun rivals coal-fueled plants, industry executives and analysts said. <cite class="byline">Ehren Goossens, Bloomberg </cite>

Landholders must benefit from CSG: Seeney

8 April 2011. OPPOSITION Parlimentary Leader Jeff Seeney has staked his personal reputation on getting the rapidly developing coal seam gas (CSG) industry right, saying affected landholders must directly benefit from the industry. Queensland Country Life

Farmers fight mine for common

8 April 2011. Hunter Valley, NSW: RESIDENTS hope a legal stoush over Camberwell Common could prove a test case. Matt Carr, Newcastle Herald

Mining blast felt in china

30 March 2011. Hunter Valley, NSW: COAL giant Xstrata has paid for new crockery for Camberwell resident Deidre Olofsson after a massive mining blast smashed her old plates. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

"Friends" exchange blows with Ambre

7 April 2011. HE wanted to avoid a 'tit for tat' argument with protestors, but that was exactly what he got in the end. Troy Rowling, Queenland Country Life

Hunter town launches legal battle over mining

7 April 2011. Residents of the Hunter Valley township of Camberwell will take on the might of the mining industry and the state government in a classic David and Goliath battle to win back control of their village common. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

Maitland left off dust monitoring

4 April 2011. Hunter Valley, NSW: AIR quality monitors are neglecting Maitland and feeding perceptions that governments don't want to know about pollution from coal trains, a councillor says. Tim Connell, Newcastle Herald

Miners eye off Highfields area

1 April 2011. THE picturesque residential areas of Highfields, Cabarlah, Geham and Hampton are the latest to attract attention from mining exploration companies hunting for coal. Jim Campbell, Toowoomba Chronicle

Fossil fuels are far deadlier than nuclear power

23 March 2011. "There is no question," says Joseph Romm, an energy expert at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. "Nothing is worse than fossil fuels for killing people." Phil McKenna, New Scientist

Wind power in Spain reaches historic high

31 March 2011. MADRID - Wind power became Spain's main source of electricity for the first time ever this month, in a country renowned for its focus on renewable energy, the power-generating authority REE said Thursday. AFP

Drew Hutton arrested at Tara CSG protest

29 March 2011. Veteran environmental campaigner Drew Hutton has been arrested and charged after protesting against the coal seam gas industry on a property near Tara in southwest Queensland. Daniel Hurst, Sydney Morning Herald

New record for German renewable energy

25 March 2011. Wind turbines, hydroelectric plants, solar cells, and biogas digesters now provide nearly 17% of Germany's electricity. Paul Gipe,

Growcom warns on food security

17 March 2011. A peak body for growers says Australia could face a future of sausage sizzles without salads, if it doesn't ramp up efforts to protect fruit and vegetable production and establish a national food security body. AAP

Can the United States Feed China?

23 March 2011. For Americans, who live in a country that has been the world's breadbasket for more than half a century, a country that has never known food shortages or runaway food prices, the world is about to change. Like it or not, we are going to be sharing our grain harvest with the Chinese, no matter how much it raises our food prices. Lester R Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Aboriginal stone site feared wrecked

25 March 2011. Landowners and an Aboriginal tribesman say they fear a Queensland coal seam gas company has destroyed parts of a sacred stone site west of Brisbane. AAP

Japan's horror reveals how thin is the edge we live on

18 March 2011. Climate change may not be responsible for the tsunami, but it is shrinking our margin of safety. It is time to shrink back ourselves. Bill McKibben, The Guardian

Deadly heatwaves will be more frequent in coming decades, say scientists

17 March 2011. 'Mega-heatwaves' like the one estimated to have killed tens of thousands in western Europe in 2003 will become up to 10 times more likely over the next 40 years, a study suggests. Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Miner defends development fund

23 March 2011. Ambre Energy denies a development fund it is setting up is an attempt to buy community support. ABC 612 Brisbane

Hundreds protest against potential impacts of coal mining

21 March 2011. More than 1,000 people from across the state have gathered in Sydney to protest against coal mining and coal seam gas exploration. ABC News

NSW Coal talks

11 March 2011. IT was the loudest of four forums on the new NSW coal and gas strategy scoping paper and Minister for Planning Tony Kelly would have no doubt about community concerns. Di Sneddon, Singleton Argus

Coal mining hurts health, Forum

17 March. THE scariest thing about Wendy Bowman's tale of coal mining, ruined businesses and farms, poor health and her ongoing fight with the mining companies was it was happening again right in the Darling Downs. Callum Johnson, Toowoomba Chronicle

Doctor says health concerns must be put before coal

14 March 2011. A doctor who specialises in industrial pollution and how it affects people's health says he has serious concerns about open cut mine developments in Australia. ABC News

Big Coal: A burning economic and health issue

17 March 2011. Coal has powered a welcome evolution of society, but as the ill-effects of burning coal have become increasingly apparent, so too it seems, has the temptation to neglect the real costs including the ill health conferred on millions. David Shearman, The Punch

Ambre Energy Drops U.S. West Coast Port Permit After Complaints

17 March 2011. Ambre Energy Ltd said it will surrender a permit to build a coal export terminal in Washington state after opponents said the proposal failed to disclose the full scope of the project. Jim Efstathiou Jr, Bloomberg

Ag land mine

10 March 2011. THEY were loud and they were angry. But it was only a dress rehearsal for this Sunday. More than 300 protesters concerned for the future of agriculture and rural communities from the looming threat of mining gathered at the LNP shadow community cabinet meeting in Toowoomba at the weekend.Troy Rowling, Queensland Country Life

Let them eat coal? Time to talk about food security

1 March 2011. The government has a choice: let mining, climate change and urban sprawl overrun agriculture, or devise a plan to protect the lands that nourish the state. Debra Jopson, Sydney Morning Herald

Now miners want Gowrie

4 March 2011. GOWRIE Junction is the latest community to transform its kitchen tables into battle stations.Troy Rowling, Queensland Country Life

Droughts, Floods and Food

6 Feb 2011. We're in the midst of a global food crisis - the second in three years. Paul Krugman, New York Times

Middle East unrest adds to pressure on world food prices

22 Feb 2011. If the revolts in Egypt and Libya spread further, we can expect spikes not just in oil prices - but in the cost of food as well. Jonathon Watts, The Guardian

Fears over gas drilling more than hot air

22 Feb 2011. Last night's ABC Four Corners program on coal seam gas can be a first important step in reform to protect the public's health. David Shearman, ABC Unleashed

The New Frontier in Challenging Coal: Preventing Massive Coal Exports to Asia

Australian based Ambre Energy, and their partners Millennium Bulk Logistics and Arch Coal, want to ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming along railroads through the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. They seek to build massive terminals in Washington to unload the coal and ship to markets in Asia. Sierra Club

Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts

17 Feb 2011. Without major reductions in the use of fossil fuels, as much as two-thirds of the world's gigantic storehouse of frozen carbon could be released, a new study reported. That would push global temperatures several degrees higher, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable.Stephen Leahy, IPS

Council backs mine protest

21 Feb 2011. RESIDENTS of Gowrie Junction are marshalling their resources to fight a mining invasion, but Toowoomba mayor Peter Taylor says although it supports the objections, the regional council is powerless to stop it from going ahead. Marion Raats, Toowoomba Chronicle

Study links extreme weather to climate change

17 Feb 2011. Two independent studies suggest greenhouse gas emissions are linked to more frequent heavy rainfall. David Mark and Darren Osborne, ABC News

Coal's hidden costs top $345 billion in U.S.: study

16 Feb 2011. (Reuters) - The United States' reliance on coal to generate almost half of its electricity, costs the economy about $345 billion a year in hidden expenses not borne by miners or utilities, including health problems in mining communities and pollution around power plants, a study found. Scott Malone,

Group claims Ambre subsidiary misrepresented scope of coal project

15 Feb 2011. Opponents of a proposed Longview coal terminal demanded Tuesday that Cowlitz County commissioners rescind a permit for its construction following allegations that Millennium Bulk Logistics may have misled officials about its plans for the facility. Barbara LaBoe and Tony Lystra, The Daily News

In Northwest USA, a Clash Over a Coal Operation

14 Feb 2011. A plan to build the United States' first West Coast facility for exporting coal to Asia has come under increased scrutiny after the disclosure of documents suggesting that the company proposing the project did not convey the full scope of its plans to state regulators in Washington.William Yardley, New York Times

Report recommends national food security agency

5 Feb 2011. The Federal Government is being urged to set up a National Food Security Agency to help reverse declining agricultural productivity.Simon Cullen, ABC News

How extreme weather could create a global food crisis

4 Feb 2011. 2010 was among the hottest and wettest years on record - we are entering a period of climate and food insecurity. Joseph Romm, The Guardian.

China hungry for local food assets

31 Jan 2011. CHINA is gearing up for a multi-billion-dollar investment push into the Australian agricultural sector to secure food supplies after a senior official admitted the country would face pressure supplying farm produce to its 1.3 billion people over the next five years. Michael Sainsbury, The Australian.

New Hope plans to truck extra 50,000t/week

3 Feb 2011. New Hope has now applied to the state government to truck up to 50,000 tonnes of coal a week to the West Moreton mine, which has rail access to the port. Matt Chambers, The Australian

Tackle Big Coal at your own risk

3 Feb 2011. As alarm among scientists about runaway global warming intensifies so do efforts by the coal industry and its backers in government to stifle citizen protests. Clive Hamilton, The Age

Mining threatens Toowoomba suburbs

3 Feb 2011. GOWRIE Junction shapes as the next Darling Downs town to be wiped off the map by Queensland's insatiable coal industry. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

More natural disasters on the radar

23 Jan 2011. An expert says Australia will see a higher incidence of extreme weather events like the flooding in Queensland. Francis Tapim, ABC News

Mine cracks drain dam water

30 Jan 2011. A CONTROVERSIAL underground coal mine has been blamed for draining about 30 billion litres of water from one of Sydney's biggest dams. Linda Silmalis & Tony Vermeer, Sunday Telegraph

King Coal's reign treads on grapes

29 Jan 2011. A David versus Goliath battle in the Upper Hunter has the wine industry fighting for survival amid the ever-expanding coal giants. Donna Page, Newcastle Herald

Kingaroy celebrates end of Cougar UCG plant

28 Jan 2011. The company might be disappointed but the people of Kingaroy are celebrating the end of Cougar's bid to establish an underground coal gasification (UCG) plant in their region. Ninemsm

Coal operations on hold

22 Jan 2011. All of the region's three major mines - Wilkie Creek, Acland and Cameby Downs - have experienced some level of inundation during the past month. John Farmer, Toowomba Chronicle

Miners push to pump toxins into rivers

22 Jan 2011. THE coal industry wants the State to suspend environmental regulations to allow 44 mines to pump contaminated floodwater into creeks and rivers.Brian Williams, Courier-Mail

The Great Food Crisis of 2011

14 Jan 2011. Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

NSW opposition lets miners write lands policy

20 Jan 2011.THE NSW state opposition has allowed the mining industry to rewrite parts of its regional land use policy, deleting commitments to toughen regulatory compliance on miners, leaked documents reveal. Heath Aston, SMH

Mining blasts give Upper Hunter the shakes

20 Jan 2011. Upper Hunter residents are experiencing mining blasts as powerful as small earthquakes several times a week, independent seismological data shows. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald

Emptying Queensland's flooded mines

20/1/11. The term unprecedented has been a popular descriptor for the devastation that Queensland has experienced over the past few weeks. Daniel Franks, ABC Unleashed

$2.3b loss crushes coalmine industry

18/1/11. THE state's coal industry has lost $2.3 billion in sales and a quarter of the mines are yet to resume normal operations. Sophie Foster, Courier-Mail

Creeping tide set to drown our coast

8/1/11. QUEENSLANDERS had a glimpse of the future this week when 23 towns and cities were swallowed by floodwaters. Des Houghton, Courier-Mail

Drowning in a hothouse

14/1/11. Floods of this kind can't be beaten, only curtailed by serious, long-term solutions. Ian Lowe, SMH

Scientists: Climate Change No Longer a Theory, It's Happening

14/1/11.The pictures today from around the world of dramatic rooftop rescues from raging waters, makes it seem as though natural disasters are becoming an everyday occurrence. But they're not all that natural; climate scientists say man-made global warming is the sudden force behind the forces of nature. Joe Romm, Climate Progress

Dawson River floods Baralaba mine

Jan 2011. Watch the Dawson River pour into the Baralaba mine, Central Qld. YouTube video

Inundated coal mines pump residue-tainted water into the floods

7/1/11. FLOODED mines in Queensland are being allowed to discharge water in the hope the size of the floods will dilute any damaging residues. Courier-Mail

Polluted water under investigation

6/1/11. ENVIRONMENTAL authorities are investigating the flow of black coal-fouled water through mangroves and a waterway at Hay Point and into the sea at Dalrymple Bay. Brian Mckean, Mackay Daily Mercury

Coal supply at a critical point

7/1/11. COAL stockpiles have dwindled to a critical level and it's unclear when they will be replenished as flooding brings Central Queensland's multi-billion dollar industry to a near standstill. Melissa Grant, Mackay Daily Mercury

Floods cost grows as waters continue to rise

1/1/11. DEVASTATING floods, inundating an area the size of France and Germany and costing the economy $6 billion are set to worsen over the weekend with 22 Queensland communities isolated. Adam Carey, Brisbane Times

Floods Make Felton Project A Disaster Waiting To Happen, Say Critics

4/1/11. RECENT FLOODING at Felton shows the proposed  Ambre Energy's coal-to-fuel project is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, the Friends of Felton group claims. Miles Noller,

Flooding renews Felton mine fight

6/1/11. RECENT widespread flooding in the Felton Valley has added to the concern of property owners fighting against a proposed petrochemical plant. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

Climate expert says more extreme weather likely

31/12/10. Nobel prize-winning scientist David Karoly says Australia's current extreme weather is evidence of climate change. ABC News video

The deadly decade

31/12/10. The past 10 years have been the hottest since measurements began, and climate scientists have long warned of the extreme weather still to come. Adam Morton, SMH

Coal Ash and Mercury: why coal is a health hazard

22/12/10. With 15 new power stations planned or approved for Australia, the Prime Minister has assured us that we will ''never again have a dirty power station built''.  David Shearman & Mariann Lloyd-Smith, ABC Unleashed

Coal project our latest cash pit

18/12/10. THE State Government has done it again – wasting our money on a half-baked scheme to make coal environmentally friendly. Patrick Lion, The Sunday Mail

Chief quits clean coal project, citing inaction

21/12/10. THE internationally renowned scientist recruited by the Queensland government to head its clean coal research has resigned. Andrew Fraser, The Australian

Cost blowout hits clean coal vision

20/12/10. AUSTRALIA'S hopes to lead the world in generating "clean" electricity from coal have taken a hammering. Jamie Walker, The Australian

Residents have coal dust win

15/12/10. TOOWOOMBA residents fed up with dust coming from the thousands of coal trucks passing through the city had a win in council yesterday. Jim Campbell, Toowoomba Chronicle

Qld land access laws 'draconian': Qld Council for Civil Liberties

26/11/10. Steve Gray, Sydney Morning Herald

Court opens up land to miners: lawyer

26/11/10. Lawyer Peter Shannon blasts new land access law. Steve Gray, Sydney Morning Herald

23/11/10. Fran Kelly interviews FOF's Rob McCreath on Radio National Breakfast


3.6 M

Barrier reef under threat from rising carbon emissions

28/11/10. Jane Southward, Sydney Morning Herald.

Queensland landowners refuse access to coal and gas giants

21/11/10. Daryl Passmore, Sunday Mail.

Qld coal production to rise 80 per cent

24/11/10. Sydney Morning Herald.

Climate change and disease will spark new food crisis, says UN

18/11/10. Sean O'Grady, Independent on Sunday.

Drillham landholders say 'bugger off' to mining companies

19/11/10. Mark Phelps, Qld Country Life.

Land use fury takes another steep turn

18/11/10. Qld Country Life.

UAE, Australia and U.S. top list of carbon emitters

16/11/10. Reuters.

Usual suspects fuel the refuseniks

13/11/10. Paddy Manning, Sydney Morning Herald.

End this 'criminal' coal mining greed: Brown

14/11/10. Courtney Trenwith, Sydney Morning Herald.

The coal bosses' plan: mine coal, sell coal, repeat until rich

14/11/10. Guy Pearse, Sydney Morning Herald.

Climate change hurting China's grain crop: report

7/11/10. The Independent on Sunday.

'Something Big' behind Queensland's ClimateSmart spin

8/11/10. Guy Pearse, ABC Unleashed

Qld farmers lock the gate to coal & gas companies

2/11/10. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail.

Sam Burgess, Arlie Douglas, Robin McConchie - ABC (incl audio)

Toowoomba Chronicle

Kym Agius, Sydney Morning Herald

Petrina Berry, Channel Nine News online.

Queensland getting hotter: report

28/10/10. David Barbeler, Sydney Morning Herald.

Competing demands of food and mining leave us with lots to chew over

19/10/10. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail.

Cancer chemical found at western Queensland gas site

20/10/10. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail.

Australia lags trading nations on carbon price

19/10/10. Lenore Taylor, Sydney Morning Herald.

Ambre reveal plan to mine below the level of Hodgson Creek

7/10/10. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle.

Time to clear the coaldust

28/9/10. Editorial, Newcastle Herald

Half of NSW's dust comes from Hunter Valley coal centres

28/9/10. Matthew Kelly, Newcastle Herald.

Fresh food prices could soar

28/9/10. Toni Crisp, ABC News online.

Cover-up: secret plans to mine gas around Sydney

23/9/10. Ben Cubby, Sydney Morning Herald

Climate policy in a spin as mining giants fan heated debate

25/9/10. Kerrie Sinclair, Courier-Mail

The Race to Feed the Planet

20/9/10. Series on world hunger, Der Spiegel

LNG demand worries

18/9/10. Matt Chambers, The Australian

Govt rejects Cougar Energy UCG environmental report

30/8/10. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail

Debate continues over new mining laws

27/8/10. Francine Norton, ABC TV Stateline (video & transcript)

Ambre: "nonsense"

25/8/10. Jane Chudleigh,

"Vast Area" locked up

25/8/10. John McCarthy, Courier Mail

Move to save farmland cheered

24/8/10. John McCarthy, Courier-Mail

New Policy Crucial

25/8/10. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle

Glenn Beutel - Last man in Acland

23/8/10. Peter Hackney

Zero Carbon Australia launch

12/8/10. ABC News, Sara Philips, ABC Environment, Ben Cubby SMH

Paddy Manning, SMH - 'Zero carbon plan better than two zero credibility choices'

Cloncurry in the dark over solar

13/8/10. Peter Michael Courier-Mail

Cloncurry Solar stalls

12/8/10. Peter Michael Courier-Mail

Victorian wind farm biggest in southern hemisphere

13/8/10. Adam Morton Sydney Morning Herald

Felton Protest Mining Statement

10/8/10. Jane Chudleigh

Bob Brown at Acland

9/8/10. Channel 9 News video

Hundreds rally at Parliament

4/8/10. Channel 10 video Channel 9 video Channel 7 video ABC News video

Friends of Felton Election Forum

4/8/10. Jane Chudleigh,

ABC Rural Report, Arlie Douglas interview with FOF's Rob McCreath - audio

UCG project leaves Kingaroy in limbo

24/7/10. Paul Weston, Sunday Mail report

Germany's green light for energy

14/7/10. Matthew Murphy, The Age report

Kingaroy UCG plant shut down

16/7/10. Ursula Heger, Courier-Mail report

The heat is on for change: coal

10/7/10. David Shearman (Opinion), The Australian here

Climate storm for investors

12/7/10. Paul Gilding, Cockatoo Chronicles report here

Gillard fiddles while the country burns

10/7/10. Paddy Manning, Sydney Morning Herald report here

Brown vows to block Felton mine

7/7/10. Sam Burgess, ABC report here

Greens leader to fight Felton mine

7/7/10. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle report here

Lithgow residents health carries cost of coal boom

5/6/10. Mattew Benns, Sydney Morning Herald report here

100% renewable energy possible by 2020

22/6/10. Tom Arup, Sydney Morning Herald report here

Mayor defends Council

29/6/10. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle report here

Acland in the New York Times

29/6/10. Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times report here

Take action on bauxite plan

25/6/2010. John Farmer, Toowoomba Chronicle article here.

Bauxite mine for Toowoomba?

25/6/2010. John Farmer & Jim Campbell, Toowoomba Chronicle article here

Wildlife - collateral damage?

25/6/2010. Des Houghton, Courier-Mail article here.

100% green energy possible by 2020

22/6/2010. ABC News report here

No Royalties on Freehold Felton

18/6/10. Jane Chudleigh

Queensland: Home of the big rubber stamp

16/6/2010.Drew Hutton - article here.

Protesters ambush Premier

Toowoomba Chronicle report here

Qld Govt funding 'clean coal' rather than solar.

Courier Mail report here

Hidden costs of electricity

Felton gives miners cold shoulder

No royalties for Govt at Felton

FOF vow to maintain rage

Heat is on - CSIRO & BOM

Talks boost hopes for future of Felton

Would you like to fry with that?

Mines charged with contaminating waterways,,26704011-5003402,00.html

MPs, public servants face different rules over cruise dinner,23739,26643618-3102,00.html

Ministers secret luxury dinner with Gina Reinhart,23739,26639654-952,00.html

Farmers held hostage by mining plans

Elves & farmers confront Bligh over farmland

Coal industry threatening farms in Qld

Miner set to dig deep for bauxite

Protest Group Urges Council to Speak Up

Chinese Miner Wants Our Coal