KC’s environment reporter recently travelled through the Galilee Basin, not in the Holy Land but in sunny central Queensland, which locals call Godzone anyway. They’re riding the gravy train of a coal export boom, or rather kilometres long coal trains transporting the black gold to Gladstone for shipping. The countryside is peppered with coal gas exploration rigs too.
The town of Emerald, 260 kms west of Rockhampton, is emblematic of new country affluence, with city real estate prices, housing shortages, new Olympic swimming pool, supermarkets full of gourmet foodstuffs and brand new cars for all.
Planned expansion of coal mines in the Basin and port facilities to massively increase current output are staggering. Unfortunately this prosperity and magnate-enrichment comes at life-threatening cost to the planet and particularly the Great Barrier Reef if port development goes ahead.
Queensland, and the rest of Orstralia, are oblivious or don’t give a stuff. Greenpeace has an entertaining take on this existential challenge.