18 Jan 2011

Big coal caused big floods in Australia, according to Bob Brown

Coal barons should help pay for catastrophes - Brown

Media Release

Sunday 16th January 2011

The full tax on excess profits by the coal mining industry, as recommended by Treasury, should be imposed with half set aside for future natural catastrophes in Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

"It is unfair that the cost is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits," Senator Brown said.

"Burning coal is a major cause of global warming. This industry, which is 75% owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades. As well, 700,000 seaside properties in Australia face rising sea levels."

"A Goldman Sachs study found that the reduction in the mining super tax agreed by the current Labor government (the coalition opposes the mining tax) would cost Australians $35 billion in forgone revenue to 2019-20."

"Scientists agree that current floods come from record-high temperatures of Australian oceans this season."

"We also ask insurers to show some compassion to Queensland's flood victims, and to others who face loss as wild weather besets the country. Many people believe they have flood cover and, if not, the fine print should have been disclosed to them."


17 January 2011

The Role of Global Warming

After the hottest and wettest year in recorded history, the seas off

northern Australia are also currently warmer than ever before. This

heat has led to increased evaporation and so, rainfall.

Sceptics and defenders of the coal industry may dispute this scientific

data, but they don't. Instead, they are arguing that there should be no

debate - not, at least, until some undefined time in the future when the

cataclysm has passed and its injuries are behind us.

A week after the "inland tsunami" struck the Toowoomba region, with the

flood crest having passed in Brisbane, and Rockhampton beginning to

recover, Australia's newspapers are now carrying letters expressing

frustration at the absence of debate on the causes of the floods across

the nation and, indeed, in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Like the drought, heatwaves and bushfires these floods are predictable

calamities and worse is in store as the planet is heated by human


We may collectively choose to do nothing about the rapidly increasing of

burning of coal, here and overseas, from coal being mined in Australia

by wealthy corporations largely owned overseas. However, that choice

should not be made without informed debate. If there is a later time

better for this crucial debate to begin, let the critics name it.

Bob Brown

Australian Greens Leader


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