The Guardian protests giant carbon projects

In an email on May 15th, 2015, James Randerson of the Guardian introduced their interactive project on “global carbon bombs” as part of their Keep it in the Ground campaign. He says:

These are 14 giant proposed fossil fuel projects around the world. The numbers are staggering. If they go ahead, these projects will lead to the emission of 6.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2020. That is as much as the entire US emits annually.

In the first, our Australia environment specialist Oliver Milman visits the Galilee basin in Queensland. The plans here are truly colossal. Developers hope to establish a series of mines to exploit a deposit of 247,000 sq km (95,400 sq miles) of coal: a land mass the size of Britain. If the complex is fully developed, CO2 emissions from the burned coal would top 700m tonnes a year. That would mean a CO2 output just behind Germany. There are also concerns that the project will also impact the Great Barrier Reef because of the risks posed by increased shipping to export the coal. We have established that the Australian government has engaged in a frantic diplomatic push to avoid the Great Barrier Reef being listed as “in danger” by the UN.

Preventing the Galilee basin coal mines and other projects from going ahead is the front line of efforts to Keep it in the Ground and prevent dangerous climate change.

Great Barrier Reef II, batik on silk by Mary Edna Fraser, 105.5" x 44.5"

Great Barrier Reef II, batik on silk by Mary Edna Fraser, 105.5″ x 44.5″

Over the coming weeks we will profile four more of these carbon bombs in Canada, China, Brazil, the Arctic.

On a more positive note, this week we reported on some promising new solar technology being developed by a Swedish company in South Africa. It combines sleek 100 square metre mirrored dishes with technology first developed by a 19th century Scottish engineer and clergyman – plus some added Swedish military know-how. Its developers say it is close to commercialisation and is the most efficient solar technology anywhere in the world. We’ll keep an eye on whether it lives up to promise.

And…back to next week. Both the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation say they carefully scrutinise the companies they invest in. Next week we will take a careful look at the social and environmental record of some of those companies and share the results. Watch this space.

Best wishes,

James Randerson, Guardian assistant national editor

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