Beyond the Coal Rush on ABC Radio National

25 Aug 2016 | Australia

The Coal Rush and Beyond hits the radio waves in a three-part series on the Science Show on ABC Radio National.

“If we burned all of the coal in the ground, the planet is cooked. It would result in global warming of tens of degrees, sea level rise of tens of metres. We just can’t do that.”

— James Hansen, former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

“If you’re going to be called a developed nation, that will be require a lot of power. Until an alternative becomes available, we’ll continue to bank on coal. It’s not by choice. It’s by compulsion. There is no other option but to bank on coal.”

— Anil Swarup, Secretary of India’s Ministry of Coal.

Coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change: 46% of global emissions.

If we want to avoid cooking the planet, more than 80% of the world’s remaining coal reserves have to stay in the ground.

But countries like India argue they have no choice but to burn even more coal to bring electricity to the 300 million Indians currently living without it.

India’s former Environment Minister Jairem Ramesh calls it his country’s “cruel coal conundrum”.

Beyond the Coal Rush explores our global coal conundrum, through the eyes of communities on three continents.

In the central Indian state of Chattisgarh, in Lusatia (Lausitz) in Eastern Germany, and on Australia’s Liverpool Plains, local people are fighting to save their fields, their forests, and their way of life from the relentless march of coal.

These local struggles are the frontline in a global contest over the future of coal: one that will shape the future of our planet.

Beyond the Coal Rush is written and produced by Tom Morton, for the Science Show and the ARC Discovery Project The Coal Rush and Beyond.