Jesuit Social Services has voiced its opposition to the Carmichael coal project by joining the Stop Adani Alliance, and called on other community sector organisations to advocate against the project.
‘We recognise that social and environmental justice are inextricably linked, and are committed to ecological justice’, says Jesuit Social Services Acting CEO Sally Parnell. ‘This project would have substantially negative climate impacts including significant damage to the Great Barrier Reef. The estimated carbon emissions associated with the project — 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas – are morally, politically and practically unacceptable.
‘Jesuit Social Services has 40 years of experience working with disadvantaged people and communities and it is clear that climate risks such as those posed by the Adani coal mine will impact most heavily on individuals and communities at risk of or experiencing marginalisation.’
The Stop Adani Alliance comprises a number of organisations who stand opposed to the Adani coal mine, rail and port project because it will fuel catastrophic climate change, jeopardise land, water, and reef, and harm Indigenous culture.
Parnell points to Pope Francis’ call for ‘swift and unified global action’ in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, and says all community organisations, not just those focused on environment, must play their role in addressing harm caused by human activity. ‘We want sustainable communities for ourselves and future generations so it is vital that the Adani project is stopped before it causes irreversible damage’, she adds.
Australia is already the world’s largest coal exporter and the proposed Adani mine will only increase the country’s carbon burden. Ecological justice requires awareness and action around the impact of climate change on those communities least responsible and least prepared for the consequences and risks.
Australia has an obligation to neighbours more vulnerable to climate risk, such as the islands in the South Pacific, where climate refugees are already a topic of international policy discussions on refugees and human security.
In the encyclical, Pope Francis writes ‘We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels — especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas — has to be progressively replaced without delay’.
Parnell says Jesuit Social Services fiercely opposes the expansion of coal mines in Australia. ‘We believe society must move away from fossil fuels and transition towards renewable energy sources.’