The proposals of the planned Esso plant to vent CO2 waste direct to the atmosphere — along with other proposals for the development of coal seam gas, shale oil and brown coal — are bordering on the absurd.
Recent comments by both Robert Kennedy Jnr and James Hansen of NASA have implied that to embark on any proposal of this kind that exacerbates an already critical position of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a criminal activity.
Late last year Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales stated “if we fully develop all the world’s coal, tar sands, shales and other fossil fuels we run a high risk of ending up in a few generations with a largely uninhabitable planet”. (New Scientist 17/11, 2012)
Unfortunately the mining giants, along with their bankers, insurers and political acolytes, seem hell bent on development regardless of all the warnings given by climate scientists.
At the very least these investments will eventually become stranded assets.
It is likely these companies and their employees will eventually face class actions in the courts similar to that faced by tobacco and asbestos companies today.
And it is possible they may someday appear in the same location facing charges of a criminal kind.