Feb 20, 2012

Food security v energy security: land use conflict and the law

The issue? Mining coal seam gas in agricultural areas. The conflict? Balancing food security and energy security, writes FAQ Research's Dr Tina Hunter.

It’s election time … you’re at the local café, reading the paper, while you sip on a caramel latte and a lovely serve of bacon and eggs on wholegrain toast … sounds like the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. However, everything that you have in front of you — including the printing of the paper, the delivery of the food to your cafe, and the gas that cooked your food and heated the water for the coffee, is the subject of huge conflict at present.

The issue? Mining coal seam gas in agricultural areas. The conflict? Balancing food security and energy security.

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2 thoughts on “Food security v energy security: land use conflict and the law

  1. michael crook

    Coal seam gas has nothing to do with our energy security, it is all to do with the gold rush mentality of making a dollar as quickly as possible. It employs very very few, and even less when the LNG plants are up and running. With the environmental damage, especially to Gladstone Harbour now matching that of the effected farmlands it becomes very very difficult to see a net beneift to Australia from this industry. How long it will take the land and world heritage waterways to recover? Maybe never. This is a toxic industry that needs to be stopped dead in its tracks before more damage occurs, ask UNESCO when they come to Gladstone in two weeks time what they think!!

  2. [email protected]

    What superficial city-centric nonsense. What “important” jobs? This emerging industry currently uses mainly a small number of unskilled and semi-skilled workers with little training on the job and only an even small number of on-site specialists. Ask the people who live and work in areas where CSG extraction is occurring. And what “declining” economy? The manufacturing sector may be in trouble but that is nothing new. It has been in trouble for more than two decades. However, there is no sign of a “declining” economy. Unemployment is at its lowest for decades and the population is more highly educated than in previous decades. Many of the new jobs in Australia are in export industries based around knowledge transfer not just around commodities and even more job growth can be found surprisingly in the Arts. As for coal seam gas being linked to energy security, the reality is the opposite. Its excessive use of vital resources like water and sand and the take-over of key areas of high quality arable farming and grazing land make it a high risk venture at best and a potential financial and environmental disaster at worst. The excessively rapid growth of the fledgling CSG industry in Australia is an unproven, high risk strategy by debt ridden and cash hungry governments. It is too big a gamble to be allowed to proceed without much better information and independent research. Do it!

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