The Coal Curse: Resources, climate and Australia’s future (Quarterly Essay 78) by Judith Brett

Reviewed by
September 2020, no. 424
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Cameron Muir reviews 'The Coal Curse: Resources, climate and Australia’s future (Quarterly Essay 78)' by Judith Brett

The Coal Curse: Resources, climate and Australia’s future (Quarterly Essay 78)

by Judith Brett

Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 136 pp

Buy this book

The Coal Curse: Resources, climate and Australia’s future (Quarterly Essay 78) by Judith Brett

Reviewed by
September 2020, no. 424

The dual crises of the recent bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed structural weakness in Australia’s economy. Our export income is dominated by a few commodities, with coal and gas near the top, the production of which employs relatively few people (only around 1.9 per cent of the workforce is employed in mining). The unprecedented fires, exacerbated by a warming climate, were a visceral demonstration that fossil fuels have no role in an environmentally and socially secure future. Global investors are abandoning coal and, in some cases, Australia. Meanwhile, industries that generate many jobs – education, tourism, hospitality, arts, and entertainment – have been hit hard by efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.

Cameron Muir reviews 'The Coal Curse: Resources, climate and Australia’s future (Quarterly Essay 78)' by Judith Brett

The Coal Curse: Resources, climate and Australia’s future (Quarterly Essay 78)

by Judith Brett

Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 136 pp

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comment (1)

  • What a chilling review! The last two paragraphs are especially dire. Cameron Muir's reference to "those who, like Brett, care about preventing what she calls the ‘catastrophic fires and heatwaves the scientists predict’..." makes it sound as though he is referring to an obscure club of eccentrics who might just as well be concerned with some minor matter of aesthetics as a threat to our survival as a species. Judith Brett is distinguished among most academics as she has actively engaged with climate activism; most are content to watch on as though the event is an abstraction of no more interest than an intellectual puzzle. This review is more of the same.
    Posted by Patrick Hockey
    30 September 2020

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