Carmichael Mine Approval

CAH Media Release 30th July 2014

Carmichael Mine Shows Abbott Government is a ‘Leaner’ on Climate Change

Australia’s Environment Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, has just approved the largest coal mine in Australia’s history. The Carmichael Mine is one in a series of massive coal mines planned for Queensland’s Galilee basin. This one mine alone will produce 60 million tonnes of coal every year for 65 years – with profits and coal both for export to India. This is not just a Queensland issue – it is vital to us all.

Climate Action Hobart spokesperson, Margaret Steadman, said “This is an act of wanton vandalism by the man charged with protecting Australia’s environment. Does the Minister imagine that his 36 ‘strict’ environmental conditions, which focus mostly on groundwater and not a single one on climate change, will somehow compensate for the release of over six billion tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution over the life of this one mine?” 

The Carmichael mine will produce over 100 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution, every year, for 65 years, amounting to over 6 billion tonnes over its projected life. Six billion tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution is equivalent to almost 20% of the world’s current annual total of greenhouse gas pollution, while 100 million tonnes per year is equivalent to a little less than 20% of Australia’s total annual greenhouse gas pollution from all sources.

These emissions – regardless of whether they occur in India, Queensland or anywhere else – will further and dangerously destabilise our shared climate system. That system has already been pushed far beyond the safe boundaries it has 
occupied for almost the last million years.  Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere varied between less than 200 parts per million at the bottom of Ice Ages, to not more than 300 ppm during the warmest periods in-between. Yet today the world is at 400 ppm and rising fast.

“Acts like the approval of the Carmichael mine by Australia’s Environment Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, amount to the most dangerous form of climate denial – and that is to act as if climate change was not, in fact, the single largest threat to 
our future welfare as a nation, and to continue polluting regardless.”

“Despite being one of the largest per-capita polluters in the world, Australia is leaning on the efforts of others while refusing to do any heavy lifting on climate change. We risk to become a global pariah”, said Ms Steadman. 
Australia is already suffering from the impacts of uncontrolled greenhouse gas pollution – with new record temperatures being set almost annually, record heatwaves, and massively destructive wildfires claiming Australian lives.  Approving new coal mines today is akin to approving new asbestos mines, in the full knowledge that asbestos is an inherently dangerous product.

Climate Action Hobart calls on the Abbott Government to:
· end its campaign of destruction of sound climate policies and institutions;
· rescind the environmental approval of the Carmichael mine, and approve no new coal mines in Australia;
· assist workers in the fossil fuel industries to transition to jobs that are not destructive of our environment;
· support the growth of the already 45,000 jobs that have been created in Australia’s clean energy sector, by lifting rather than cutting Australia’s renewable energy target;
· engage genuinely with the international community to strengthen global abatement targets.

Media contacts: 
Margaret Steadman
Phil Harrington