Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

#COP21: Carmichael Coal Mine Emissions Undo Australia’s Pledges to Cut Emissions

Australia flag by Lee Bailey

While nations make ambitious pledges to reduce emissions at the Paris climate talks, new analysis shows that the Turnbull government’s recent approval of the huge Adani Carmichael mine will generate emissions over 200 per cent higher than Australia’s planned reductions for the period 2012-2025 and negate almost all of Australia’s pledged post-2020 emissions.

A research paper published today, Carmichael vs INDCs: How one Australian coal mine could undo the work of nations calculates that the Carmichael mine could see an increase in global emissions:

– Greater than the planned emission cuts of Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Mexico and Canada between 2012 and 2025

– Similar to the reduction targets of Japan and South Korea in the same period

The research, by Adam Walters of Energy & Resource Insights, explores the impact of Australia’s decision to approve the Carmichael coal mine on the efforts of nations to avert a ruinous temperature rise by seeking to reach a universal and binding climate agreement at the 21st UNFCCC Council of Parties (COP) meeting in Paris in December. It compares emissions associated with the mine, including burning its coal, to the pledged commitments of nations (excluding land use, land use change and forestry; LULUCF)

Adani’s Carmichael mine is of a scale unprecedented within Australia’s existing seaborne coal export industry: the second largest in the world.

“The Carmichael mine is a climate wrecking ball, generating 120 million tonnes per annum of greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the world is headed for a dangerous temperature rise of 3.6 degrees Celsius by 2100, based on current policies,” said Adam Walters, author of the paper.

“In preparation for the Paris climate talks, a number of countries have put forward impressive plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.

“This analysis shows that Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval of the Carmichael mine will unleash more emissions than the planned cuts of a number of nations including Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Mexico and Canada.

“After committing to some much needed belt-tightening, Minister Hunt’s approval of this mine represents a binge which undoes the good intentions of nations, including Australia

“The analysis is cautious because if Adani’s project proceeds it may well facilitate far greater emissions from other coal developments.

“Carmichael, with its associated rail and port infrastructure, will enable the development of multiple other mines proposed for the so far unexploited Galilee Basin, creating a combined production capacity that could more than double Australia’s thermal coal exports.

“It is difficult to reconcile the Australian government’s decision to back the Carmichael mine with the gravity of the need to curb global emissions and the accepted principle of precaution in environmental decision-making,” Mr Walters said.

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