Coal supplanted iron ore in 2018 as Australia’s most valuable export. According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, coal export values should reach $67 billion in total in 2018–19.
But that vast amount of wealth is at risk from climate warriors, intent on putting an end to Australia’s coal industry. They wilfully ignore the tremendous demand for quality Australian coal overseas, and are blind to the fact that other nations will step in to fill the void should Aussie coal be pulled from the global market.
Coal mine rejected by environment court
It would appear that Justice Brian Preston, the chief judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court, is an ardent supporter of these climate warriors.
On Friday, Preston dismissed calls to appeal the 2017 case of the unapproved NSW Hunter Valley mine by the Department of Planning and Environment.
Known as the Rocky Hill project, Preston said the coal mine would add to global greenhouse emissions ‘at a time when what is now urgently needed … is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emission’.
‘In short, an open cut coal mine in this part of the Gloucester Valley would be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘All of the direct and indirect GHG emissions of the Rocky Hill Coal Project will impact on the environment.’
Gloucester Resources, who appealed the Rocky Hill case, argued that the increased gas emissions would necessarily lead to the carbon budget being exceeded.
After all, with the other renewable energy initiatives — such as waste-powered paper mills — there’s a good chance the Rocky Hill carbon emissions could be negated elsewhere.
But Preston insisted such reasoning was ‘speculative and hypothetical’, adding:
‘A consent authority cannot rationally approve a development that is likely to have some identified environmental impact on the theoretical possibility that the environmental impact will be mitigated or offset by some unspecified and uncertain action at some unspecified and uncertain time in the future.’
Well, an additional $42.5 million allocated in the 2018–19 Federal budget to meet emission reduction targets doesn’t sound ‘unspecified and uncertain’ to us.
Coal demand too high to reduce supply
Moreover, Gloucester Resources brought up the point that greenhouse gas emissions would occur with or without the Rocky Hill project. The logic being that the inability for Australia’s coal demand to be met would mean ‘investment will flow to other large coal producers and mines’.
Preston again argued there was no ‘certainty’ the market substitution would indeed be coal.
‘Countries around the world are increasingly taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their countries, not only to meet their nationally determined contributions but also to reduce air pollution,’ he added.
Clearly he’d glossed over the 44 gigawatts of coal power currently being generated by permitted coal plants in China and India, with close to 40,000 additional megawatts coming from announced future projects in those regions.
And perhaps he missed the fact that Chinese funding accounts for over a quarter of all new coal plants being established outside of China, which are using outdated technology that isn’t permitted within China’s borders.
Even that isn’t stopping the coal craze.
But Preston had one more argument up his sleeve…visual presentation.
Yes, that’s right, the noise and dust that could come from this new coal mine is supposedly too disruptive for it to be added as a future supplier of coal for Australia.
In fact, Preston argued that this concern outweighed the economic and other public benefits which this mine could bring (it’s interesting that he acknowledged these benefits, isn’t it?).
Weak arguments by climate warriors
This seemed enough to convince Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie, who made the ruling.
‘The NSW Land and Environment court has effectively ruled that coal — just like tobacco and asbestos—- is bad for us,’ Ms McKenzie said in a statement.
‘I’m thrilled to see the law catching up with the science.’
Really? Last time I checked, you can’t become addicted to coal…
And the ridiculous comments didn’t stop there, with chief executive of community legal centre Environmental Defenders Office, David Morris saying the landmark judgment would be ‘profoundly influential’ on future cases.
‘The judgment is, I think, the first big piece of climate change litigation that this country has seen,’ he told reporters, according to AAP.
‘Any decision-maker on fossil fuel projects would bear (Justice Preston’s) reasoning closely in mind in determining whether or not a new fossil fuel project should be approved in this country.’
Well, you wouldn’t expect much else from an ‘environmental defender’, would you?
Thankfully, we have the likes of NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee to reject such preposterous assertions:
‘We don’t believe this is in any way a “landmark case”, given the Department of Planning had already recommended against the approval of the project.
‘The court supported the original decision of the Planning Assessment Commission to not approve the project. There were a range of factors that contributed to the refusal that were specific to this project.’
So while they may have secured this ‘no’ for a potential coal project, the climate warriors are irrational to think they’ve convinced the world to pursue a coal-free planet.
Free report: Jason Stevenson exposes the ‘man made global warming’ hoax that we’ve been fed by the funding-hungry scientists — and reveals what could be in store for the next 20–30 years.