New Queensland mines could make Australian region 7th largest CO2 emitter on the planet

For those who think Australia’s contribution to the global warming problem is minimal – and therefore there is little need to do anything – plans to open new coal mines in Queensland are troubling:

Plans to open up a new Australian “coal export rush” would turn a single Queensland region into the seventh largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet, undermining international efforts to keep global warming below 2C, a new report has warned. 

Nine proposed “mega mines” in the Galilee Basin would, at full capacity, result in 705m tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere, according to a Greenpeace Australia analysis. This level of emissions would surpass those of all but six nations in the world. By comparison, the UK emitted 549.3 million tonnes of CO2 from all sources in 2011. 

Greenpeace said that the nine mines’ production capacity of 330m tonnes of coal a year for export would represent an “unprecedented” increase in the scale of coal mining in Australia. The mines’ maximum output, primarily aimed at servicing the burgeoning Chinese and Indian markets, would nearly double Australia’s total 2010/11 coal production of 352m tonnes and eclipse its export total of 283m tonnes. 

The Greenpeace report states that the mines will only be able to launch and operate at capacity if global appetite for coal continues to grow strongly. This scenario would in effect nullify an internationally agreed goal to keep the increase in average global temperatures below 2C from pre-industrial levels. 

Greenpeace warns that a growth in coal-fired emissions represented by the nine Queensland mines would be in line with the International Energy Agency’s model of a “catastrophic” 6C rise in temperatures.

I’d be curious to see the calculations behind the claims: but even so this is reflective of the complete disregard the ruling Liberal-National Party under Campbell Newman has for the environment.

After all, this is the same bunch who want to remove the teaching of climate change from schools.

The Greenpeace report is here.

4 thoughts on “New Queensland mines could make Australian region 7th largest CO2 emitter on the planet

  1. uknowispeaksense says:

    Just about sums it up.

  2. Nick says:

    Let’s put aside the effects of coal burning on the local and global atmosphere for a minute…because what these fossil fools propose is staggeringly short-sighted without even considering those consequences.

    They propose to bring these mines onstream and push Australian thermal and metallurgical coal production,for export and domestic use to at least half a billion tonnes annually within a by 2017, with every intention of building capacity to increase output further if markets allow,as the Greenpeace figures indicate. Add these new mines to current domestic and export and you’re looking at 700-800 million tonnes /annum production.

    If these production levels are attained,we”ll be out of coal in a few generations,despite recent increases in economically demonstrated resources. Transition to post-carbon generation sources has to be mandated now,not spottily encouraged, because the market is not responsive to the exponential pressures now being exerted.

    The lack of a plan is painfully obvious. Now,about AGW….

    • Nick says:

      …and by pushing ahead with this coal-rush voodoo,they’re just as liable to collapse the commodity price and close the more marginal players.

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