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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

No More Excuses for Approving Coal Mines

Last year the world blew the 1.5°C threshold, and temperatures this February are trending at 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The stark reality is that climate change is no longer a future emergency.  It’s happening now. And accelerating.


But while the urgency for decisive climate action change has never been more pronounced, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek continues to defend her approval of new and expanded coal mines. The Minister's use of the "drug dealer's defence" and "drop in the ocean argument" to justify her approvals not only highlights a troubling disregard for the cumulative impact of coal, but also a lack of accountability concerning the escalating climate emergency.

 

A look at the numbers demonstrates the gravity of this. Since May 2022, Minister Plibersek has approved four new coal mines with 156 million tonnes of cumulative emissions. To put that into perspective, an average Australian family has yearly emissions of between 15 and 20 tonnes. So that means in less than two years, Minister Plibersek has approved coal mining emissions equivalent to the yearly emissions of at least eight million Australian families.

 

While we all have personal responsibilities to reduce our emissions, some people’s actions have a bigger impacts than others. The scale of emissions from mining and burning coal dwarfs those of individual consumer choices. Minister Plibersek has the power to secure massive emissions reductions. She can choose to take responsibility and be a hero for the future of our kids and country. Or conversely, she can choose to keep green-lighting coal mines and be responsible for huge increases in emissions that take that future away.

 

There’s no time left for excuses or legal weasel words. The decisions each of us make will indelibly shape our future. Big or small, every emissions reduction counts. If I compost and don't buy a new iPhone, sure that will save some emissions. But if Tanya Plibersek rejects new coal mine proposals, that will save millions and millions of tonnes.

 

The path forward is clear. Those with power and responsibility must exercise it. For our Environment Minister, that means no more coal mine approvals.


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4 Comments


David Leigh
David Leigh
Feb 24

Australians run the guantlet every year as we worry will this summer be a disaster for us from bush fires or will the climate dump billions of litres of rainwater on our district. I live in Tasmania, one of the safest areas in the world regarding climate. Only last week we watched as water tankers and helicopters flew overhead to tackle a fire just 4 K's away within our quiet little area. Within hours there were four fires all being tackled all around us and many more throughout Tasmania. The temperature has not been above 30C and most days it is in the low 20's. All other states and teritories have worse fires than Tassie. What will the future hold…

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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
Feb 25
Replying to

Thanks David for sharing your views.

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Nigel Howard
Nigel Howard
Feb 24

Great article - thanks.

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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
Feb 25
Replying to

You're welcome Nigel.

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