Research by Greenpeace shows how much exports of Australian coal contribute to driving global warming, highlighting the need to change direction, the Australian Greens said today.
The report reveals that allowing coal mining to continue unabated in the Galilee Basin in Queensland could produce 700m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. If the nine planned mines are approved, the Galilee Basin would be the seventh largest CO2 emitter in the world.
"We cannot keep burning polluting coal and expect our planet to be healthy for our children. How can we take the Government seriously when the emissions reductions planned in the clean energy package will be dwarfed by the emissions these mines will produce?" Australian Greens leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"We've had alarming reports of Arctic sea ice melting faster than the highest predictions, just yesterday CSIRO published a report that our landscape could be virtually unrecognisable by 2070, and now we see the quantified measure of the terrible toll our of rush to exploit fossil fuels.
"The coal rush is also economically extremely short-sighted. Why invest billions of dollars in coal export infrastructure when the major target markets, China and India, are projecting industrial scale solar power to out-compete coal by the end of this decade.
'When our entire economy suffers from falls in commodity prices, it's clear we cannot put all our eggs in one basket. We must invest in the clean energy that will power the 21st century. "
"Queensland is the sunshine state and should be home to a job-rich boom in clean energy technologies, not relentlessly pursuing the biggest and most polluting mines in Australia," Australian Greens Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters, said.
"We already know that most of these coal profits will flow offshore, and leave Queensland with a trashed Great Barrier Reef, skyrocketing living costs, and local businesses and communities sent to the wall under the impacts of a FIFO workforce.
"It's ridiculous that our national environment laws have no climate trigger and don't even allow the federal Environment Minister to consider the impacts of the greatest environment challenge facing the world today - the Government must boost our laws, not weaken them, before more of these mega-mines are allowed to go ahead."
The report can be found here: http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/climate/resources/reports/Cooking-the-climate-Wrecking-the-reef/