China Stone - Another Adani in the Galilee?

20 December, 2018

Australia is at a crossroads.

We can honour our international commitments to limit global warming to below 1.5 – 2°C above pre-industrial levels, or we can continue to allow ‘business as usual’ to cause irreparable  damage to our natural environment, our way of life, and our iconic Great Barrier Reef.

Existing approved fossil fuel production is already sufficient to take the world to 2°C warming. That means we need to take effective and immediate action to keep our coal and gas in the ground if we are going to head off the worst impacts of climate change, consistent with our global commitments.

We call upon our state and federal governments to legally prevent new thermal coal and gas projects.

The State Government’s decision to recommend approval for the China Stone mine is the first major step towards another Adani-scale coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

The China Stone project is a massive 20,000-hectare thermal coal mining complex in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – one that would sit next to Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine and rival it in terms of size and scale.1

Now the Queensland coordinator-general has delivered an evaluation of the Chine Stone’s Environmental Impact Statement and recommended the project for approval.

This effectively moves the project forward to the next steps of seeking a federal approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) as well as an Environmental Authority and Mining Licence from the Queensland Government.

Sign the Petition

Projects like China Stone and Adani’s Carmichael mine are totally inconsistent with Australia’s international commitments under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to under 1.5 - 2°C.

Sign our petition asking the state and federal governments to honour our climate obligations and use their powers to stop any new coal or gas mines.

China Stone – Another megamine threatening the Great Barrier Reef

The scale of the China Stone mine, as revealed in its Environmental Impact Statement, is immense.

At its peak, the project would produce 38 million tonnes of thermal coal a year, draw a massive 12.5 billion litres of water from local rivers, and rely on a huge new 1050MW on-site coal-fired power plant to run.2

The coal mined over its proposed 50-year lifespan would produce billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide when burned at a time when the world is grappling with a transition to a low-carbon future. Conservationists have also raised concerns about local populations of native wildlife including short-beaked echidnas that may be placed at risk by the mine.

The project is yet another Adani-style megamine that poses an unacceptable climate risk and an existential threat to ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef.

The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made our situation clearer than ever.3

The world must rapidly phase out coal fired power by 2050 if we are to limit the loss of coral reefs to 70-90%, rather than the 99% coral loss that would result if we let coal use linger longer.4

Existing approved fossil fuel production is already sufficient to take the world to 2C warming,5 which means we need to take effective and immediate action to keep our coal and gas in the ground6 if we are going to head off the worst impacts of climate change, consistent with our global commitments.

In Australia, the Climate Council has estimated that 90% of the coal in country’s reserves must be left in the ground if we have a hope of meeting our commitments under the Paris Agreement.7

That means if Queensland and Australia are to take our obligations to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions seriously, we must stop new thermal coal mining – now, and allow for a managed just transition for the existing industry.

That can only occur through broad, systemic changes at a governmental level – whether it be in the form of new legislation, regulatory changes, or binding policy.

In Queensland, the Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018 currently before the State Parliament goes some way towards doing this, by prohibiting any coal mining in the Galilee Basin.

EDO Qld lawyers considers this Bill to be consistent with Australia’s international commitments, but believes it could go further to address all new thermal coal and gas proposals, regardless of location, to more comprehensively meet our commitments.  

Additionally, EDO Qld has proposed a Climate Bill to set and monitor greenhouse gas reduction targets.

No more denial about fossil fuel projects

To continue to clear the way for projects like China Stone and Adani’s Carmichael mine is to deny the reality of our international obligations, and to ignore the risk that these mines will become stranded assets or abandoned completely as failed projects in a carbon-constrained future.

This kind of denial is not an option when it comes to climate change.

We owe it to future generations to fully honour our climate commitments and work towards our targets in a swift, fair, and meaningful way.

At a minimum, that has to mean firm action to stop all new fossil fuel extraction.

Please sign our petition calling on our state and federal governments to use all their powers to prevent any and all new thermal coal or gas projects.


References

1. Qld community prepares for new mega-mine, SBS, 25 November 2018

2. China Stone Coal Project’s environmental impact statement documents

3. IPCC issues dire climate warning, says coal must go to save Great Barrier Reef, ABC, 8 October 2018

4. Global Warming of I.5°C, IPCC, 2018

5. The Sky’s Limit, Oil Change International, 2016

6. McGlade & Ekin (8 January 2015) The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2C, 517 Nature 187;

7. Unburnable Carbon: why we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, Climate Council of Australia, 2015

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