26. January 2022

Surge in NSW coal mine expansions would drive up national emissions


Despite international efforts to drive coal out of the financial system and web zero ambitions, the NSW authorities is about to contemplate functions for a surge in coal mine expansions throughout the state that if permitted would generate 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse fuel emissions, greater than thrice Australia’s complete emissions.

The determine, drawn from functions for 5 coal mine expansions, contains each the emissions generated by extracting and transport the coal to port – so-called scope 1 and a couple of emissions – and the emissions triggered when the coal is burnt for energy or steel-making in the nations that purchase it, often known as scope 3 emissions.

Under the phrases of the Paris Agreement, solely the scope 1 and a couple of emissions would be counted as Australian emissions, however these emissions alone would represent 61.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over the tasks’ lifetime.

The state’s Independent Planning Commission is because of resolve the tasks’ fates in the approaching six months.

Since the physique was established in March 2018 it has permitted greater than 580 million tonnes of recent coal capability throughout seven tasks, which might generate 1.4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.

The Lock the Gate Alliance, which campaigns towards new fossil gas tasks in agricultural areas, says the rise in coal manufacturing in the state is contradictory to the state authorities’s environmental stance and web zero targets.

A pile of coal at the port of Newcastle. The NSW Independent Planning Commission is due to decide the fates of several new coal projects in the coming six months.

A pile of coal on the port of Newcastle. The NSW Independent Planning Commission is because of resolve the fates of a number of new coal tasks in the approaching six months.Credit:Bloomberg

Alliance campaigner Nic Clyde says the federal government ought to direct the fee to contemplate greenhouse fuel emissions in its selections.

“Based on past experience, the Department of Planning does not treat these huge greenhouse contributions as pivotal to their assessment of whether new coal projects are in the public interest, but 2022 is the year that has to change,” Mr Clyde mentioned.

“Since the IPC was created the NSW Department of Planning has assessed 12 major new coal projects. Eleven in a row were recommended for approval, with only the Hume Coal project breaking that trend.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning mentioned the state had adopted the world’s greatest follow in mine approvals “that includes a rigorous, independent merit assessment that considers the impacts and overall public benefit of the proposal”.

“The government’s policies contain clear criteria to protect the environment and the health and safety of the community.

“Examples of proposals that could not meet the NSW government’s criteria, and were subsequently not approved, include the Bylong coal mining proposal near Mudgee, the Rocky Hill coal mine near Gloucester, the Drayton Coal Mine Extension in the Hunter Valley, the Dendrobium Extension Project in the Southern coalfields and, more recently, the Hume Coal Project in the Southern Highlands.”

The proposals come regardless of predictions of a long-term decline in demand for Australia’s coal exports as key markets throughout Asia speed up efforts to section out fossil fuels to fulfill carbon-reduction targets. The use of coal in Australian energy crops can be falling sharply because the rollout of renewable vitality continues, with most coal turbines set to retire earlier than 2040.

In the final quarter of final 12 months Australian coal-fired energy era fell to historic lows on account of surging renewable vitality, the Australian Financial Review reported this week citing figures from Dylan McConnell, analysis fellow on the University of Melbourne’s local weather and vitality school.


Despite this, a world vitality crunch has prompted a spike in coal costs as a sharper-than-expected post-pandemic rebound in financial and industrial exercise has collided with extreme provide shortages.

The surge in proposed expansions in NSW is unlikely to be a response to the excessive costs, mentioned Wood Mackenzie coal analyst Viktor Tanevski, because the proposals would have been in the approval and growth pipeline for a while.

He mentioned Wood Mackenzie modelling prompt worldwide demand for NSW coal would peak about 5 years from every now and then start a gradual decline.

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