The Conservative Tony Abbott government in Australia is proposing alarming changes to Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 — a remarkable move that would prevent environment groups from challenging many damaging development projects.
This has all come to a head over the Carmichael Coal Mine — a plan to build a massive mine in central Queensland in order to export 60 million of tonnes of coal to India each year.
Coal, of course, is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, and India’s plan to burn it by the shipload for electricity is bad news for the planet.
The Abbott government is in a tizzy after after a community organization, the Mackay Conservation Group, challenged the approval of the Carmichael Mine in Australia’s Federal Court.
The mine site also sustains the largest population of the southern subspecies of the black-throated Finch, which is endangered.
The implications of the mega-mine go well beyond a few imperilled species. If the mine goes ahead, it will be one of the biggest in the world — and the emissions from burning its mountains of coal would cancel out all gains made from Australia’s current emissions-reduction strategy.
On top of the frightening precedent it would set, the Abbott government appears to be double-dealing. Read the rest of this entry »