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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coal mega-mines a 'global threat'

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

THE development of coal ''mega-mines'' in central Queensland, such as the massive China First project, will destroy the world's chance of keeping global warming to 2 degrees, the environmental group Greenpeace claims. In its submission to the federal government on the environmental impact of mining magnate Clive Palmer's $7.5 billion China First mine, the green group says this and other big projects in Queensland's Galilee Basin would lock in huge coal exploitation for decades to come. ''If this goes ahead, it will destroy our chances of keeping global warming to 2 degrees,'' said Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn.

The International Energy Agency says the world needs to make ''urgent and radical policy changes'' if it is to stick to the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century. The agency drew up a ''carbon budget'' that would allow the world to meet that target. If the proposed mega-mines in the Galilee Basin run at full pace, by 2035 they would be eating up 4 per cent of the world's carbon budget and 9 per cent of the emissions set aside for coal, according to the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney on behalf of Greenpeace.

The claims follow the release of a report on Thursday that found China First, planned by Mr Palmer's firm Waratah Coal, would exacerbate the two-speed economy by pushing up the dollar, creating labour shortages and driving up wages. A statement from Waratah Coal said the company would ''ensure that the project has the highest integrity and meets all environmental requirements''.

Source: SMH

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