Other industries in Queensland would be forced to pick up the coal mining sector's slack and double their emissions reduction efforts if all the coal projects currently in the planning system were approved, according to a new analysis released today by Lock the Gate.
The analysis (available here) shows that if the 34 coal mines now in the Qld Government planning system were built, they would produce at least an additional 21 million tonnes of direct (Scope 1 and 2) greenhouse gas emissions in Qld each year, doubling the current direct output from the entire coal mining industry in Queensland (20.4mtpa in 2019).
This would mean the Queensland Palaszczuk Government's current 2030 GHG emissions reduction target of 31.1Mtpa would effectively become 52mtpa - and other industries would be forced to bear the brunt of emissions reductions.
“Everyone has a role to play when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but we definitely don’t want to see big polluters like coal mining companies expanding while other industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and transport are forced to pick up the slack,” said Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Carmel Flint.
“South East Queenslanders are still picking up the pieces after the devastating floods that swept through the region. More climate-change causing pollution in the atmosphere thanks to new coal mines is the last thing anyone wants.
“We need farmland protected, and renewable energy. The Queensland Palaszczuk Government needs a credible plan to meet its emissions reductions targets inline with global efforts to curb climate change.
“Our analysis shows any such plan could not be achieved under the current approval regime for coal mines.
“Industries like transport and agriculture should not be forced to make even deeper cuts to their emissions by 2030 because the Qld Government is allowing the coal sector to drastically increase its emissions.”
The report also references satellite data of plumes of methane emanating from Central Queensland coal mines to argue it is very likely coal companies are significantly underestimating their direct emissions when reporting them to the Qld government.
“We need independent, ground-based and satellite monitoring of emissions from coal mines. Allowing coal mining companies to self-assess clearly isn’t cutting it,” Ms Flint said.
“The Palaszczuk Government needs to implement a steadily reducing sector wide cap on emissions from coal mines. Anything less is to place an impossible burden on other sectors and condemn Queenslanders to further extreme weather events that cost us all dearly.”