9 February 2019

The NSW Land and Environment Court has blocked an open cut coal mine, in large part because of its likely impact on the global climate. In a detailed judgment that devoted over 100 paragraphs to the climate impact, the Chief Judge wrote: “The Project’s cumulative GHG emissions are therefore likely to contribute to the future changes to … the climate system, the oceanic and terrestrial environment, and people. The approval of the Project (which will be a new source of GHG emissions) is also likely to run counter to the actions that are required to achieve peaking of global GHG emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in order to achieve net zero emissions…” He also rejected the simpleton’s argument that Australia should do nothing because it can’t single-handedly solve climate change: “It matters not that this aggregate of the Project’s GHG emissions may represent a small fraction of the global total of GHG emissions. The global problem of climate change needs to be addressed by multiple localactions to mitigate emissions by sources and remove GHGs by sinks.”