Adam Morton, SMH, Mon 11 Jul 2022
The Albanese government could face decisions on whether to approve up to 27 coal mining developments, based on applications lodged under national environment laws.
An analysis by the Sunrise Project, a climate activist group, found 13 greenfield coalmines and 14 extensions of existing mines had been referred to the federal government for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
Not all proposals are likely to come across the desk of the environment minister, Tanya Plibersek – some are paused, others still require approval from state authorities – but the analysis of fossil fuel proposals suggests it could be a significant issue in this term of parliament.
The Greens have called for a moratorium on new coal and gas mines, reflecting assessments by climate scientists and statements by the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, and the International Energy Agency that they are inconsistent with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Several independent MPs have adopted a similar position.
Former Pacific leaders last week called on Anthony Albanese to block new coal or gas projects as part of an amplified climate commitment at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji.