Consultancy firms boast of action on climate change while advocating for more coal mines

by Rod Campbell and Lilia Anderson

Consultancy companies like to boast they are committed to action on climate change, but they much prefer overstating the benefits of coal mines

Just one week ago the World Meteorological Organisation predicted in just four years global temperatures will by 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and this week the Anthony Albanese and US President Joe Biden issued a joint statement noting that “Australia and the United States are urgently decarbonising our economies to reduce emissions”.

With the costs of climate change becoming ever more apparent, and renewable energy becoming ever cheaper, you would think that the economic case for new coal mines would be getting worse and worse, wouldn’t you?

Think again!

According to consultancy firms working with mining companies that are desperate to get government approval for their hugely damaging projects, none of the rising cost of climate change nor the moves by governments to reduce emissions is affecting the value of coal mining projects.

Major consultancy firm Ernst and Young (EY) recently ran the numbers on the Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) mine expansion project, owned by tax-haven-based Glencore and Chinese Government-backed Yancoal.

EY estimated that the coal project would deliver benefits of $4.8 billion to the NSW community!

In our submission opposing the project we wrote that:

This is, as far as we are aware, the highest estimated net benefit of a coal project in NSW planning history.

We’ve since done some digging and can confirm that EY’s numbers would have you believe that this is the economically best coal project for the NSW community…EVER! Yep, according to EY the benefits of the HVO ‘Continuation Project’ will be double to triple those of pretty well every other coal mine that has ever been assessed in the state.

This is, of course, complete nonsense.

BHP has given up trying to sell its neighbouring mine because it received “no viable offers”, indicating that few investors see a long-term future for big thermal coal expansions.

EY used a range of well-known techniques to cook the books for Glencore and Yancoal. As we pointed out in our submission, worker and supplier benefits were overstated and climate costs were basically ignored.

This is from a firm that claims to be “driving commitment, collaboration and action on climate.” This is, of course, just the latest example of the major consulting companies and their conflicts of interest.

Sign our petition for No New Coal Mines here and for a crackdown on consulting companies here.

Related research

General Enquiries

Tanya Martin Office Manager

02 6130 0530

Media Enquiries

Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser

0413 208 134

RSS Feed

All news