Narrabri Coal Mine Approval No Joke for Climate

“Today’s decision by the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) decision to approve this coal mine is no joke for our climate,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute.

“The IPC has got it wrong on climate, tax and economics. The decision to approve Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri mine extension to 2044 is reckless and dangerous given the climate disasters Australia is experiencing right now.

“The IPC claims that approving new coal production out to 2044 is ‘not inconsistent’ with net zero emissions goals or the Paris Agreement. This will be a particularly dirty coal mine with massive direct methane emissions, so the NSW Government cannot hide from the fact these emissions will be its responsibility.

“The approval conditions regarding greenhouse emissions consist of nothing more than having a plan to consider them. That plan only needs to be acted on when ‘reasonably feasible’.

“The Commission seriously suggests that the climate impacts of a large coal mine will be ‘minimised by using electricity generated by renewable or carbon neutral energy sources where reasonable and feasible’.

“Whitehaven told the Commission that it would pay 100 times more tax on this project than the entire company has ever paid, according to Tax Office data. Yet the Commission’s approval states that tax revenues could be lower, or ‘could be considerably higher’ than anticipated.

“The only way Whitehaven’s mine can provide a benefit to NSW is if the climate costs are ignored.

“At conservative carbon values, the project’s direct emissions mean it delivers an economic loss, to say nothing of the impact of burning the coal.

“The IPC has accepted analysis that counts the financial benefits to NSW while imposing the climate costs on the rest of Australia and the world.

“The IPC’s decision is a slap in the face for future generations and communities currently dealing with worsening floods and natural disasters.”