The Department of Planning and Environment recommends approval of the project based on economic benefits, but finds these benefits reduce “significantly” if greenhouse emissions are properly accounted for. The Department did not quantify the significant reduction. Applying a carbon price of between $24.50/t and $73/t reduces the value of the project to zero. Such carbon values are likely to be conservative, meaning the project should be refused.
The Australia Institute made a supplementary submission relating to additional material supplied to the NSW Independent Planning Commission by Whitehaven Coal and the Department. The additional material purports to update calculations on the cost of the project’s climate impacts. While emissions volumes were updated, carbon prices were not. Carbon prices have increased markedly since the original assessment and at current European futures prices the project’s emissions represent a cost of $1.4 billion. This cost swamps any benefits of the project.