Approving the largest coal exploration license in Northern Territory history just hours before the government goes into caretaker mode is unbelievably reckless, the Climate Council said today.
Reports today reveal the NT government secretly negotiated the deal with US-based company TriStar to develop potentially vast coal reserves south of Alice Springs and put it into action a day before the government went into caretaker mode.
The Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen said Australia had pledged along with the rest of the world to do everything possible to tackle climate change.
“This decision flies in the face of climate science and makes a mockery of Australia’s pledges in Paris,” he said.
“Right around the world, countries are rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. Global investors agree that the decline of the coal industry is long-term and irreversible.
“More than 90% of Australia’s coal has to stay in the ground if we are to effectively tackle climate change and meet our international commitment to doing everything possible to limit global warming to less than 2C.
“To make this decision on the eve of an election, after the hottest month in the history of the world, demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the science, for the future wellbeing of Australians and our fellow citizens around the world, and for the very existence of some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef.
“But it also defies economics. There will be no market for Australia’s coal in a world that is rapidly cutting emissions.
“Northern Territory has some of the best solar resources in the world and is well-placed to seize the opportunities of the global renewable energy boom and yet it has no policies on renewable energy.”
Professor Tim Flannery said Northern Territory residents were among the worst affected by the impacts of climate change.
“The number of heatwave days has doubled in Darwin in the last fifty years,” he said.
“More than 10,000 hectares of mangroves have died as a result of record low rainfall driven by climate change.
“Coal mining is directly linked to the climate change that has caused the worst coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier Reef’s history.
“We need governments who can see our future lies in harnessing the wind and the sun not in digging up highly polluting coal.”
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Image credit: Gabriele Delhey via Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0