Tag Archives: Climate Change

Hume coal mine rejected on eve of election 


11 December 2018

NSW Greens resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham welcomed the Department of Planning’s recommendation to the Independent Planning Commission that the proposed Hume Coal mine near Berrima is ‘not in the public interest and should not be approved’, but said that NSW needed a coal strategy to deal with the issue of new coal mine applications and phasing out coal in a strategic way.

“This is a strong rejection of the proposed Berrima coal mine echoing the concerns that the local community have held for many years.

“It’s a pity it has taken almost eight years and the eve of an election to arrive for the government to finally knock this bad mine on the head. The local MP Pru Goward failed to stop this mine progressing through the planning system despite widespread concern, even when she was planning minister.

“The tide has well and truly turned on coal in an age of climate change.

“NSW now needs a comprehensive coal strategy that should forbid any new coal mines and implement a strategy to phase out coal mining over the next decades with transition plans for the regions involved.

“I spoke recently at a forum in Berrima and it is clear that the local community is united in wanting to protect their land, water and climate from the huge risk this mine represents.”

Liberal/Nationals lack ambition needed for energy policy fit for 21st Century and reducing risk of climate change

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has decried the vacuum in national energy policy and the triumph of ideology over energy reform at the Smart Energy Summit in Sydney today.

Mr Turnbull departed from towing the Liberal/National line by asserting renewable energy could simultaneously deliver a reduction in dangerous carbon pollution and cheaper electricity for the nation.

NSW Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The take-over of the Federal Liberal/Nationals by the hard right faction places climate deniers and big mining in the driver’s seat of energy policy in Australia and they are quickly accelerating towards a cliff of climate consequences.

“Malcolm Turnbull is dead right. We can’t afford to let ideology and idiocy get in the way of the ambitious energy policy needed to deliver a better future for people and the planet.

“Our weather, our water and all our planet’s life support systems don’t give a stuff about your opinion or ideology, they are governed by fact.

“The science is telling us we are approaching a global crisis where if we don’t get out of coal by 2030 then it will be too late to stop catastrophic climate change. The decisions our leaders are making today will determine whether we end coal in time or we risk danger or death.

“If the Federal or NSW governments can’t come up with a credible plan that keeps us safely under 1.5 degrees of warming, then they should step aside for leaders who can,” he said.

Speaking at the Summit earlier today, NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin talked up his government’s ‘aspirational’ goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 despite having no clear plan for achieving the target.

“The Liberal/National Government had squandered seven years without a strategic energy or climate policy for NSW. In that time, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown and it is lagging right at the bottom in terms of renewables across the nation.

“Even the aspirational net-zero emissions target has no credibility with 11 new coal mines in the NSW planning pipeline and no end to coal in sight.

“The NSW Government bet and lost on the Federal government bailing it out with some kind of national energy policy. Now, it’s time for voters to have their say on the NSW Liberal/Nationals massive energy and climate failure and the polling suggests they’re about to be shown the door from NSW,” he said.

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan ignores science that new coal mines risk fuelling catastrophic climate change

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan should listen to the science and not give approval for any new coal mines or mine extensions for the best chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

The Minister donned the hard hat and visited the site of a proposed 135 megatonne extension of Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine this weekend, indicating support for more new coal mining in the Upper Hunter.

If approved the mine would operate over the next 30 years, producing 385 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said Minister Canavan should not ignore the recent IPCC report that warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels or risk catastrophic levels of climate change.

“Minister Matthew Canavan and the Federal Government can’t keep pushing their outdated, pro-mining agenda on communities like Boggabri and the Upper Hunter. The Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. There can be no new approvals for thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW. Vickery coal mine must be retired and rehabilitated, not thrown a lifeline for more coal production and pollution.

“Australia is becoming like the big tobacco companies, we keep pushing a product we know isn’t safe or healthy out into the market, regardless of the risk.

“The vested interests of the mining industry have too much power and influence over our Federal and NSW Liberal/National politicians. They are making decisions in the best interests of big mining companies, not what’s best in the long-term for communities and our natural environment.

“There should be no new coal mines or coal mine expansions in an era of worsening climate change, especially with the impacts of climate change so evident in the impacts of this severe drought. It is negligent and irresponsible for the Minister to allow the Vickery coal mine proposal to proceed.”

📷: Northern Daily Leader

Tiny, last minute spend on ’emerging energy’ won’t fix govt’s lack of credible energy and emissions reduction policy

The NSW Government has today launched an Emerging Energy Fund that promises $55 million for gas and renewable energy, a figure the Greens have slammed as totally inadequate and  lacking the ambition needed to transition NSW towards 100% renewable energy.

The $55 million is totally insufficient when you consider the NSW Government:

  • Received $37 billion from privatising the state’s electricity assets since their election;
  • Received $4.1 billion for the transfer of Snowy Hydro to the federal government;
  • Underspent the NSW Climate Change Fund by $252 million between $2014-17;
  • Gave $70 million to the Greyhound racing industry;
  • Spent $87 million on advertising; and
  • Gave $100 million to the horse racing industry as a tax break.

The Emerging Energy Program represents just 0.14% of the $37 billion the government reaped from selling off public energy assets.

Greens Energy and Climate Action spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham labelled the Emerging Energy Fund nothing more than a fig leaf announcement that barely covered the fact NSW remained without a genuine, effective energy or emissions reduction policy.

“This is a damp squib of an energy policy from a Liberal/National Government that has neglected renewable energy and climate change for seven and a half years,” he said today.

“The community would recognise that $55 million is a drop in the ocean for the energy-system restructure that is underway and will not stop NSW from lagging behind other states on renewable energy.

“It’s just 0.14% of the $37 billion the government has reaped from selling off energy assets in NSW. It’s also miserly when you consider they underspent the climate change fund to the tune of $252.9 million between 2014-17.

“It miserly compared to the Victorian Government’s $1.24 billion scheme investing in rooftop solar alone or its substantial state-based Renewable Energy Target.

“This money could be spent on fossil fuels, with the emissions limit is set at 0.5 tonnes of CO2/MWh which allows gas projects, not just true renewable energy.

“What NSW needs is genuine investment with long-term support policies such as state-based Renewable Energy Target, a tax on carbon pollution and renewable power purchase agreements by the State Government.

“NSW should not miss out on the clean energy, lower power prices, jobs and economic growth from growing our share of energy from wind, solar and other renewables.

“I’m pleased the government has finally recognised that the shift away from coal to renewable energy is inevitable. Premier Gladys Berejiklian should have a conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to to burst his delusions about building new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

“Renewables, energy and climate change will be at the very top of the agenda at the NSW and Federal elections. If this Liberal/National Government doesn’t stop the spin and get real on energy policy, it will find the community will vote for other leaders who will,” Mr Buckingham said.

Greens slam NSW for voting against developing a climate plan at COAG meeting

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has voted against an ACT Government motion at the COAG Energy Council for a national emissions reduction scheme for the electricity sector, despite State Parliament debating numerous motions criticising the government for its lack of energy policy and emissions reduction strategy this week.

The proposal from Greens ACT Minister for Environment Shane Rattenbury asked for work to develop a suitable greenhouse gas emissions reduction mechanism for the electricity sector. The plan was opposed and blocked by the Liberal/National Federal Government and the Liberal/National states governments of NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.

Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said “Energy Minister Don Harwin failed the people of NSW by voting against a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

“The Berejiklian Government has hitched its energy policy to the Federal government and now that the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) is scuttled there is a total energy policy vacuum in Australia’s largest state.

“Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT all have comprehensive state-based policy to transition their states to renewable energy and reduce emission. NSW has no credible policy.

“All NSW has is ‘aspirational’ target of zero carbon emissions by 2050, but that’s a long way off and there is no credible plan or policy mechanism to reach that goal and no sense of commitment from the State Government.

“Today Minister Harwin voted with the coal hugging dinosaurs to reject developing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that could help NSW lower its pollution and meet its targets.

“It’s an embarrassment that NSW now sides with the hapless Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and his ‘fair dinkum energy’ rhetoric – that is fair dinkum ridiculous.

“The abandonment of the NEG has left NSW exposed. The only clear energy policy for the NSW Government was relying on a plan from their Liberal/National colleagues in Canberra who are in disarray on energy policy as well as other areas.

“The community expects leadership and a comprehensive plan for reduce our growing greenhouse emissions by planning for an end to coal, a just transition for coal-affected communities and investment in renewable energy.

“NSW can be a renewables powerhouse, with all the jobs, business opportunities and cost-effective clean energy it can bring,” he said.

Canavan ignorant of technology and climate. Coal should be phased out in a decade

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 March 2018

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today labelled federal resources minister Matt Canavan ignorant on disruptive technology and negligent on climate change as Canavan sets up a panel to push more fossil fuel mining in Australia.

“Pushing coal mining in an age of climate change and cheap, mature renewable energy is not only negligent, but is like advocating fax machines in the age of the internet,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The science very clearly says that 90% of coal must remain in the ground if we are to have even a 50% chance of keeping global warming under the two degree target that Australia signed up to at the Paris climate summit.

“The Greens want coal mining in NSW phased out within a decade. That is the only path to preventing runaway climate change.  That’s not hyperbole,  that is unfortunately the physical reality we face.

“Rather than ignorantly promoting polluting fossil fuels, Australian governments should be working on transition packages to rapidly transition our energy system to renewable energy and to transition mining dependent communities to other economic sectors.

“History is full of disruptive technologies rapidly replacing existing technologies. The motor vehicle and the horse and cart, film and digital cameras, sailing ships and steam ships, mobile phones, computers, and it is clear that renewable energy, which is rapidly decreasing in price and does not pollute the atmosphere is a disruptive technology that is spreading very fast.

“To tie the Australian economy to the extraction of fossil fuels and runaway climate change is a shockingly bad move from a government that is failing on climate change and lacks a sensible energy policy.”

Greens move for 10 year phase-out of thermal coal mining in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 3 March 2017

Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will today launch a new policy to phase-out thermal coal mining in ten years with a bill that would set up a framework to limit further coal mining to one billion tonnes.

The policy is a framework for:

  • 10 year time limit for thermal coal mining in NSW
  • A limit of one billion tonnes of thermal coal production
  • A competitive allocation framework for companies to bid to mine coal under a reducing cap
  • Mining royalties go to a transition fund for workers and regional economies

Here is a brief on the framework and also the bill Jeremy Buckingham will introduce into parliament next week.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said: 

“It is a scientific fact that we cannot continue to burn coal and protect the climate. We must act now before it is too late.

“We have run out of time. We are teetering on the edge of disaster and must act seriously now or we will lock in catastrophic levels of global warming with the significant environmental, economic and social disasters that will be caused by a changing climate.

“A transition away from coal is inevitable. The real question is whether we transition fast enough to protect the climate, and whether it is a managed transition, or a chaotic collapse.

“The Greens are being prudent in seeking to set climate policy according to the science and in setting up a market-based framework to implement a phase-out of thermal coal mining.”

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Richard Di Natale said: 

“Since we cannot rely on the federal Government to provide any meaningful action towards mitigating dangerous climate change, we have to rely for now on the states to provide the country with a 21 st century energy policy. That’s exactly what the NSW Greens are proposing to do with this policy of phasing out coal.”

NSW Greens launch framework for
10 year phase-out of thermal coal mining

Key points:

  • 10 year time limit for thermal coal mining in NSW
  • A limit of one billion tonnes of thermal coal production
  • A competitive allocation framework for companies to bid to mine coal under a reducing cap
  • Mining royalties go to a transition fund for workers and regional economies

A legislative framework to phase-out coal in ten years

The NSW Greens will introduce a bill into NSW Parliament which will set a ten year phase-out timeline with a total limit on the amount of thermal coal that can be mined in NSW.

The Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017 establishes a framework for a managed phase-out of coal mining in NSW in order to protect the climate from catastrophic global warming.  Research published in the esteemed scientific journal Nature found that 90% of global coal reserves must remain in the ground if there is a 50% chance of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius.  The Paris Climate Summit agreement set a target of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, with an ambition of limiting warming to only 1.5 degrees.

Phase-out trajectory

Under this bill, a maximum of one billion tonnes of thermal coal can be mined over the next ten years (no action would see 2 billion tonnes mined in this period).


The framework implements a smooth phase-out trajectory over ten years.
The Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017 legislates for the following timetable of maximum thermal coal production in NSW:

Year 1 180 million tonnes
Year 2 163 million tonnes
Year 3 145 million tonnes
Year 4 127 million tonnes
Year 5 109 million tonnes
Year 6 91 million tonnes
Year 7 73 million tonnes
Year 8 55 million tonnes
Year 9 37 million tonnes
Year 10 20 million tonnes
Year 11> 0 tonnes

The bill empowers the minister to implement a competitive process to allocate coal production under the caps. Mining companies would take part in a competitive auction to purchase the right to mine coal during the phase out period.

Export coal is a major contributor to climate change

Around 90% of Australian coal is mined for export.  Even if Australia shifted to 100% renewable domestic energy generation, our contribution to climate change through the mining and export of thermal coal would still be huge.

Last chance to act

The latest climate science and observations conclude that we are in a critical period for action on climate change.  If we fail to make the necessary changes to significantly reduce emissions now, then catastrophic climate change will be unavoidable.

While these measures may seem drastic, they are a bare minimum of what is required according to the science.  A less drastic phase-out of coal could have been possible if the world had started to act after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, or in the decades since.  However, successive governments have instead sponsored and approved a massive expansion of coal mining.

Without a phase-out plan, almost 2 billion tonnes of thermal coal will be mined in NSW during the next decade, and NSW Treasury forecasts that 9.2 billion tonnes of thermal coal will be mined by 2056.  Mining and burning this amount of coal will be a major global contributor to climate change.

A competitive auction for mining rights over the ten year phase-out period is expected to raise over $7 billion, a significant proportion should go to assisting workers and regional economies transition to a post-fossil fuel era.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will introduce the Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – Phasing-out Coal Mining) Bill 2017, into NSW Parliament next Tuesday 7 March.


3 March 2017

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