The Greens have challenged NSW Labor to heed the warning contained in the IPCC Special Report released yesterday and rule out the approval of any new coal mines in NSW.
The international consensus report found coal use for electricity must be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the 1.5-degree limit is to be met.
On the same day, the NSW Department of Planning recommended the approval of the new Bylong coal mine in the Hunter Valley.
There is currently 1,881 million tonnes of coal either recently approved or in the planning pipeline in NSW. 778 million tonnes are from new mines, with 1,103 million tonnes from proposed expansions to existing mines. If all this coal were mined and burnt it would emit 5,381 million tonnes of C02.
Greens NSW Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The 778 million tonnes of coal proposed from new mines in NSW is a massive carbon emissions bomb poised to wreck our future.
“The IPCC made it clear that to avoid more than 1.5 degrees of global warming, most coal will need to stay in the ground.
“The vital question is whether NSW Labor is prepared to make the necessary decision to phase out coal. Will Labor recognise the scientific necessity and reject proposals for new coal mines or significant expansions of existing coal mines in NSW?
“While the IPCC was in South Korea announcing that the world had to rapidly phase out coal, the NSW Government was recommending approval for a new 120 million tonne South Korean owned coal mine
“The decision recklessly ignores the international scientific consensus that we need to end coal for a chance of keeping climate change impacts at safer levels.
“Meanwhile, the State Government is suffering policy paralysis on climate action. It has outsourced energy policy to the Federal Government, content to watch as climate deniers and the mining lobby hijack energy policy in a desperate bid to keep fossil fuels in the mix.
“Energy Minister Don Harwin continues to trot out the NSW’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 as the answer to everything, despite rising state emissions and no path for reaching the goal.
“The new report also shows the timeframe of 2050 misses the mark – parts of the NSW coast will be underwater, our agricultural sector will be shot and natural disasters will be on the rise without bold action.
“The next few years will lock in the future of our community and planet. If NSW’s current political leadership won’t take the urgent climate action needed, then they should stand aside for leaders who can.
“Labor should lift its ambition, listen to the community and work with the Greens for a safer, better climate future for NSW,” he said.