Tag Archives: Climate

Greens challenge NSW Labor to lift ambition and end approval for new coal mines in NSW

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.

Greens’ analysis of new coal mining in NSW available here

Climate change induced energy demand spike show failure in policy

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 February 2017

NSW Greens energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said today’s predicted energy demand spikes highlighted multiple policy failures including a failure to address climate change, a failure to put in place a sensible demand management strategy, and a failure to build renewable energy.

“This record heatwave, in conjunction with temperature records being broken on a regular basis, shows that climate change is here with a vengeance.  Australians will die during this heatwave, yet the federal government still has its head in the sand,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“For our governments to still be pushing coal, the number one cause of climate change, in the face of an unprecedented heatwave is absolutely negligent.

“New Energy Minister Don Harwin’s advice for people to “have their fridge at a slightly lower temperature” (although I think he meant to say a higher temperature) demonstrates just how hapless and lost the NSW government has been on energy policy.

“NSW should have in place a demand management policy where large energy users are paid to reduce demand on the grid during peak periods.  This is a more effective and efficient policy measure than building huge infrastructure that is only used for a few hours every few years, or a hapless minister begging people to adjust their refrigerators.

“A smarter grid that allows for more distributed electricity generation, from clean energy sources, peer-to-peer trading, and decent price incentives for small-scale generation, would help to alleviate the pressure on the centralised grid.

“Unfortunately, the government’s preoccupation with defending the coal industry and flogging off the coal-fired power stations and electricity grid, means that effective policies to modernise the grid and avoid situations like the one NSW is facing today have not been pursued with any vigour.”

Baird’s epiphany on climate change welcome, but he must deal with coal

MEDIA RELEASE – 3 November 2016

The Greens welcomed the Baird Government’s announcement that they would set a net-zero emissions target by 2050 and allocate money to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy, however, they said banning new coal mines, a state based renewable energy target (RET), and formulating a concrete transition strategy away from fossil fuels, was necessary to deal with climate change.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham said: “It’s good to see the Baird Government shedding their dinosaur attitudes and changing their philosophy on climate change, however, a 2050 net-zero emissions target will not be reached unless we deal with coal.”

“I’m pleased the government is adopting Greens’ initiatives, such as the setting state based emission reduction targets, funding renewable energy and energy efficiency, and providing incentives for electric vehicles.

“Of course, we need more than far-off targets. We need a ban on new coal mines, a state based RET and a transition plan for a rapid and managed switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“The Greens have previously announced our policy for reducing stamp duty and registration fees, allowing travel in transit lanes and government procurement policies to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.  I’m pleased to see this is on the Government’s agenda.

“If Premier Baird can shrug off the climate dinosaurs in the Coalition, then he has a lot to gain politically, and economically in terms of jobs and investment for NSW, by becoming a champion of renewable energy and climate action.”

Greens introduce bill to ban new coal mines to save the climate

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 October 2016

The Greens have introduced the Mining Amendment (Climate Protection – No New Coal Mines) Bill 2016 into the NSW Legislative Council.  The bill puts the issue of coal and its impact on the climate firmly on the NSW Parliament’s agenda and, if enacted, would prohibit the approval of any new coal mines or coal mine expansions.

This is the first time a bill to ban all new coal mines has been introduced into an Australian Parliament.  Currently there are applications for an additional 1.8 billion tonnes of new coal mining in NSW.

“For too long governments have made excuses while the coal industry rapidly expanded.  For the sake of the climate we must deal with coal and the first step is to ban new coal mines and mine expansions, and then to implement a transition strategy to shift from coal to renewable energy and diversify regional economies,” said Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham.

“This bill would stop the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the Liverpool Plains; the Hume Coal mine in the Southern Highlands; the Kepco coal mine in the Bylong Valley; the Wallarah 2 coal mine on the Central Coast, the Rocky Hill coal mine near Gloucester; and the Drayton South coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

“The science says that 95% of NSW’s coal must stay in the ground if we are to have a 50% chance of avoiding two degrees of global warming.  Continuing to mine huge amounts of coal is simply incompatible with addressing climate change.

“If we had started to shift away from coal after the 1992 Rio Earth summit, we could have had a gradual transition.  Now we are two minutes to midnight on the climate clock, the carbon budget is almost spent, so need to act with urgency.

“It’s not the Greens who say we must rapidly phase out coal, it is the science.

“The Greens hope this bill will provoke a debate about the future of coal and climate change, because it is obvious that the NSW Government is wilfully ignoring this profound problem.

“It’s time for the Labor Party to have the hard conversations and an internal debate about the future of thermal coal mining in a climate constrained world.”

The Bill should be debated and voted on when NSW Parliament resumes sitting in November.

The text of the bill can be read here (PDF)

Jeremy Buckingham’s speech introducing the bill can be watched or embedded on YouTube or downloaded here.

The Hansard of Jeremy’s Buckingham’s speech can be read here.

NSW Farmers’ fantastic change on climate change

MEDIA RELEASE – 16 July 2015

The Greens NSW climate spokesperson  Jeremy Buckingham today praised the NSW Farmers’ Association for changing their climate change policy to acknowledge climate change, its impact on farmers and supporting a transition away from coal and gas to renewable energy sources.

The move was facilitated by NSW Young Farmers’ Council at the NSW Farmers’ Association annual conference.

“I heartily congratulate the NSW Farmers’ Association for this key policy change and acknowledge the excellent work done by young farmers to achieve this new policy,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Not only are farmers at the front line for the impacts of climate change, but as land managers and custodians of large tracts of the environment, they must play a crucial role in efforts to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.

“The Greens and farmers are aligning on key issues.  We work together to protect land and water and for policies that facilitate successful and sustainable agriculture and regional economic development.

“NSW Farmers’ Associations support for a transition away from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy is fantastic.  The expansion of coal and coal seam gas directly threatens farmers and makes no sense with the global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy that is picking up speed.

“Many of the farmers I meet around NSW are highly attuned to the environment and care deeply about it.  It is good to see the NSW Farmers’ Association now recognising the biggest environmental challenge we all face – global climate change.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916


NSW Farmers’ Association Policy Change minutes:

a) That the following sections of NSW Farmers’ Policy be rescinded:

  • It can be shown that the temperature has risen first followed by carbon dioxide and not the other way round, and that until a royal commission is held to explore the scientific veracity and soundness of claims that carbon is a pollutant, we should not embark on any action which will cost us as a nation dearly in money, forgone export earnings and effort for no gain. CARRIED
  • That the Association continue to seek more scientific rigour in the climate change debate. LOST
  • In the interest of determining the science behind climate change, that the Association lobby for a Royal Commission into whether the activities of mankind are responsible for causing any change. CARRIED
  • That the Association in conjunction with NFF, call upon the Federal Government to undertake a full and open examination of the science surrounding the theory of man-induced climate change. CARRIED

    b) That the following policy be inserted:

  • NSW Farmers acknowledges that primary producers are on the front lines of seasonal variability, exacerbated  by a changing climate, and supports its members playing an active role in the issue. CARRIED
  •  NSW Farmers encourages Governments to support the transition from fossil fuels like coal and gas towards more renewable energy sources in rural, regional and remote areas where their operation can be shown to be of a net benefit to farming communities. CARRIED

T4 approval disconnected from reality: the party’s over for coal

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 June 2015

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that the NSW Government’s recommendation that a fourth coal terminal be built in Newcastle was completely disconnected from the reality that coal is in terminal structural decline and that, without a coherent strategy for managing this decline, NSW risked leaving the workforce and coal assets stranded.

“The T4 process was started in a totally different environment for coal, but in recent years we have seen a significant change in the global coal market and in the social acceptability of coal which has led to the industry being in terminal structural decline,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“The decision to recommend approval for a fourth coal loader is completely disconnected from economic, environmental or social reality and underscores the piecemeal and unstrategic planning system that we have in NSW.

“The fact is the party’s over for coal.

“It is time for Mike Baird to face reality and start developing a strategy for the phase out of the industry rather than rush to approve new projects at a time when the coal price is below $70 a tonne, China’s coal imports are in decline and the G7 has just called for a phase out of all fossil fuels.

“As with other projects in the coal chain, this decision to recommend T4 should be reviewed in the light of the very dismal global prospects for coal exports from Australia, otherwise we risk being left holding stranded assets in the years ahead.

“Mike Baird needs to stop wining and dining with coal lobbyists and have an honest discussion with the electorate about the future of coal in the context of climate change and the structural decline of the industry.

“Voters are furious with the decision to allow mining in our best farming areas in the Liverpool Plains, and a clear majority want a transition to clean energy systems and away from fossil fuels.

“Coal is the whale oil of the 21st Century. The question is whether we are prudent and have a managed phase out strategy, or will we avert our gaze until there is a chaotic collapse?” Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Jack Gough – 9230 2202 or 0427 713 101

Coal phase out gathers momentum, but Labor & Libs refuse to open eyes

MEDIA RELEASE – 23 February 2015

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today welcomed the call of the Climate and Health Alliance and numerous health and scientific professionals for a phase out of coal mining in NSW, saying it shows the Greens policy for a coal phase out strategy is gathering momentum, despite Labor and Coalition trying to dismiss it.

“As the climate, health and local environmental impacts of coal mining are becoming evident, the call for a phase out of coal mining is gathering momentum” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Scientists conclude that 95% of NSW coal reserves must stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change, while the health costs are now estimated at $600 million per year for the Hunter Valley alone.

“The decision taken by the next Parliament will be critical in shaping our energy future and NSW needs to have a mature discussion on just how long we can continue to mine and burn coal and how quickly we should transition to renewable energy.

“Labor and the Coalition need to stop wining and dining with coal lobbyists and have an honest discussion with the electorate about the future of coal in the context of climate change and the structural decline of the industry.

“Voters are furious with the decision to allow mining in our best farming areas in the Liverpool Plains, and a clear majority want a transition to clean energy systems and away from fossil fuels.

“Coal is the whale oil of the 21st Century. The question is whether we are prudent and have a managed phase out strategy, or will we avert our gaze until there is a chaotic collapse?”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

The Greens plan to phase out coal and protect the climate is here.

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