Eight coal projects that the New South Wales government will consider in 2023 would add at least 1.5 billion tonnes to global greenhouse gas emissions if they all went ahead, according to the Lock the Gate analysis.
The anti-mining group said it was the largest proposed expansion of coal mining in the state since the Paris agreement on climate change was signed and showed the need for changes in planning laws to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse effect.
The analysis considered eight proposed expansions of existing mines that could be assessed and determined in NSW by 2023.
They include the Newstan mine near Newcastle, the Chain Valley colliery near Mannering Park, and the Moolarben mine east of Mudgee.
Lock the Gate produced its analysis using projected carbon emissions in available project appraisal documents.
The group found that the eight projects together would produce at least 1.5 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, including what are known as scope 3 emissions when coal is sold and burned, mostly abroad.
The majority of those emissions, about 1.2 billion, would be attributable to a single project, the Hunter Valley Operations project of Glencore and Yancoal.
Lock the Gate’s NSW coordinator Nic Clyde said the Perrottet government’s policy of allowing coal projects to continue was undermining its stated climate targets of cutting emissions 70% by 2035 and reaching the net zero by 2050.
“Dangerous climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal has led to devastating extreme weather events across New South Wales,” he said.
“[The planning minister] Anthony Roberts should have amended planning laws to put a safe climate ahead of coal and gas mining, but he hasn’t.
“Because of their lack of action, NSW is now looking down the barrel of the biggest climate bombshell of coal mine expansions since the Paris agreement, putting our future at risk.”
In assessments of other fossil projects, the state planning department noted that NSW had a large set of climate policies, but that policies to guide assessment of developments such as mines and industrial facilities were unclear on how to consistently assess emissions. .
Independents calling for stronger climate policies and ruling out new coal or gas projects are targeting key Sydney seats in next month’s state elections.
Victoria Davidson, the independent candidate for Lane Cove, said all government decisions must be seen with the effects of the climate crisis in mind.
“We are not going to reach our targets if we continue to expand and approve new coal and gas,” he said.
“If the government wants to be seen as climate friendly, it can’t make glowing announcements of new renewable energy zones and then approve new coal and gas projects.”
Helen Conway, the North Shore independent candidate, said the benefits of expanding renewable energy in the state would be eroded if coal and gas continued to expand as well.
He said the state also needed clear policies and targets to reduce emissions in other sectors, including transportation.
“If they were serious about this, they would legislate their emissions targets,” he said.
Roberts said the state’s net-zero plan laid the foundation for reaching an emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.
“NSW was one of the first Australian jurisdictions to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. We are now on track to cut emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels as the economy grows,” he said.
A spokesman for the planning and environment department said the impacts of all proposed mining projects have been fully investigated. They said the NSW Independent Planning Commission, which ultimately decides whether a project can go ahead, also set strict conditions when projects were approved.
They said all new projects would be considered against a goal of cutting emissions 70% by 2035 and the state’s strategic statement for coal exploration and extraction, which sets out the approach for transitioning to a low-carbon economy.