Report labelled 'comic book'
GREENPEACE has released a scathing report into the environmental impact of nine coal mines proposed for central Queensland's Galilee Basin.
The report highlights the role the projects will have in contributing to global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their potentially devastating impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
But not everyone is swallowing Greenpeace's bitter pill. The Queensland Resources Council has responded to the report, labelling it a "comic book" with "zero credibility".
Greenpeace chief executive officer David Ritter said mining industry numbers revealed the projects, if approved, could create more carbon pollution than the entire United Kingdom.
"If these mines proceed the emissions from burning the coal would be over 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year," Mr Ritter said.
"Indeed if the Galilee was a country, it would be the seventh biggest emitter of carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels in the world.
"We mustn't be fooled into thinking the slowing coal boom will solve this problem. It may re-calibrate the timetable, but the approvals are all still sailing through."
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said Greenpeace's estimated annual coal production figures were exaggerated.
"Not satisfied with their February 2012 prediction that Queensland would be exporting 944 million tonnes of coal by 2020, Greenpeace's 'scary monsters' unit has lifted their fanciful prediction to 1056 million tonnes of coal exports from Queensland ports," Mr Roche said.
For the Galilee Basin alone, Greenpeace predicts 330 million tonnes of coal will be produced annually once all nine mines are fully functional.
Mr Roche said according to the Federal Government's Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, total coal exports for 2020 were likely to be closer to 301 million tonnes.
"Who is the public to believe-the independent experts at BREE or the people from the scary monsters unit at Greenpeace?" he said.
- 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and;
- 330 million tonnes of coal per annum to be produced from proposed Galilee Basin mines.
Queensland Resources Council response:
- Queensland coal production last financial year: 165 million tonnes.
- Growth during past five years: 1.5% annually
- Predicted high range Queensland coal production in 2020: 327 million tonnes.
MACKAY Conservation Group has applauded Greenpeace's report.
Group co-ordinator Patricia Julien said with most of the coal due to be burnt in developing nations, Galilee Basin projects would contribute significantly to global greenhouse emissions. "This coal will go mainly to coal-fired power plants in China and India," Ms Julien said. "Of the coal-fired power stations being built in the world, about half use old inefficient technology instead of more modern designs. There will be few reductions in emissions from Galilee Basin coal exports."
MARKET factors are more likely to prevent coal projects in the Galilee Basin than environmental campaigns, a CQUniversity professor has said.
Resource economist professor John Rolfe said Greenpeace's figures for predicted Queensland coal export were unrealistic. "I expect the current downturn in prices to slow down expansion quite a bit," Prof Rolfe said. "So I think (the) estimates are ambitious targets. I think what (Greenpeace) is really asking for is for Australia to save world emissions problems by stopping production of coal."