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7 May 2016

The Greg Hunt Shame Files

1) Hunt thinks there is no link between coal mines and climate change.
2) Hunt adds 49 species to the threatened and endangered list - on the quiet.

The Guardian -No definite link between coal from Adani mine and climate change
 The federal environment minister has argued in court that coal from Australia’s largest coalmine would have no “substantial” impact on climate change and as a result he did not need to consider whether it would affect the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Conservation Foundation challenged Greg Hunt’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael mine, alleging he failed to consider the impacts the burning of the coal from the mine would have on climate change and hence on the Great Barrier Reef.
Scientists have found the current mass bleaching event affecting 93% of the reef was made 175 times more likely by climate change and would become a biennial event within 20 years. After that point, the continued existence of the reef would be in doubt.
In federal court documents obtained by Guardian Australia, Hunt denied he failed to consider the impacts of coal on the reef.

In the outline of submissions filed on behalf of the minister, the Australian government solicitor explains that the minister did not think the burning of the coal “would be a substantial cause of climate change effects” and would have “no impact on matters of national environmental significance”.
The minister’s reasoning was that whether the burning of the coal would make climate change worse depended on whether it would increase the total amount of coal burned globally. But he notes there are a “raft of factors” that could affect how much coal was burned globally, including whether the coal from the mine displaced other coal and whether it was dealt with within various national emissions targets.
He concluded that there “was no requisite relationship between combustion emissions and increases in global temperature”.

Further, the minister argued that since the net impact was “difficult to identify”, there was no need to impose conditions on the mine, such as that climate impacts would be offset.
“Put simply, because any increase in net global greenhouse gas emissions was a matter of speculation, there was no need for or utility in the imposition of conditions.”
The Australian Conservation Foundation was represented by the Environment Defenders Office Queensland. The court case was heard in the federal court in Brisbane on Tuesday and Wednesday and a decision is expected within three to six months.

The Guardian- Australia quietly adds 49 species to threatened and endangered lists
 Nearly 50 new species of flora and fauna have been added without fanfare to the federal government’s list of threatened species, including nine that are critically endangered.
Among the species to be added to the list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act were the brush-tailed bettong (endangered), the three-toed snake-tooth skink (vulnerable), the swift parrot (upgraded from endangered to critically endangered), and several types of orchid and albatross.
Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Jess Abrahams said 49 species were added on Thursday without notice from the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, or his ministry.
“Normally they’ll put out a press release and talk about all the great work they’re doing to turn this around. This time it just slipped out.”

Hunt’s office and the threatened species commissioner, Gregory Andrews, have both been contacted for comment.
Abrahams noted that no new funding had been put towards the existing threatened species strategy in the budget on Tuesday, meaning programs to bring animals such as the Leadbeater’s possum back from the brink of extinction were unable to be delivered.
Most of the species were threatened due to habitat loss, he said – and commercial activities that contributed to this were ongoing, compounding the problem of inadequate funding.
“What hope is there? ... The logging continues, the habitat loss continues – it’s no surprise that the species ends up on the threatened species list.”

The ghost bat, a late addition with a vulnerable status, has now joined two other threatened species on the list: the large-eared horseshoe bat (endangered), and Semon’s leaf-nosed bat (also vulnerable).
All live in the Melody Rocks near Cooktown on Cape York Peninsula, which fall under a mining proposal under consideration by the Queensland state government.
The limestone karst formations and their associated cave systems are key habitats for the three species, and Abrahams said the only known breeding site in Australia for two of them.
The mining proposal is currently before the Queensland government but has yet to be referred to the federal government for assessment under the EPBC Act. Approving it would only put the bats further at risk, said Abrahams.

The greater glider, found in East Gippsland in Victoria, was also having its habitat destroyed even as it was listed as vulnerable species.
The Goongerah Environment Centre reported that 11 greater gliders were found in a citizens’ survey of 850km of the Errinundra plateau, currently being logged by VicForests, just last week.
In East Gippsland, greater gliders are protected by law when more than 10 animals are found in a 1km long survey.
VicForests suspended its operations after GECO submitted its survey data to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 28 April.


PostGrowth said...

Mr Greg Hunt is using a statistical fudged innocence defence, so that it cannot be certain that our coal that is contributing to global warming. By the same defence, Cigarettes don't cause cancer, and neither does selling them, and when sliding into global mass extinction events, a few new coal mines either way won't make any difference. This wrong by the "well mixed" proposition, that only the total amount of CO2 emissions matters, and the carbon budget idea, and progressive carbon tax idea, that each additional tonne of CO2 from fossil fuel is more over-kill. Nature will tell us soon enough that we may have passed the over-kill threshold some time ago

PostGrowth said...

It is so retrograde of Australian politicians to try and promote a boom in both coal and gas at the same time, at the expense of the environment, after 40 years of observed global warming trend from industrial carbon emissions.