Monday, December 18, 2006

Australian Court Blocks Coal Mine on Climate Grounds

This is a story dating from a couple weeks ago but well worth bringing to attention.

A court in New South Wales Australia, has ruled that a proposed coal mine must take into account its impact on climate change in its environmental assessment before being allowed to go forward. The ruling could impact a wide range of Australia's mining, energy and manufacturing industries, as well offer a lesson to Canadian business leaders.

The ruling occurred despite the fact that Australia has not ratified Kyoto, and was made on the strength of Australia's existing public interest laws - something that will become an increasing factor as evidence grows about the harmful human impacts of unchecked global warming. Such precedents have already occurred here in Canada as well.

Three years ago BC Hydro planned to build the GSX pipeline, an underwater natural gas supply line to run along the floor of the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island where it would fuel gas powered electricity generation. A federal review panel insisted that BC Hydro's proposal include a plan to offset the new greenhouse gas emissions caused by the project by 50% - the first ever decision of this kind in Canada. The project has since been abandoned, but the precedent remains in place.

Similar decisions will become more common in both countries, and as they do it will be increasingly in business' own interest to stop obstructing efforts to solve global warming and work with the rest of the world to establish clear rules to bring the change that inevitably needs to come.

1 comment:

Ian Milliss said...

Unfortunately the state government is backing the coal miners and appealing the environment court decision. Stay tuned.