Our environmental guidelines are failing us in the face of the weather crisis | Tim Flannery

Late on a Friday night, just a couple of months ago, Australia’s federal surroundings minister quietly waved by way of a coalmine extension that will outlive most of us.

The Gregory Crinum coalmine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin now has a environmentally friendly light-weight to function for yet another 50 many years, right up until 2073. The extra coal, when burnt, will include about 31m tonnes of carbon dioxide to the ambiance the moment it is burned. That equates to 6% of Australia’s once-a-year emissions.

I’m not exaggerating when I say if we really don’t prevent this rampant acceptance of fossil gas projects, by 2073 we’ll be residing by way of the big-scale destruction of ecosystems and will have breached multiple tipping details, major to the collapse of our food stuff units and hellish heat and fires.

This is just 1 of 4 main fossil gas approvals that’s been greenlit beneath the Albanese federal government. And it is a awful illustration of just how broken Australia’s environment regulation is. Like all the other people, this approval was granted less than the Surroundings Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).

This legislation, astonishingly, fails to deal straight with the major danger Australia’s ecosystem now faces: weather adjust. There are at least 21 more fossil gasoline tasks now in the EPBC approval pipeline, and dozens a lot more proposals that have been declared, but not yet lodged for assessment.

The Albanese govt promised right before the last election that it would improve our national surroundings legislation. But it’s now languishing on its to-do record.

Australia, our impressive country, with its lush rainforests, lively coral reefs and awe-inspiring landscapes, is also the world’s initially country to lose a species to the local weather disaster.

The Bramble Cay melomys, a cute mouse-like creature native to an island in the Wonderful Barrier Reef, was officially declared extinct in 2019. Its fate stands as a stark reminder: each working day is Threatened Species Working day until finally we halt burning fossil fuels.

Regrettably, it will not be the very last species we lose to local climate modify. Why? For the reason that the EPBC has a evident blind place when it comes to local weather alter. It represents a total failure to secure the necessities of our Australian way of everyday living that sustain us all: clean up air, drinking water, wildlife and ecosystems.

We urgently need a sturdy regulation that safeguards not only our purely natural miracles but our wellness and financial system much too. A regulation that says a resounding “yes” to responsible, clean power and sector assignments and an unambiguous “no” to ventures that exacerbate the local climate crisis.

The Setting Council of Central Queensland is gearing up for a battle to established this precedent, difficult the government’s reckless coal mining conclusions in court.

The choices this group are preventing to overturn involve the MACH Energy’s Mount Enjoyable Optimisation Venture, a thermal coalmine growth, and Whitehaven’s Underground Mine Phase 3 Extension Challenge, another expanded thermal coalmine in Narrabri, which will – amongst them – produce near to 1.5bn tonnes of CO2e, almost triple all of Australia’s annual emissions very last yr.

Blaming the rubber stamping of these planet-killing shockers on a clunky aged legislation just isn’t excellent sufficient. Basically expressing one’s arms are tied for the reason that this project is compliant with the law although glossing more than the electricity a single has to adjust that pretty regulation – nowadays – is not management.

Let’s get true: our nationwide surroundings regulation is a relic from the Howard-era. It’s now much more than 23 decades aged. We now know a great amount additional about the dire outcomes of climate transform on species and ecosystems than we did in 1999.

Without a doubt we’re now living as a result of the age of local weather penalties and the panic of what an very challenging El Niño could deliver. With every single coal and gas undertaking authorized, we’re not just getting rid of species. We’re dropping our Australian identity and the purely natural legacy we owe our youngsters.

The connect with to action is clear and urgent. There is absolutely no put for new and expanded fossil gas projects. The Albanese govt now has a essential chance to clearly show management and bolster our national atmosphere legislation to guarantee each and every and each and every challenge is assessed for its weather impacts.

If we really don’t get this correct, we’re not just making each individual working day Threatened Species Working day, we’re headed toward a harmful, unfortunate, future, with damage and destruction that can not be unwound. There are no next likelihood or choose backs, it is now or by no means.

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