Aussie Court Rejects New Coal Mine Because Climate Change

Original image author Chris Potter, http://www.stockmonkeys.com, image modified

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

An Australian court has just rejected an application to build a new coal mine, because of the alleged impact burning coal extracted from the mine would have on global warming.

Court rules out Hunter Valley coalmine on climate change grounds

Michael McGowan
Fri 8 Feb 2019 10.20 AEDT Last modified on Fri 8 Feb 2019 11.23 AEDT

In his judgment, Preston explicitly cited the project’s potential impact on climate change, writing that an open-cut coalmine in the Gloucester Valley “would be in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

“Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts,” he wrote.

“Wrong time because the GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions. These dire consequences should be avoided. The project should be refused.

The chief executive of EDO NSW, David Morris, said the findings were historic for Australian communities that had been trying to fight new fossil fuel projects because of climate change.

It’s very difficult to see how any future coal project avoids the judge’s finding about this being the wrong time for it,” he said.

Morris said Australia was increasingly approaching a moment when approval of a fossil fuel project could be considered “unreasonable”.

“And unreasonableness is a ground of legal challenge,” he said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/08/court-rules-out-hunter-valley-coalmine-climate-change-rocky-hill

You might be tempted to believe that a broad judicial attack against industry which indirectly provides jobs for 120,000 Australians, and earns billions of dollars for the Australian economy could be interpreted by observers as an act of economic sepukku.

But Australian politicians have a plan; they hope that any income lost by shuttering climate damaging industries like coal extraction will soon be replaced by what they claim is a trillion dollar export opportunity, selling green hydrogen fuel produced by electrolysing water using solar energy to China.

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86 thoughts on “Aussie Court Rejects New Coal Mine Because Climate Change

  1. “when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.”

    Thank You President Trump for pulling the USA out of The Paris climate accord. This is a perfect illustration of why countries ruled by laws should never enter into agreements on principles with countries ruled by people. These agreements will be given the force of law in countries where that is taken seriously.

    Also a great example of a judge legislating from the bench. Appeal the ruling. We don’t have the full opinion but legal ruling should not be based on general agreements. They can only be based on legislation.

    • in order to meet generally agreed climate targets

      since this is a legal decision, this should be examined with legal clarity. The judge did not say it was “because climate/” , nor did he say was because of the warming it would cause. He did say it was to meet “agreed climate targets”.

      ie he is NOT making any judgement about the validity of the reasoning or the alleged need to for the targets, simply that the targets exist.

      This is a tragically stupid situation brought about the false priorities which result a fictitious, fabricated “existential crisis”.

        • Correct; but this is an activist Judge who once worked for the EDO, the environmental legal group representing the activists against the mine so he has gladly stepped into the grey area in this case. The situation could be simply resolved by the weak Australian government withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

          • then he should have recused himself for bias
            or should BE removed and decision overturned
            IF the locals dont want it ie loss of farmland(good land there) then fair enough
            company could offer options to minimise impact n unsightly
            openpits a bugger cos it really can affect rainfall
            qld openpit areas really have suffered some notable rainfall pattern changes due to upwelling heat from both the dark exposed areas and the not very well revegetated spoil/retired areas.
            I have this from people living there for decades who experience it first hand, and theyre NOT antimining at all, it feeds them and their families and township.

    • We now hold the new country name of Dumfukistan , send all your democrats and greens over and then I’ll pull the plug .

      • Yes! This is complete nonsense. By giving this decision, the judge must think that now because the future buyers of that coal can’t access it they won’t burn coal and they will shut down their plants rather than just buy it from someone else. Insanity!

  2. It’s a question of when will people revolt? Maybe it won’t happen until they are told to report to the community Sustainability Center on their 65th birthday to be euthanized and maybe sooner. Hopefully sooner.

    • I’ve been saying for some time that fighting this green lunacy will be the basis for the next civil and possibly world wars. I sure hope more people wake up sooner than that and fight it by voting out the green blob. Given the brain cleansing that is going on through the massive amounts of money held by these groups it will not be easy.

      • AL Millar,
        I have three giant healthy grandsons .
        Number one is happily going through McDonalds training process to be self employed.
        Number two is doing his doctorate in cancer research at a top university, and knows that co2 is plant food.
        Number three has been totally corrupted by the Scottish education system and is a lost cause believer in carbon dioxide as pollution.
        He is in his third year in an electrical engineering degree at a top Scottish university.
        They are completely indoctrinated into the global warming religion and are spending a large part of their time trying to build windmills sponsored by an international electrical supply company.
        Try as I might to mentor him in the reality of grown up energy generation – I am a failure.
        So there is not much hope for our progeny and I am a grateful 77 year old.

      • Because Mann is only 53 and there is still another 10-12 years left to get his libel suit settled.

    • It’s a question of when will people revolt? Maybe it won’t happen until they are told to report to the community Sustainability Center on their 65th birthday to be euthanized and maybe sooner. Hopefully sooner.

      we’ve seen this before only:
      the “community Sustainability Center” was called “Carousel”
      euthanization age was 30 not 65.
      It was the movie Logan’s Run.

      art was supposed to imitates life, not the other way around.

      • Poorly educated people are like frogs in heating water. The cognitive dissonance prevents them from accepting what is happening until it is too late.

  3. Coal emits a lot of emissions the way it is now burned. If it is burned using the ZECCOM™¹ (Zero Emissions Coal Combustion) Process it is as clean as solar, wind, hydroelectric or nuclear power.

    • Rich-
      there is ZERO reason to eliminate CO2 from the Coal energy production.
      There is ZERO reason to sequester any CO2

      ZERO!

      we are not that far from the basement of CO2 levels necessary to sustain healthy plant life.
      good grief its as if you folks pushing this sequestration horsehockey have never asked yourselves why produce manufacturers inject CO2 into their greenhouses?

      I was once that obtuse. I was. And then this magical thing happened. I started reading.

      • I’d say the magical thing that happened wasn’t reading per se. Even the occasional idiot can accomplish that. No, the magic is in comprehending what you read IMO.

      • Matthew, I’m like you. I was terrified at the thought that mankind was using the atmosphere as a sewer for the waste from burning fossil fuels. Then I started educating myself about CAGW. Now I realize that an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 1000 ppm or more would greatly benefit the planet and mankind.

      • Mr. Drobnick, if you knew anything at all about botany, you’d understand how important carbon dioxide is to have a healthy plant population, which absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere along with nitrogen and other CHEMICALS!!!! from soil, and water (when it falls out of the sky), and what the VAST volume of oxygen is, measured in tons, when returned to the atmosphere.

        Your ignorance of biology and botany in particular is annoying. Get a REAL book on basic biology. Learn something besides rubbish. And try to think about this: every time you inhale, you breathe in oxygen, and every time YOU exhale, YOU produce carbon dioxide. If you don’t want CO2 added to the atmosphere, please do your part by wearing a rebreather mask.

        No CO2 in the atmosphere means zero crop production, and zero plants anywhere.

        Are you trying to turn this planet into a desert?

        • Sara, I think you didn’t understand Mr. Drobnick’s post (or else confused it with someone else’s). He’s agreeing with you that plants need CO2 (IE “we are not that far from the basement of CO2 levels necessary to sustain healthy plant life” – he’s saying plants need/desire more CO2 than is currently in the atmosphere) and he’s telling Mr. Hood that’s why there’s ZERO reason to cut out CO2 emissions.

  4. It is a very dangerous trend when judges begin to hobble economic development based on the media frenzy about the latest end-of-times fetish, rather than ruling according to written law. A judge’s duty is to interpret the law as created by the elected government. I don’t believe Australia has any law forbidding resource developments based on their potential CO2 emissions. I am also doubtful about the legal basis for the comments about the esthetics of the coal mine. I do hope this is appealed to a higher court where common sense is more in fashion, if such a place exists in Australia.

  5. The Australians, like most of the western world and especially Germany and the UK have no one but themselves to blame.
    They vote in parties that have CAGW on their Manifestos and this is what they get.

    • A C Osborn said:

      like most of the western world and especially

      OH WOW, ….. I think you are correct about the dubious intelligence of the “western world” voters …….. because here in the US we suffer the same problem with the “west coast” voters, ……. from California to Washing State. 😊 😊

    • The consequences are worst than a single election.

      The cult of CAGW have infected/changed the legal system where it now makes decisions that should be made by politicians.

      The justification for the new uncontrolled power for the judicial branch is the idea CAGW which is pushed as an essential threat to life on the planet.

      The same problem has infected the Canadian legal system.

    • I feel the problem is deeper than that.

      In Oz we have the Watermellons who naturally push the word of Gaia. Then we have Labor, who shamelessly Supports The Worker while washing the feet of the inner city latte set who want the same workers destroyed because they are smelly. They push the word of Paris because that is what the latte set want to here.

      Then we have what SHOULD be the conservative right.

      Unfortunately the MSM decided what the conservative right needed was that Nice Mr Turnbull as leader as he would take those horribly racist sexist planet hating conservatives towards a better place in the ‘centre’. Then, with them destroyed as a party, they could vote Labor in which is what they wanted in the first place.

      (Lefties think like that for some reason. A Rightie will see the ‘opposition’ and not vote for them because they disagree. A Leftie will see the ‘opposition’ and get angry that they disagree, force them to agree, and then, now the world is perfect again, still not vote for them.)

      So the once conservative party got dragged Left by the MSM and all the little internal faction and adviser ‘moderates’ who wormed their way into positions of influence. They managed to convinced the otherwise rational political leaders that the ‘green issues’ are ‘very important with voters’ and that in order to ‘attract the environment vote’ they need to support ‘environmental issues’.

      And THAT is the flaw. There is some moronic belief that the ‘environmental vote’ is some sort of swinging demographic that can be won over. This is in reality TOTAL BOLLOCKS. People who think ‘environmental issues’ are the most important come election time vote Watermellon. Everyone else has a home loan to pay off, children to put through school and crippling power bills to pay. Their number one two and three issues revolve around getting a job that pays their bills and then keeping that job. Cute furry animals? I will look out for them after they foreclose my home loan as I will have nothing else to do while living on the street.

      So where we SHOULD have a politic party willing to say ‘Hey, if you want to support Paris then piss off back to the Greens, we are going to support jobs and industry’, instead we have a party that tries to sit on the fence and please everyone.

      And we all know that if you sit on a fence you only end up with splinters in your bum.

      Weep for us.

      • Craig from Oz

        Please join your local Liberal or National Party or LNP Branch, and make sure that your voice is heard.

        Same applies to any other readers from Australia. If you are not part of the sensible Liberal party movement, you can do very little – only “The Australian” will publish your letters, and you will compete with several thousands in trying to get on its letter pages.

        Please note Yanks, that Liberal here means those loving freedom, democracy and the rule of Law. Not the Socialists in sheep’s clothing (or is it wolf’s clothing) who call themselves Liberals over there. We have a few in the Liberal Party – they are known as LINOs – Liberals In Name Only.

  6. “Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts,” he wrote.”

    This is the real reason but is that defensible? Probably not so he throws in the climate bs because that is the grey area which can be argued until the people who want the coal mine just go away.

    • Social impacts? Meaning…. higher wages, improved economy and upward mobility?

      Just wondering.

    • “Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts,” he wrote.”

      Presumably hundreds of wind turbines don’t have the same effect?

  7. Is there a higher Aussie court here this nutty decision can be appealed ?

    Did the judge show his calculation of the amount by which “the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs ?”

  8. First all fossil fuels should be cut off being provided to Gloucester. Then the coal companies should stop delivering to all NSW plants.

    Finally, any NG lines should be shut down as some announced date so they can watch their increasing human suffering and the world watch.

    I think it would only take 1 drawn out month of this to show the world the stupidity.

    • The headline here is misleading. The judge isn’t setting policy. The NSW government had already rejected the mine. The company was appealing to the court to overturn the government decision.

      • You are being disingenuous there Nick. The Judges ruling was based on (his) opinion and *not* on any laws. He basically wrote “climate change” into the law from the bench.

  9. Switch off the electricity to the court 84% of the day (or whatever part is provided by fossil fuels in Australia).

    Then they can enjoy the Green life fetish – guilt free.

  10. I could not possibly be more disgusted in the Australian political system, parliaments and courts at this point, and not because of this, as this is just another predictable expression of the cultural rot.

  11. In 2010, Judge Preston received an award from AECEN for his judicial activism.

    Any guesses who chartered the AECEN or whose the member nations are?
    ====================
    https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php

    Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network
    In 2005, environmental agency leaders from 13 Asian countries established the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) to promote improved compliance with environmental legal requirements in Asia.
    The mission of AECEN is to promote improved compliance with environmental legal requirements in Asia through regional exchange of innovative policies and practices. Members presently include environmental agencies from: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, People’s Republic of China, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    ================
    Aussies should start learning Mandarin so like the Tibetans, you can assimilate with your new master one day.

  12. On another account aussie hippies should be happy as Qantas formally canceled orders for 8 A380 .
    Shall we tell them that each of the passengers of an airliner clocks an individual fuel efficiency of more than 105 mpg while leisurely cruising at 650 mph for up to 20 or so hours, no super chargers needed in the process ?
    Best of luck to beat that with a zero emission ludicrous mode enabled car.

    • did you also know it seems the maker was planning to phase that model out even before the orders were filled?
      I have a lot of “issue” with people flying for the sake of it..if you have a real need to be somewhere fast then fair enough ie funerals.
      but this go somewhere for a weekend by plane idea? no,
      i live in very clear skies rural area, the difference in skies where a lot of planes fly daily is huge
      and yes cars etc also make a filthy haze down low too, pity more wont carpool or one person does a groups shoping etc
      driving kids to school and sports is also daft, let em walk ride or use public means.
      Im old fashioned I know, but disease risk alone from OS travellers is massive as well as bio security.

  13. Here in the US, jurors deciding cases of civil or criminal lawsuits are repeatedly and forcefully instructed by judges that they must make their determinations based solely on the FACTS presented in the specific case (i.e., during the trial proceedings).

    I hope the Australian judge’s decision mentioned in this article is not indicative of the future of US court decisions, whether resulting from single judges or from juries.

    That is, upon what objective FACTUAL evidence presented during his hearing did chief judge Brian Preston rule that “what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions”?

    I’d like to see the factual, scientific proof that human-originated greenhouse gas emissions have been shown to affect global climate temperatures . . . it would be a long-awaited breakthrough!

  14. If its not already too late, I believe that EVERYONE – Politicians, Scientists, People at Large must begin to DEMAND Empirical PROOF that CO2 is Dangerous and is Causing “climate change” or “globull warming”! There is NO COMPUTER MODEL capable of completely simulating the World Climate. There are NO Scientifically Accepted Computer Models CAPABLE of showing dangerous CO2 Impacts! Garbage In – Garbage Out Computer Simulations are NOT SCIENCE, nor are they FACTS or EVIDENCE or “PROOF”! When Honest people begin to DEMAND REAL PROOF, the Religion of CAGW Dies! And, as far as NSW, CUT OFF ALL FOSSIL FUELED ELECTRICITY and then Watch their Idiotic Political Agendas change.

  15. “Wrong time because the GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions
    ========(
    If this precedent is allowed to stand then there is no legal basis to license anything that emits GHG. No ships no planes, no cars no trains, no fossil fuelled power plants.

    Because Ozzie precedent is often considered in other English speaking courts, don’t be so sure this won’t reach beyond Oz.

    There is a HUGE danger when courts start making the law.

    • Ferdberple
      February 8, 2019 at 8:56 am

      Yes Ferd…the logical extension to this is that we immediately instigate compulsory birth control. Why can’t the greens do this to save the planet? They should set an example for us…a win-win for everyone and Father Earth too!

    • Not a chance. Not a chance once the ALP/Green win federal power. We will have, enforced, 50% renewable energy targets, and energy prices with double in one single 3 years term.

      Mark my words! All this starts in the next few months!

      • dont assume shortarse will manage to get in..
        like with killary theres a pretty strong dislike of both the man and the policies hes pushing
        media spin doesnt always translate to real voters decisions
        my areas was the one broad got busted;-)( way overdue0
        BUT theres no way Lab/greens will get int this area
        Lib/nats will still walk it in

  16. Has the judge in question stopped buying everything made with coal? A very large percentage of products sold and used are made by coal energy.

    Then why prohibit the sale to other people? Unless the sale of coal is made illegal due to ghg , how is that any business of the court.

    How is this any different than banning all cars because people are killed by cars.

  17. I am becoming more and more pessimistic that the current young generations can understand what it means to do without stuff. The last time million of people had to learn to live without things was WWII when rationing meant not even being able to buy things. It meant Victory Gardens if you wanted to eat well, or raising your own animals to feed your family.

    I am afraid that in order for millennials or younger to learn the lessons of the past, we will need to go through a troublesome future where the deprivations of people are repeated as they were in the Soviet Union, China, and now Venezuela. Much of the socialistic banter now going on doesn’t bode well!

  18. The politicians got rid of Abbot a man dedicated to honesty, and now we have aussies who defy common sense. Their world has gone pear shaped. Rise up against these people who will destroy you and your wonderful country.
    I cannot believe Aussie survival instincts have been lost!

  19. Interesting judge knowing

    “GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs”

    coal mining coal products will increase global total concentration of GHGs.

    A judge able to seize coal minings emissions.

    he’s in the wrong academics special field – not justice but world explanation; isn’t that poetry / and / fiction.

  20. “And unreasonableness is a ground of legal challenge,” he said.

    Usually one would expect breach of peace to be a legal challenge.

    if already unreasonableness means a challenge to the judge he should be examined for reasonableness.

  21. Nice to know local planing decisions are being decided by frog eating bureaucrats patting each other on the back in another country. Democracy at its finest.

  22. It’s election year in Australia at the federal level and New South Wales state level too. We will see both levels of Govn’t, currently liberal (Conservative) be swept away in a landslide to the Labor (ALP) party with most likely an ALP/Green coalition.

    Australia is doomed!

  23. The judge bases all his decisions on the Stern report , in one case he gave out CD’s about the stern report to both sides before the court case began .
    So all his info comes from a failed economist who’s report was roundly blasted for its fake science and dodgy statistics.

  24. We, as citizens, commonly fail to learn from the lessons of history. We are all too prone to our minds filling up with useless trivia as well as the really important stuff. Not surprising, given the volume of material in front of us every day in this era of communication.
    In Australia, with laws as at present, a judge should not be allowed to make decisions like this judge, Preston, has done because the matter is beyond his authority. His place is to decide if those before him are acting in accordance with the laws of the land. He has no mandate to judge on matters beyond the written law and in this case, there is none relevant to the way he stated his decision.
    He might or might not be aware of some precedent. He used ‘environmental’ topic to say no to a coal mine. Back in 1987, some other judges said no to our uranium mining aspirations for ‘environmental ‘ reasons related to the United Nations World Heritage plans.
    Judge Preston, as several have noted in the 2019 matter, held office with an activist environmental group, Environment Defenders Office. In 1987, we had judge Murray Wilcox, a past president of President of the Australian Conservation Foundation 1979-1984. Neither had the courtesy to recuse, although many citizens would likely see conflict of interest.
    (As an aside, many people are now becoming more aware of the concept of “Sovereign Risk”, ways in which governments can shut the doors to international investment in their country by not maintaining a firm set of goal posts within which investors can be confident of reasonable stability. It is commonly a large ingredient in the collapse of nations and/or their governments).
    Those with an interest in legal precedents might like more detail. Here is one link that leads to others, although I consider it rather biased in style against those ugly miners. I think I can comment like this, because I was the main person who conceived, developed and managed the case on behalf of, and with the unrestrained funding of, my then employer. However, I do not know many people who have ever heard of this court case to learn the lessons of history from it. Geoff.
    http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AdminRw/1987/31.pdf

    • Front your post…

      “Judge Preston, as several have noted in the 2019 matter, held office with an activist environmental group, Environment Defenders Office.”

      So, basically, an anti-coal, believer in climate change judge was found to make the ruling. You won’t find that little fact published in the Aussie MSM!

    • Geoff,
      ” He used ‘environmental’ topic to say no to a coal mine.”
      I think you have been misled by this article. The judge did not do that. And he didn’t exceed his authority. It was a hearing of the Land and Environment Court. This hears disputes involving the Planning Ministry. In this case the company was appealing against the rejection of a planning application by the Minister, on environment grounds. The judge was required to adjudicate on the environment and planning issues. He did so at the request of the applicant. And he declined to overrule the Planning Minister’s decision.

  25. Following this judge’s logic(?) he’s also breathing at the wrong place and at the wrong time. I suggest he stops immediately.

  26. environment victoria is running a survey presently
    their bias to green is staggering, but it figures.
    however as a govt funded dept how they can suggest people who hold shares or use certain companies power,
    or use named banks who have coal and other interests protest and push divestment.. beggars belief and I suggest those companies could and SHOULD take offence and legal action to desist

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