The Australian Conservation Foundation is back in court in Brisbane today, challenging the federal government’s use of the ‘drug dealer’s defence’ to support its approval of Adani’s mega-polluting mine.

The government is essentially arguing that if Australia doesn’t let Adani dig up and burn coal, some other country will and the effect on the climate will be the same.

Today’s hearing sees ACF appealing an earlier decision in its case challenging the federal approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine under the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The Federal Environment Minister argued that he could not determine that the mine’s pollution would increase net global greenhouse emission levels because other countries may provide the coal instead of Australia or other countries may move to reduce their emissions, offsetting the pollution from Adani’s mine.

“Basically, the government is using the drug dealer’s defence — the argument that if we don’t dig up this coal and burn it, somebody else will,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“This drug dealer’s defence is unethical and mocks the efforts of countries that are working to reduce global climate pollution, as Australia agreed to do under the Paris Agreement.

“The Great Barrier Reef is already under enormous stress, with scientists warning the reef could be hit by coral bleaching for the second year in a row — the last thing it needs is a huge new coal mine, fuelling global warming and killing coral.

“It is shameful that a national government in the second decade of the 21st century would shirk responsibility for the impact its decisions have on the global climate and on places we love, like the Great Barrier Reef.”

ACF is being represented in court by the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email