The Australian Conservation Foundation’s challenge to Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine begins in the Federal Court today.
“Today marks the first day of a landmark climate change case in Australia,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“ACF, Australia’s national environment group, is taking the federal Environment Minister to court, alleging that he unlawfully approved the largest coal mine in Australia’s history without having proper consideration to its climate change impacts.
“Specifically, ACF will argue the Minister’s approval is inconsistent with the Australian Government’s international obligations to protect the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“The case comes at a crucial moment in Australian history.
“Over the last two months 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by coral bleaching – a direct result of abnormally warm sea temperatures.
“Scientists say this is the worst mass bleaching event the Reef has ever experienced.
“This is a modern phenomenon that is connected to climate change – scientists have only observed mass coral bleaching events since the 1970s.
“If the Carmichael mine is allowed to proceed its coal will produce 128.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year at peak production, contributing to the world’s climate problem.
“This is the first case of its kind to be heard in Australia. The Court will be asked to examine a section of Australia’s national environment law that has never before been tested in court. If this case is successful it will strengthen climate change considerations and World Heritage protection in Australian law.”
The hearing commences at 10:15am today before Justice Griffiths in the Federal Court in Brisbane. ACF will be represented by Saul Holt QC, Chris McGrath, Emrys Nekvapil and the Environmental Defenders Office, Queensland.