Since the Paris Agreement took effect five years ago, the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) and its predecessor, the Planning Assessment Commission, have approved projects responsible for 3.2 billion tonnes of climate pollution, new analysis shows.
Since 2016, the IPC has approved 85% of the coal and gas projects put before it.
If the IPC approves all the major fossil fuel projects still on its books, it will approve a further 1.8 billion tonnes of CO2-e, the analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation shows.
“If all these projects proceed, this one body – the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission – will have given the green light to fossil fuel projects that will eat through a full 1% of the world’s remaining carbon budget,” said ACF lead environmental investigator Annica Schoo.
“While UN climate framework rules mean Australia is not held accountable for these emissions, because most of the coal and gas from these projects is burned elsewhere, Australia has a moral responsibility not to keep pushing climate-wrecking fuel on the world.
“ACF welcomes the NSW government’s commitment to reduce domestic emissions by 50% by 2030, but our analysis shows NSW is still approving and exporting globally significant quantities of pollution—pollution that is warming the planet and fuelling events like the Black Summer bushfires.”
Most of the fossil fuel projects in the pipeline, if approved, would result in thermal coal being mined, exported and burned well into the 2030s and 2040s.
The International Energy Agency says coal-fired power should be phased out by developed nations by 2030 and phased out globally by 2040.
“The federal and state approval of new and extended thermal coal mines is not in the spirit of the Paris Agreement and shows companies are banking on the world not meeting its emissions reduction targets,” Ms Schoo said.
“Prudent state and federal governments would rapidly shift away from this dying sector and reskill workers in clean export industries.”