Australian Government Approves Destruction Of Great Barrier Reef
Australia Approves Coal Port Near Great Barrier Reef
"This week Australia approved the expansion of an existing coal port at Abbot Point near the town of Bowen in northern Queensland to handle projected exports from the Galilee Basin, an inland geological depression thought to hold vast coal reserves but where development has been hampered by lack of export infrastructure.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has promised that some of the "strictest conditions in Australian history" will be placed on the developers, but environmentalists claim that the dredging required to enable massive ships to access Abbot Point will harm the World Heritage-listed reef at a time when it is already suffering from the effects of climate change.
"It’s hard to dump five-and-a-half million tonnes of mud and sand in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without doing massive environmental damage," says Greenpeace representative Louise Matthieson.
Australian coal exports have jumped 30 percent since 2008, driven by surging demand in China, to 339 million tons a year and are projected to rise a further 40 percent from current levels by 2017 and it's currently the second biggest coal exporter. Coal exports were worth $44 billion last year. Though there have been some concerns about Australia's mining boom and the growing reliance of its economy on resource extraction, an industry friendly Liberal-National coalition government was ushered into power in September.
The decision to green light the port expansion, together with approval to build a $18 billion liquefied natural gas facility and associated pipeline at Gladstone, was the new government's first major move to deliver on its promise that it will back the expansion of mining and gas exploitation.
The two largest miners in the Basin are Indian companies GVK and Adani, which want to use the coal to secure long-term supplies for power-starved India.
In June Unesco’s World Heritage Centre warned that the Great Barrier Reef would be placed on its "in-danger" list if there were major new port developments. The reef is now officially listed as being in ‘poor’ health by government scientists, with overall coral cover declining by 15 percent since 2009 due to cyclones and floods, pollution and attacks by the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.
The greatest long-term risk to the reef - as it is to those around the world - isn't the possibility of sediment damage or oil spills. It's from the byproduct of burning goal and other fossil fuels being returned to the world's oceans.
The world's oceans soak about half of the extra carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by human activities and the more carbon dioxide there is in the water, the harder it is for marine animals like corals to produce their shells. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority says "in the long-term, ocean acidification is likely to be the most significant impact of a changing climate on the" reef. Since 1990 alone, the growth rate for one of the reefs major coral species has dropped 14 percent, probably because of rising Co2 levels.
Australia is currently one of the largest per capita Co2 emitters in the world, and that doesn't account for coal and gas exports that are burned elsewhere."
End of excerpt.
Hay Point Coal Terminal, Queensland, Australia. 28/7/12
© Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace
All this to satiate an insatiable desire for money even at the expense of our World Heritage Sites. Where does the insanity end? When we do actually start holding governments that do this accountable in the World Court for crimes against humanity?
© © Hamilton / Greenpeace
This is what your grandchildren will have of what will be left of this world treasure. What of the marinelife? The water? The natural beauty?
“The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the World Heritage Committee’s clear position in relation to oil and gas exploration and exploitation, that these activities are incompatible with World Heritage status.”
Australian government dismissing science, the reality of climate change, as well as the cultural heritage of their own country to put the dollar bill first. Immoral to the core.
"Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has promised that some of the "strictest conditions in Australian history" will be placed on the developers..."
Politicians are so full of sh&& aren't they?
Cooking The Climate, Wrecking The Reef