Kalbar and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Part 2) by Alistair Mailer

Extracts from a Submission for EES on the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Mining project in East Gippsland*

13. The EES Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) assessment report has stated that Australia has set an ambitious (my italics) target (under the Paris Agreement) to reduce its emissions by 26-28 % below 2005 levels by 2030. The author of the report has merely spouted federal government spin on the present paucity of government policy. Scientific opinion both in Australia and overseas considers that such a target is far from ambitious, and even if all of the nationally determined targets set as part of the Paris Agreement were met, this would still result in global average temperatures rising by more than 3 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

So Kalbar considers the 26-28% reduction as ambitious! Such an assessment reveals that Kalbar has failed to realise the seriousness of the present existential global warming emergency when assessing the consequences of the project’s GHG emissions.

14. The EES GHG assessment report claims that, in calculating the magnitude of CO2-equivalent emissions, that the value for the Global Warming Proponent for methane should be only 21 tonnes. It is recognised that emitting methane will always be worse than emitting the same quantity of CO2, no matter the time scale; how much worse depends on the time period used to average out its effects. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth Assessment report from 2013 says that methane heats the climate by 84 times more than CO2 when averaged over 20 years – the approximate time period for the Kalbar project. The Proponent has clearly chosen, for some reason, to minimise calculated GHG emissions for the project period.

15. The proponent, in its EES, has failed:

a. to make any commitment to a reduction in GHG emissions over the life of the project;

b. to set targets for reduction in GHG emissions;

c. to provide any climate change risk scenarios analysis over the life of the project, and assess what, if any, resilience the mining operations would have in the event of dangerous climate change conditions occurring and

d. to acknowledge and assess any probable exposure to physical risks resulting from more extreme weather and climate conditions occurring during the life of the mining project.

*the author is a retired engineer, resident of Newlands Arm and lecturer on Environmental Sustainability at Bairnsdale U3A.