Save the Great Barrier Reef From Coal Mining

Target: Greg Hunt, MP, Australian Minister for the Environment

Goal: Halt the development of the Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland, Australia.

The Australian government approved the development of a major coal mine in the state of Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef. The Carmichael mine is a U.S. $12 billion/AUS $16 billion project with devastating environmental consequences for Australia’s air, water, soil, and wildlife. The mine would be the largest in Australia. It will excavate an estimated 60 million tons of coal a year, destined for export to India.

According to the Australian Conservation Fund, the mine would produce over 128 billion tons of carbon dioxide and deplete 297 billion liters of groundwater.  It would threaten two endangered native Australian reptile species, the Yakka skink and the Ornamental Snake; concerns over the danger the mine would pose to the creatures had prompted an Australian court to dismiss the approval the federal environmental minister had given to the mine project.

The mine and its associated infrastructure development — most notably a planned railway — would only create an estimated 10,000 jobs. That is an extremely low number, especially considering the cost that the mine would extract from Australia’s environment and the overall impact that the project would have on the country’s CO2 emissions. Critics estimate that the emissions from the mine would be equal to New Zealand’s entire yearly CO2 output. Australia had benefited from the Chinese economy’s voracious appetite for raw materials and energy throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, but that economic growth has slowed, and with it, the market for Australian natural resources. The economic case for a project of this scale is therefore rather doubtful.

The Carmichael coal is environmentally harmful, including as a major new source of carbon emissions at a time when the global consensus on climate change is strong and political will is building to affect the significant economic changes necessary for a future free of fossil fuels, and does not have economic logic behind it. It would do more harm than good to Australia, and should therefore be rejected by the Australian government. Demand that the Australian government reverse its decision and halt the planned construction of the Carmichael coal mine.


Dear Mr. Hunt,

The Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland should not be allowed to proceed. Its environmental effects will be significantly harmful, affecting Australia’s carbon footprint, its groundwater, its unique and endangered animal species, and its landscape, all in return for very little benefit to ordinary Australians. The company behind the project itself only projects 10,000 jobs will result from the mine. Meanwhile, as you surely know, the mine is forecast to have the capacity to emit 128 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year. Coming at a time when global leaders are planning efforts to slow and reduce the effects of climate change, the approval of this project would send a poor signal about the Australian attitude towards the future of the planet.

Australia would be better off if this project is rejected on both environmental and economic grounds.   Please rescind your ministry’s approval of the Carmichael Coal Mine project.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Stephen Codrington

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  1. I am against any significant pollution which dirties ground, water, or air, but global warming is not pollution. If a coal fired plant were made to be 99.999% clean, then it is not a polluter. NASA recently reported that there are billions more tons of ice created each year than melted and that Antarctica is the largest its been in decades.

    • Anais Anthony says:

      What means would be used to extract the coal? Burning carbon is not a clean nor efficient means of energy. Most of the people who support carbon based energy work for or have shares in the industry, in other words, profit-driven. I am sceptical of increase in the ice of the Antarctic. Could you provide a source please? The ice of the Arctic circle has greatly diminished in just the last few years.

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