It might just be the moment fossil fuelers dread most - their production tied to direct environmental consequences. The Queensland, Australia coal-mining giant, Xstrata is going to court today over a plan to mine 30-million tonnes of coal per year for 30-years for the export market. Friends of the Earth Brisbane is objecting and plans to introduce scientific evidence of the specific consequences from this venture.
In statements already filed to the court, Dr Malte Meinhausen, a leading climate researcher from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, states the mine “could cause the extra annual flooding of the settlements and houses of 23,000 people worldwide by the 2080s”.
According to Xstrata's own Environmental Impact Statement, the mining operations and the burning of the mine's coal over 30 years will add more than 1.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Dr Meinhausen's statement says the emissions are the equivalent of more than seven times the Federal Government's target to cut emissions by five per cent by 2020.
Calculating the impact of those emissions, Dr Meinhausen claims they will push average global sea levels 23 millimetres higher, causing an extra 23,000 people's homes to flood every year.