Dr Malte Meinshausen report on the contribution of the Wandoan Coal Mine to climate change and ocean acidification


1. I have been asked by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) on behalf of Friends of the Earth – Brisbane Co-Op Ltd to provide an expert report on the resilience of the climate to emissions of greenhouse gases from the proposed Wandoan Coal Mine in Queensland, Australia. Other experts, including Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg are addressing related issues in separate reports, including ocean acidification. The reports are to assist the Land Court of Queensland in an objections hearing regarding the proposed mine.

2. The Wandoan Coal Mine is an open-cut coal mine proposed to operate for 30 years west of the township of Wandoan, approximately 350 km northwest of Brisbane and 60 km south of Taroom in the Surat Basin, Queensland, Australia (the mine).

3. The thermal coal deposits for the mine are estimated to be in excess of 1.2 billion tonnes, and are located within three Mining Lease Applications (MLAs 50229, 50230 and 50231), which comprise approximately 32,000 hectares. The coal from the mine is proposed to be crushed, processed and blended on site before being transported by rail to port for export or, possibly, for domestic use. The thermal coal produced by the mine is intended to be sold to other companies to be burnt in coal-fired power stations to generate electricity.

4. The Wandoan Coal Project environmental impact statement (Xstrata Coal 2008) and an accompanying technical report on greenhouse gas emissions (Clarke 2008) calculated that the emissions from the mining and use of the coal from the mine would be 1.3 billion tonnes (Gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide equivalents (GtCO2eq).

Environmental Law Publishing. Report.

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