Turnbull government refuses to come clean about Carmichael coal mine pollution

In response to Greens’ questioning, today Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull again refused to tell Parliament how much pollution the coal from the government-approved Carmichael coal mine will produce and Senator George Brandis ridiculously claimed that the mine would reduce pollution.

In Question Time last month, Greens energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP asked the Prime Minister how much greenhouse gas pollution will come from digging up and burning all the coal in the Carmichael mine that his government had re-approved. The Prime Minister responded: “I am very happy to take the Honourable Member’s question on notice and will do the calculation and let him know.”

In Question Time today, a month later, Mr Bandt followed up the Prime Minister today, saying “I haven’t heard from you” and questioning whether the Prime Minister has “realised it’s not a good look to go to the Paris Climate Talks admitting you approved a single coal mine that alone will generate more pollution than the entire European Union does in a year?”

Mr Bandt said in response: “It's time for the Prime Minister to come clean about the Carmichael coal mine.”

“Instead of ducking and weaving, the Prime Minister must tell Parliament just how much climate pollution will be pumped into the air from this massive coal mine that his government approved.”

“Malcolm Turnbull won't admit that he's heading off to Paris climate talks having approved a mine that will create more pollution than the entire European Union does in a year.”

In the Senate, Larissa Waters, Greens climate change spokesperson, asked how the Turnbull Government would defend its approval of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest coal mine at the Paris climate talks.

“In response the Attorney-General actually said the Adani mine would reduce pollution, showing big mining companies’ political donation dollars are clearly at work.”

“Senator Brandis then repeated the coal industry’s self-interested and false claim that coal will relieve energy poverty, ignoring that renewable energy is a cheaper, healthier alternative, that doesn’t pollute local air and water quality or exacerbate climate change.”

“Despite expressing apparent concern for people in developing countries, the Attorney General refused to make any commitment to contributing our fair share to the Green Climate Fund when I asked in a subsequent question.”

“As a co-chair of the Green Climate Fund, we should be contributing our fair share, at $300 - $400 million per year over the next four years to assist developing nations to cut pollution and adapt to global warming,” Senator Waters said.

Clips of questions:

Watch Mr Bandt’s question to the Prime Minister today here and Senator Waters’ question to Senator Brandis here. Here is a clip of Mr Bandt’s original question to the Prime Minister on October 22 this year.

Media contacts:

Adam Bandt MP – Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054
Senator Larissa Waters – Monique Vandeleur 0419 626 725


The Joint Report to the Land Court of Queensland on “Climate Change – Emissions” states that between 4.49 and 4.64 billion tonnes of CO2 will be produced by the mine’s coal, and that: The cumulative emissions related to this mine (4.49 or 4.64 gigatonnes CO2-e) are amongst the highest in the world for any individual project, and – to the knowledge of the authors – the highest in the Southern Hemisphere. … the magnitude of the annual emissions associated with the burning of the coal would be equivalent to approximately three times Australia’s annual emissions reduction target of 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.

According to the Parliamentary Library: In 2014, total greenhouse gas emissions (excluding LULUCF) for the EU-28 plus Iceland were estimated to have fallen 185.4 Mt CO2 e or – 4.1% compared to 2013. This was estimated to be – 24.4% below 1990 emissions.[1] This gives an overall GHG emissions total for 2014 of approximately 4417.5 MtCO2-e (approx. 4.42 gigatonnes CO2-e).