Mega coal mines threaten Great Barrier Reef
by Guest Blogger
BlogpostbyJohn Hepburn, Greenpeace Australia
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="520" caption=" Tom Jefferson/Greenpeace"][/caption] In our campaign to stop dangerous climate change, Greenpeace is taking on one of the most urgent issues: the enormous expansion of coal mining and coal exports from Australia. Not only does coal expansion spell disaster for our global climate but it threatens one of the worlds most precious treasures, the Great Barrier Reef. The Galilee Basin, located in the heart of Queensland, is the site of a series of proposed mega mines that could see Australias coal exports more than double within a decade. Enormous coal mines mean enormous amounts of carbon pollution and supporting infrastructure including at least one rail line and multiple massive port terminals. Australia is on the brink of turning the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area into an industrial estate. Greenpeace documented the impacts of the coal expansion plans inBoom goes the Reef,a report released March 1, 2012. Impacts include:
- Six times more coal ships travelling through the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
- Six-fold increase in coal port capacity along the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This includes the development of Abbott Point port, which would become three times larger than any other coal port in the world. The Australian Government is set to approve this port within weeks.
- 113 million cubic meters of dredging in the World Heritage Area due to industrial expansion. This proposed dredging would destroy vital marine habitat, including habitat for endangered Loggerhead and Olive Ridley turtles.