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Burke must reject Abbot Point port climate disaster

01 December 2011 - Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke must use his powers to reject the Abbot Point coal export terminal now that the Queensland Government has given it the go ahead, the Australian Greens said today.

The six new coal terminals proposed at Abbot Point would enable the export of an additional 180 megatonnes of coal each year, leading to some 450 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions when burnt. Australia’s total domestic emissions are 542 million tonnes.

“Tony Burke’s clear responsibility is to protect the Great Barrier Reef and he cannot claim to do that unless he rejects the Abbot Point coal expansion,” Australian Greens mining spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said.

“This massive proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal would put huge pressure on the Great Barrier Reef, both directly thanks to the dredging and reclamation for the terminal and the huge increase in coal ships travelling through it, and indirectly thanks to the carbon pollution it drives warming and acidifying our oceans.

“Anna Bligh’s Labor Government proclaims that Abbot Point will create jobs, but she never seems to mention that it will destroy tens of thousands more jobs that rely on a healthy Great Barrier Reef – in tourism and fisheries – and on a healthy Murray Darling system.”

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said “The Abbot Point coal terminal proposal is a prime example of Australia’s climate policy and energy policy being on a direct collision course.

“Martin Ferguson’s fossil fuel fixation is at odds with Greg Combet’s Clean Energy Future plans and Tony Burke has to choose which side he is going to come down – coal or the climate?

“We cannot drive a massive increase in coal exports with one arm of government and with another arm pretend that we are taking the climate crisis seriously.”

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