Galilee Basin could be one of world’s highest emitters

IF THE Galilee Basin was a country, it would be the world's seventh highest emitter when fully operational.

But should emissions from the burning of Australian coal be the nation's responsibility?

Reef scientist Selina Ward has questioned who is responsible for the emissions: the country mining the coal or the nation that burns it.

When addressing a room of reef enthusiasts, she said the Galilee Basin would be among the world's highest emitters.

Environmental Defenders Office reef solicitor Andrew Kwan said a court had previously determined the state government did not need to consider the impacts of burning coal when approving a mine.


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He said this judgment was made following a court case against GVK Hancock's Alpha coal mine in the Galilee Basin that is currently under judicial review.

GVK Hancok External Affairs general manager Josh Euler said the United Nations recognised coal-fired generation should be the destination country, not the place of origin.

He said Galilee Basin projects presented an opportunity to access high quality thermal coal.

Ms Ward said legally Australia may not be responsible for emissions from its coal, and it could belong to the country that burns it.

But Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles disagreed and said a global cap on carbon would help change the emissions.

He said the number of mines or amount of coal Queensland allows to be mined were not going to have a "massive impact" on the amount of coal burnt in the world.