Two North Queensland teenagers have presented Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, with critical new evidence and strong legal grounds to revoke approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

They have done their homework when the federal government has not. Acting on their behalf, EJA lawyers obtained independent evidence from climate and economic experts.

This new evidence clearly demonstrates that Adani’s mine will increase global warming and cause significant damage to our Great Barrier Reef, contradicting reasoning for former Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval in 2015.

Minister Ley now has strong legal grounds to use her discretionary powers under Section 145 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to revoke the mine’s environmental approval.

So, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, will you consider the expert evidence and revoke approval of Adani’s giant Carmichael coal mine?

Meet the clients

Claire Galvin a young teenager stands in front of a beach
Brooklyn O'Hearn a young woman standing in front of some palm trees

Claire Galvin, 19 – Cairns

Claire remembers a childhood snorkelling the reef, and being “absolutely stunned at the entirely different world that was underneath the water – the most special thing ever.” She became increasingly alarmed at widespread coral bleaching, as did her friends, a number of whom work in tourism and on dive boats.

Claire is concerned about the impacts of burning the coal from Adani’s mine and the two mines it will facilitate on the Reef and the tourism and hospitality industries that rely on it, especially when towns like Cairns are already struggling because of coronavirus. “We need to urgently phase out fossil fuels, including coal, to ensure our reef and communities can thrive. Otherwise, Queenslanders will lose an international wonder and an integral part of our regional economy.”

Brooklyn O’Hearn, 17 – Townsville

Brooklyn became concerned about the climate crisis during the February 2019 floods in Townsville. She couldn’t go to school and her parents couldn’t go to work. Once she found out about the climate strike “I finally found a way I could take action. I was determined to find more ways I could help.”

In primary school she had learned about coral reef bleaching, and as she got older she recognised that the causes of and solutions to climate change include “fossil fuels and politicians with the power to stop harmful projects like Adani and fund our future with community-owned renewables.”

Since Adani’s mine was approved, we have grown up watching the Great Barrier Reef suffer numerous mass coral bleaching events, caused by climate change.

Brooklyn O'Hearn and Claire Galvin

We know that if Adani’s giant Carmichael coal mine goes ahead, it will lock in decades of carbon emissions and our magnificent reef will suffer.

Brooklyn O'Hearn and Claire Galvin

Our North Queensland communities rely on a healthy reef to survive. We are deeply concerned about the devastating impacts climate change is having on the Reef, the communities whose businesses and jobs rely on it, and future generations who may never get a chance to enjoy a healthy reef.

Brooklyn O'Hearn and Claire Galvin

The federal government has an obligation to protect our magnificent Great Barrier Reef for future generations under Australia’s national environment law.

Brooklyn O'Hearn and Claire Galvin

We are giving Environment Minister Sussan Ley an opportunity to be on the right side of history and revoke approval of Adani’s mine.

Brooklyn O'Hearn and Claire Galvin

Meet their lawyer

Ariane Wilkinson, Senior Lawyer, EJA

As a lawyer for Environmental Justice Australia, Ariane uses her legal expertise to advise and act for communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction and the impacts of climate change, and advocates to reform Australia’s laws to make sure they protect the right of all Australians to clean air, clean water and a safe climate future.

“In considering this new evidence Minister Ley must take into account both the precautionary principle and the principle of intergenerational equity – she should revoke approval of Adani’s mine to prevent serious and irreversible harm to the Reef and ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the Reef, and the communities who rely on it, is maintained for the benefit of future generations.”

Meet the experts and read their evidence

Bill Hare, climate scientist

Bill Hare’s expert report estimates the significant damage to the Great Barrier Reef as a result of exported emissions from Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and the Hyde Park and China Stone coal mines that was not identified in Minister Hunt’s original approval.

Bill Hare is a climate scientist and Director, Climate Analytics and Adjunct Professor, Murdoch University. He was lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, for which the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He led the influential World Bank Turn Down the Heat reports series in 2013-2014, and has authored many peer-reviewed articles in leading academic journals. He was instrumental in the negotiation of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Tim Buckley, financial analyst

Tim Buckley’s expert report demonstrates that the cumulative impact of carbon emissions from two additional proposed coal mines in the Galilee Basin, the Hyde Park and China Stone projects, must be considered as impacts of the Carmichael coal mine, because they will be facilitated by the construction of the Carmichael coal mine, to a major extent.

Tim Buckley is a financial analyst and Director of Energy and Finance Studies from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). He has 30 years of financial market experience covering the Australian, Asian and global equity markets. Tim has been a top-ranked equity research analyst and for many years was a managing director, head of equity research at Citigroup, as well as co-managing director of Arkx Investment Management P/L, a global listed clean energy investment company that was jointly owned by management and Westpac Banking Group. 

Paul Burke, economist

Paul Burke’s expert report finds that contrary to the claims in the Minister’s rationale for approval, the market substitution assumption is implausible and that it is much more likely that the extraction of coal from the Carmichael coal mine would lead to a net increase in emissions. The evidence finds that the opening of a new thermal coal mine would be likely to lead to a reduction in the market price of thermal coal and an increase in global thermal coal consumption of up to 50 percent of the output of the new mine. If the mine were to proceed, coal from the mine would displace the use of other energy sources including renewables.

Paul Burke is an economist and Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. He has published extensively on energy demand and other topics in leading peer-reviewed journals and is convener of the Energy Economics & Policy research cluster at the ANU Energy Change Institute. He holds a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University. 

Two young women stand in front of a marina in Townsville