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Australian court rejects coal mine on climate grounds

AFP  |  Sydney 

An on Friday delivered a landmark ruling by rejecting plans to build a mine on the grounds it would worsen

said a planned open cut mine in a scenic part of New state would be in "the wrong place at the wrong time".

The ruling by the Land and Court was notable for citing not only local impacts of building the proposed mine, but also secondary "impacts" of the eventual use of the

"not that this aggregate of the Project's GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions may represent a small fraction of the global total," the justice said.

"Not every natural resource needs to be exploited."

The case was unusual in referring to the 2015 Paris Agreement and Framework Convention on and calling climate scientists to testify.

Will Steffen, a noted climatologist, told the court that Australia's average surface temperature had increased one degree centigrade over the last century.

Baker & McKenzie's of climate law, Martijn Wilder, said the decision reinforced the trend in legal judgements around the world that directly link fossil and climate change.

It also added to the growing perceived risk of coal investments, he told


"In both Australia, and around the world, financiers have largely decided that, except in some exceptional circumstances, investments in coal are not viable and that such investments will now be stranded," he said.

Climate activists have described the case as a "seminal judgement" in Australian law and hope that it sets a legal precedent.

is one of the world's largest producers of coal and the world's largest exporter -- fuelling powerplants in Japan, China, and

"It's a judgement of enormous significance," said David Morris, a for Environmental Defenders Office, which represented local residents against the project.

"It heralds the arrival of climate litigation in Australia, the first time climate change has featured as a ground for refusal of a fossil fuel project in this country and, as far as I'm aware, anywhere," he told AFP.

The described the ruling -- which could yet be appealed -- as "significant."

Gloucester Resources, which was not immediately available for comment, had said the project would create 170 jobs and would be in place for two decades.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 15:00 IST
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