When the Queensland state government declared the Carmichael coal mine as "critical infrastructure" we were appalled. Projects like the Carmichael coal mine are the antithesis of what our government should be investing in, especially if we are going to take the Paris Climate Agreement seriously.
The Abbot Point coal terminal is where the coal from the Carmichael Coal mine is set to be shipped. Photo © Positive Change for Marine Life.
As environmental scientists, we know that the adverse impacts of coal mining don't stop with climate change. This particular mine will also have negative effects on the Great Barrier Reef, fresh water sources, as well as threatened species such as the black throated finch.
The endangered black throated finch is at risk from the Carmichael coal mine. Photo © Eric Vanderduys.
With all of this in mind, we decided to take action. A group of us got together to write a letter to the Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Stephen Miles. We outlined the key environmental reasons why giving the Carmichael coal mine "critical infrastructure" status was a step in the wrong direction that could further jeopardize our unique natural environment. We also published a summary of the mine's environmental impacts in The Conversation, which was picked up by the ABC.
The Great Barrier Reef will be negatively impacted by increased shipping, dredging, and climate change resulting from the Carmichael coal mine. Photo © Positive Change for Marine Life.