Victoria could remain Australia’s worst global warming contributor up to 2030 after the country’s most greenhouse polluting power station failed to commit to serious emission reductions.
Hazelwood power station today released its environmental effects statement (EES) for a planned expansion to its Latrobe Valley coal mine, which would create an extra 85 million tonnes (Mt) of greenhouse pollution.
But the EES failed to address ways to reduce these burgeoning amounts of pollution – which is akin to putting nearly 20 million cars on the road for a year, said the state’s peak conservation body, Environment Victoria.
“The EES is a joke. It farcically examines the potential release of an extra 12,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases by bulldozers and other mining operations, but totally ignores the expected 85 million tonnes,” said EV’s global warming campaign director Darren Gladman.
Victoria – already one of the world’s biggest per capita greenhouse polluters – could not afford to expand the life of Australia’s most greenhouse polluting power station up to 2027, he said.
“The Bracks Government has shown foresight in combating global warming with wind farms and five-star energy efficiency for new homes,” said Mr Gladman.
“But it cannot allow such greenhouse successes to be obliterated by allowing the expansion of Hazelwood. If they do it would be an appalling case of policy schizophrenia.
“In the interests of reducing this state’s greenhouse gas emissions the best decision the Government could take would be to force Hazelwood to commit to substantial greenhouse reductions or better still refuse approval for the five-year expansion of the mine.”
Mr Gladman said the expansion would obliterate savings made in the five-star home energy efficiency rating, which aimed to save 30Mt over 40 years, by almost three times.
“Victoria is suffering record heatwaves, droughts and bushfires and just recently a leaked Pentagon report warned that climate change “could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy”.
“Scientists are in no doubt that greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming. So instead of trying to squeeze the last drops of life out of a dirty old power station, the Government must reject the expansion of Hazelwood.”
International Power Hazelwood (IRPH), a British company that owns Hazelwood, has released the EES for the two-phase expansion. Phase one will see two creeks and two roads moved, while phase two will provide an extra 90 million tonnes of coal. In 2001, the latest figures available, Hazelwood excavated 18 million tonnes of coal and emitted 17.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.