Saturday 21 November 2009

World's largest coal loading facility quietly planning to raise land height to avert being flooded by sea level rise

Coal exports are the heroin trade of the carbon world - the fossil fuel that James Hansen and others tell us we have to stop using urgently if we're to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.

I've been in Australia this week, and a friend briefed me on this amusing story: Newcastle in Australia handles more coal exports than any other port in the world. A $900 million project to develop an existing coal loading facility into the world's largest facility was approved in 2007 in the face of an extended community campaign against it by climate change groups.

A few months ago the consortium developing the project quietly applied for a variation to their planning consent - to raise the height of the whole island two metres. Why? to protect it against sea level rises expected as a result of climate change.

There is a delicious irony in there.

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