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Question Time: the Government's exclusion of coal exports in its climate plan

On Friday 2 December 2022, I asked the Environment Minister whether she accepts the Land Court's findings that new coal mines in Queensland will make the climate crisis worse. 

You can read my question and the answer below, or find the full transcript and video link in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard)

Mr BERKMAN: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs. Last week the Land Court ruled that Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project should be rejected on human rights grounds because Queensland coal, wherever it is burnt, will make climate change worse. Does the minister accept that coal exported from Queensland will increase global emissions, worsen the climate crisis and harm flood- and fire-prone Queenslanders?

Ms SCANLON: I thank the member for the question. I have been sworn in for over 750 days as the environment minister and this is the first time the Greens political party has asked me a question in question time in this House. I am more than happy to answer the question. In relation to the particular project that the member outlined, it was obviously a very significant decision that President Kingham outlined in an over-370 page judgement, which the government is looking at. There are a number of recommendations in there. We are very proud to be the party that brought the Human Rights Act into this state. We will be looking through those recommendations. I do not want to prejudice any decisions by the independent regulator in terms of the environmental authority or the resources minister in terms of the mining lease. When it comes to emissions, the member knows how emissions are counted in this state. He also knows how global emissions are counted. They are well-known facts. Of course, we have set very ambitious climate measures through the energy plan. As has been mentioned before, the energy plan will deliver a 90 per cent reduction in the electricity sector, which is the biggest emitting sector in Queensland. This is huge transformational change. We are pivoting away from coal-fired power stations to clean energy hubs, delivering hundreds and thousands of jobs in that sector and associated sectors, maintaining public ownership and making sure that we deliver a jobs guarantee. That is something that our Labor Party is incredibly proud of. However, we acknowledge that it is not just the energy sector that needs to decarbonise; every sector needs to decarbonise. That is why, as part of the resources plan, we have also committed to decarbonisation plans. As members would know, the federal government has released a discussion paper in relation to the safeguard mechanism that will look at big emitters in this country having to reduce their emissions. We do not want to duplicate some of those systems or bring in a system that is inconsistent with it. We want look at what that plan delivers so that we can make sure that there is consistency across the country. I think we all acknowledge that every sector really needs to focus on this very big global issue. As I mentioned earlier in the week, we acknowledge that the international community is expecting us to do work in this space. We have had a reactive monitoring mission report that acknowledges a lot of the good work that Queensland is doing. It also acknowledges the fact that we have had years of the Morrison government refusing to take any action, saying that electric vehicles could destroy the weekend, blocking renewable energy projects—

Mr BERKMAN: Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order with respect to relevance. The question explicitly asked for the minister’s response on the impacts of coal exported from Queensland on global climate change and the impacts on Queenslanders.

Mr SPEAKER: Member, I agree that there are different parts to the question and the minister has been addressing certain elements of the question. I ask the minister to come to that element of the question.

Ms SCANLON: I believe I did address that in terms of saying that global emissions accounting is publicly known and that the emissions we account for each year, in terms of the difference between scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, is all publicly available data. There are different measures on different states and globally around the requirements on us. We take them very seriously. We will continue to act in this space because we know that Queenslanders expect that.

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