I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a court case in NSW in which climate activist Ned Haughton (who works with Rising Tide) is challenging the approval of concept plans for new coal power stations on the basis that the planning minister made an ‘irrational and illogical” decision that “no rational decision maker could have”. In a nutshell, Ned was arguing that the Planning Minister didn’t adequately consider the climate  impacts of the proposed power stations.

It was looking like the hearing would run into a 4th day but then it all seemed to finish quite quickly as the arguments from the planning Minister evaporated into thin air. His arguments were twofold and can be paraphrased thus:

1. Ned Haughton is not sufficiently affected to have standing to object to the power stations. Maybe Ned is from outer space?

2. He didn’t need to explicitly consider climate change because, well, youknow, like, we all know about climate change and stuff, and besides, he talked about climate change once in Parliament back in 2005 so that proves that I think about it all the time.

Thankfully the NSW court system is significantly more intellectually robust than the ‘bear pit’ of the NSW Lower House and the arguments, if that is what they can be called, were quickly dismissed and the hearing wrapped up.

The outcome is expected in December and it’l have interesting ramifications for the NSW Government’s plans to sell off the development sites before then. It is just one more spanner in the wheels of a privatisation plan that is looking wobblier by the day.

Speaking of throwing  spanners, activists from rising tide yesterday staged a blockade of the Newcastle coal port – the biggest export coal port in the world. Why? Because global warming threatens the future of much life on this planet and coal is the biggest single cause. We need to stop burning coal as soon as humanly possible. The thing that differentiates the rising tide activists from many senior industry and government figures around the world is not the analysis about the problem of coal, but differening views about how quickly the transition needs to happen.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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