Greg Hunt, Environment Minister for Tony Abbott’s government in Australia has recently approved four gas and coal extraction projects in the area of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef ecosystem.
With contractors including energy giants from India and China in collaboration with Western European companies, the completion of the project would create some of the biggest coal mines in the world, one of the terminals being able to export as much as 70 million tones of coal per year.
The decision is especially controversial given that it will require the dredging up of almost three million cubic metres of material from the bottom of the ocean to be dumped on the sea floor, which could cause irreparable damage to the Great Barrier Reef.
The approval of new industrial measures in Australia is yet another manifestation of humanity’s accelerated push for continued extraction of fossil fuels. According to the Global Carbon Project, between 1750 and 2012 our fossil fuel burning has emitted about 1,407 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Humanity will likely reach an all time high of emitting about 36 billion tonnes of CO2 from this year alone, something which has not been observed since the Plioscene era, 2.6 million years ago.