Open letter to the Minister of the Environment

The Climate Council invites members of the Australian scientific community to sign the open letter below in support of the Central Queensland Environment Council’s legal intervention.

The challenge focuses on how the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) – Australia’s main environmental law – views the impact of fossil fuel projects. To date, when considering new coal and gas projects, federal environment ministers do not consider the impacts of emissions and climate change on “matters of national environmental significance”. All coal and gas projects harm our world heritage areas, precious species and vital natural resources.

It is no longer acceptable for the minister to simply ignore the damage caused by these projects.

The case could halt progress on a number of existing coal and gas projects and potentially halt future ones.

To add your name, please complete this form. For any queries, please contact Nathan Hart – [email protected]

Please note: we are currently only accepting signers from those who work within the Australian scientific community.

To: The Honorable Tanya Plibersek MP

Australian Minister for Environment and Water

Dear Minister Plibersek,

Australian scientists are calling on our Federal Environment Minister to confront and respond to our shared climate reality by heeding compelling scientific evidence and warnings when evaluating coal and gas projects.

As scientists, we not only study, but have a deep connection and affection for the living wonders of Australia. Our research is based on expert analysis, data and rigorous examination of the facts. We ask that the decisions of leaders are also grounded in science.

In support of the Environment Council of Central Queensland’s legal intervention to protect Australia’s Living Wonders from climate damage, we call on the Australian Government to consider scientific evidence on climate change when it examines how proposals for new coal and gas projects will hurt thousands of questions. of National Environmental Significance (MNES) protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Cth) Act 1999.

According to the UN IPCC, the science is unequivocal. From megafires and heatwaves and ocean acidification, to severe coral bleaching, drought, extreme rainfall and flooding, we are now seeing and suffering the scientifically predicted impacts of climate change across the country. These changes aggravate existing threats and create new threats to matters of national environmental significance.

Every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions and every fraction of a degree of warming strikes a blow to the health of our ecosystems and our economy. Any new coal or gas project will dangerously worsen climate change, which is already having major impacts on many natural systems, some undergoing or at risk of undergoing irreversible changes.

The science is clear, the extraction of fossil fuels is detrimental to the health and well-being of Aboriginal people. The exploitation of fossil fuels increases local risks such as air, water and soil pollution. Land scarring and loss of access to land pose a direct threat to spiritual and cultural well-being, challenging the sustainability of cultures and communities living on their traditional lands. Indigenous presence on the land is critical to driving Indigenous science-based land management practices that reverse the impacts of climate change.

Lives, livelihoods and the ecosystems we depend on are at risk. Some of our most treasured icons could be lost: the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, the Tarkines and Otways, giant kelp forests and the living cultural heritage of First Nations peoples.

Iconic and extraordinary species including koalas, green sea turtles, bilbies, dugongs, platypus, Tasmanian devils and Wollemi pine are all threatened and we have documented the extinction of others. Species, ecosystems and cultural heritage protected by the EPBC Act are all damaged when projects that accelerate climate change are approved.

As the eminent scientists named below, we jointly call on the Minister of the Environment to accept our common climate reality, to heed the science and ensure that all environmental assessments of new gas and coal projects are accountable and evidence-based, and include Scope 3 emissions from all projects.

The fate of Australia’s living wonders – and all the unique animals, plants, ecosystems and places we love – depends on it.


Professor Tim Flannery – Chief Advisor, Climate Council of Australia

Professor Euan Ritchie – Center for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University

Professor Anne Poelina – Nulungu Institute Research, University of Notre Dame, WA

Professor Gretta Pecl – Professor of Climate Change Ecology, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies and Director of the Center for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg – ARC Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, University of Queensland

Professor Sharon Robinson – Professor of Climate Change Biology and Executive Director of the Global Challenges Programme, University of Wollongong

Professor Brendan Wintle – Professor of Conservation Science, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne

Professor Jodie Rummer – Professor of Marine Biology in the College of Science and Engineering and the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University