Investigating Proposed Australian Coal Mine Impacts on Global Supply and Demand

Australian Environmental Defenders Office
Project Completed November 2022

On behalf of the Australian Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) in Brisbane, Synapse provided technical analysis and expert witness services regarding a proposed coal mine located in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia. The EDO sought to counter the arguments made for perfect substitution of coal in the Youth v Waratah Coal case. An opposing argument in previous new coal mine cases put forth that if the coal mine in question were not developed, another mine would simply open in its place, thus creating the same amount of net carbon dioxide emissions.

Synapse’s testimony focused on global coal supply and demand, and the premise that global demand for coal is not fixed. This demand is based on various regional decisions which include the price of coal; the cost of building new coal plants and operating the coal plant; the cost of building and operating alternative fuels; and global, regional, and local environmental policies and clean energy commitments.

Synapse witness Rachel Wilson argued that the long-term global demand for coal is declining due to the myriad factors described above. Ms. WIlson's full expert testimony report can be found below.

In November 2022, a Queensland court recommended that the permits for the coal mine be refused, based on concerns regarding climate change and human rights protections.