Trial begins after teenagers sue Australian government over coal mine
Sydney, Australia, Mar 2 (efe-epa).- An Australian court on Tuesday began proceedings after eight teenagers and a nun sued the government over the expansion of a coal mine, considering that it has an obligation to protect the health of young people from the impact of climate change.
The collective suit has been filed against the Minister of the Environment, Sussan Ley, in opposition to the expansion of the Vickery mine, located around 333 kilometers (207 miles) northwest of Sydney.
The Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne will take up the case until Mar. 5, and potentially also on Mar. 12.
If the expansion is approved, fossil fuels from the Vickery extension project will result in an emission of 370 million tons of carbon over the next 25 years, equivalent to 70 percent of Australia’s total domestic emission in 2019.
The expansion of the mine would provide a net profit of about $869 million to the state of New South Wales and create some 950 jobs, according to the Australian company Whitehaven Coal, which is in charge of the project.
On the other hand, if the court rules in favor of the adolescents, underlining the government’s obligation to protect the youth from emissions and stops the approval of the mine’s expansion, it would have an impact on other fossil-fuel projects in Australia, according to Equity Generation Lawyers, which represents the teenagers.
The lawsuit against the government was filed in September 2020, led by environmental activist Anjali Sharma, 17, and other students from the movement School Strike 4 Climate.
The group has organized several demonstrations in recent years to demand that the Australian government take urgent action against the impending climate crisis.
Climate change is a controversial issue in the country, which has pledged to cut emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, prompting the Labor government to fall over a tax on emissions.
In Australia, there is a strong conservative political sector that seeks to maintain the exploitation of fossil fuels, arguing that alternative energies or measures to mitigate climate change raise electricity rates. EFE-EPA