Australia has a long history of working against global cooperation on climate change, often at the behest of its powerful coal industry. While Australia’s emissions targets are typically unambitious, Australia’s biggest contribution to climate change is not its own direct emissions, but its ambition to become the world’s largest coal exporter.
Australia’s coal expansion plans revolve around the Galilee Basin in Queensland, inland from the Great Barrier Reef. Adani's Carmichael mega mine will produce 2 billion tonnes of coal. This is enough coal to make a band of coal one metre deep and ten metres wide that would stretch around the world five times. Carmichael is just one of nine mines planned in the Galilee Basin. The Galilee Basin is only one of many areas undergoing export coal expansion in Australia.
If Australia is able to develop its coal export plans it will have a major impact on world coal markets, making coal cheaper and thwarting the ambition set in Paris.