New South Wales Questions Coal Advice

The New South Wales Government has questioned the advice of a senior Commonwealth consultant after he tabled concerns about a planned expansion of Newcastle’s coal port facilities.
 
Newcastle is already the largest coal export harbour in the world, exporting 88,880,000 tonnes of the fossil fuel in 2007-2008.
 
Professor Peter Newman is a member of Infrastructure Australia – a national body tasked with developing a blueprint for fixing and modernising the nation’s transport, water, energy and communications infrastructure. 
 
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Professor Newman said the environmental damage wreaked from burning coal meant the construction of new coal loading facilities in what is already the world’s biggest coal exporting port should cease.
 
Newman also questioned the Federal Government’s half billion dollar undertaking for research into "clean coal" technology, stating it was unlikely the technology for carbon capture and storage would be developed sufficiently to make coal-fired power stations environmentally acceptable.
 
According to another report on the ABC, the Professor pointed out as coal is not a renewable resource and a major source of  climate change emissions, "A long-term future around increases in coal would be a mistake."
 
NSW Ports Minister Joe Tripodi said that he has "serious reservations" about Professor Newman’s ability to be impartial and the NSW Minerals Council’s Nikki Williams called the Professor’s statements "extraordinary". 
 
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has supported Professor Newman’s assessment and returned fire on the New South Wales government’s criticism stating "Professor Peter Newman today exposed the hypocrisy of the government and the NSW Minerals Council on climate change and the transition to a renewable energy industry."