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Source: ABC News
Date: 17 May, 2012

A national conference on mining and coal seam gas in the Hunter Valley this weekend will hear the world is past the point of preventing climate change.

Community leaders and experts in energy policy, health and renewables are gathering for the three day forum in Kurri Kurri this weekend.

Ian Dunlop is a former senior Executive of Royal Dutch Shell and a former chair of the Australian Coal Association.

He says the coal industry has known since the 1980’s climate concerns will limit its primacy.

He says the world has already left it too late to prevent the onset of major climate change, pointing to the ominous milestone reached in the last week that saw the atmospheric concentration for carbon dioxide surpassing levels not seen in millions of years.

The conference will hear from community groups that have successfully opposed coal and CSG developments in NSW, Queensland and the United States.

Mr Dunlop, who’s now with the Association for the study of Peak Oil and Gas, says Australia will be one of the hardest hit by a rise in global temperatures.

“I mean this is what people don’t seam to get, you cannot continue to operate businesses of any kind in a world where the average temperature has gone up 4 degrees, it’s just not feasible for people to work in those conditions,” he said.

“We’re one of the driest continents on the earth and the effects on Australia will be more severe than elsewhere.”

Mr Dunlop says climate change will also have a negative impact on Australia’s agricultural industry.

“The much longer term problems of the sustainability of things like agriculture because if we keep on going where we’re going large parts of the country are either going to be moving back into deserts or alternatively they’ll end up subject to extreme flooding and conditions that aren’t particularly conducive to agriculture anyway,” he said.

Read article in ABC News