Activists shut down Queensland coal terminal

Press release - August 5, 2009
Activists from across the Pacific, including New Zealand, have shut down the Hay Point Coal Terminal in Queensland, Australia, to pressure leaders John Key and Kevin Rudd to do the right thing on climate change.

Activists approach the coal loader.

The Port of Hay Point is one of the largest coal export ports in the world.  Launched from land and Greenpeace ship the Esperanza, 10 activists have climbed onto the coal loader and shut it down.

"We're here to show solidarity with our Pacific neighbours, who're crying out for Key and Rudd to commit to bold cuts in greenhouse gas emissions at Copenhagen in December," said Greenpeace New Zealand's Campaign Director Chris Harris, currently on top of the coal loader.

"It's time New Zealand and Australia's leaders actually listened to our neighbours on the urgency of climate change. If New Zealand wants to retain credibility in the Pacific, it needs to listen to its people and reflect their concerns."

The activity comes as the Pacific Island Forum kicks off in Cairns.

"The Alliance of Small Island States ((AOSIS) - which includes seven Pacific Island nations - is calling on developed countries like New Zealand to commit to an emission reduction target of at least 40 % by 2020. Prime Minister Key must heed this call," said Harris.

Just yesterday, the Small Island States chairman and Niue Premier Toke Talagi said the alliance would push Australia and New Zealand to agree to cut emissions by 45 percent by 2020 and by 85 percent by 2050.

An Oxfam report released recently (1) says millions of people from developing Pacific nations faced increased risk from cyclones, storm surges, king tides and ecosystem destruction due to climate change.  People living in poorer Pacific nations already faced higher rates of malarial infection, more frequent flooding and were losing land and being forced from their homes.

The report also calls for both New Zealand and Australia to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020.

New Zealand actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes, who recently visited the Pacific to help document the impacts of climate change as part of Greenpeace's Sign On campaign said: "if New Zealand doesn't start doing its bit, then our Pacific neighbours will face the consequences.  They are already suffering.

Over 87,000 people have joined the Sign On campaign, which calls for John Key to commit to a 40% by 2020 reduction in New Zealand's emissions on 1990 levels.