Civil society acts as the IPCC reports

Press release - 30 March, 2014
Maules Creek, Monday 31st March 2014: As the global community comes to terms with the dire warning delivered today by the latest report into the impacts of climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), over 150 people are taking direct action, occupying the proposed mine site of Whitehaven’s controversial open cut Maules Creek coal mine – the largest currently under construction in Australia.

Occupying both of the company’s compounds erected deep in the Leard State Forest, the concerned citizens have been able to disrupt work on the mine. They intend to remain on site for as long as possible.

The action comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies risks for Australia, including:

    - The possibility of widespread and permanent damage to coral reef systems (increased coral bleaching), particularly the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo in Western Australia (high confidence);
    - Some native species could be wiped out (high confidence);
    - Increased frequency and intensity of flood damage to infrastructure and settlements in Australia (high confidence);
    - Increasing risks to coastal infrastructure and low-lying ecosystems in Australia, with widespread damage towards the upper end of projected sea-level-rise ranges (high confidence).

“It is not possible to both take climate change seriously and continue to dig new coal mines in this country. They are now mutually exclusive activities,” said Julie Macken, spokesperson for Greenpeace.

“Whitehaven’s proposed Maules Creek mine brings together the most destructive elements of climate change,” continued Macken. “It will generate 900 Mt of carbon pollution – twice the amount the Prime Minister’s Direct Action plan could save from 2014 to 2020.”

“It will undermine the integrity of one of our country’s most important food bowls at a time when the IPCC is warning of the impact of climate change on food security. Together with the two neighbouring mines, it may cause a cumulative drawdown of water in the adjacent hard rock aquifer in excess of 10 m and imperil over 30 endangered species, whilst dumping tonnes of coal dust on surrounding communities every year.”

“But the truly ugly truth about this proposed mine is that its construction is a declaration by the company and the State and Federal Coalition governments who approved it, that they believe the world will not take action to tackle climate change, that business as usual will persist and we will reap the terrible future laid out today by the IPCC.”

For further information contact:

Julie Macken at Maules Creek 0400 925 217

James Lorenz in Sydney 0400 376 021