Thousands back action against the ‘angry drunk’ of Australian politics

Press release - 30 April, 2013
1 May, 2013: Today the coal industry has been put on notice that the expansion of Australia’s coal exports will be met with further peaceful resistance for as long as Australian governments fail to act on the problem.

In a full page advertisement in today’s The Australian Financial Review, 10,000 people endorsed a statement that civil disobedience is justified to stop the coal industry expansion which will drive dangerous climate change and threaten the existence of the Great Barrier Reef.

Last week, six activists from the Rainbow Warrior boarded a coal export ship leaving north Queensland and occupied the open deck for 28 hours.  As the six maintained peaceful vigil, Australians in their thousands signed the joint statement in support of civil disobedience against the expansion of coal exports.

The over 700 million tonnes per year of greenhouse pollution produced from coal exported from Australia are much larger than Australia's own domestic greenhouse emissions from all sources. According to projections by the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, coal exports from Australia will roughly double in a little over a decade if action is not taken to prevent it.

“The failure of our major political parties to act on this threat is acute, while the necessity to reduce carbon emissions is urgent.  We, the undersigned, believe peaceful civil disobedience is now justified to prevent the further expansion of coal exports,” reads the statement.

Eminent Australians also endorsed the actions of the activists.  Leading author and academic Robert Manne said “I support the peaceful actions of those who have boarded the vessel taking our coal to South Korea. And I salute their civic courage."

Senior Greenpeace campaigner, Dr. Georgina Woods said, “The coal industry is the angry drunk of Australian politics, demanding it gets whatever it wants before closing time. We are not prepared to watch them take the Great Barrier Reef and much more that we hold dear down with them.”

“Our choices at this point could not be more stark: Australia is participating in a betrayal of our common future by expanding our coal export industry despite the very clear and irreversible consequences for climate change.  Thousands of Australians are now standing up and saying that we are not prepared to let this happen” concluded Woods.

New research shows that between 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies are ‘unburnable’ if the world is to have a chance of not exceeding global warming of 2°C.

For further information or interviews, contact:

Dr Georgina Woods: 0498 475 431

Elsa Evers: 0438 204 041