A call to action: Greenpeace steps in to halt coal

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Feature Story - 23 April, 2013
Greenpeace has dramatically stepped up its campaign to stop Australia’s biggest contribution to climate change from getting any bigger. This morning six volunteers boarded a bulk carrier filled with thermal coal, leaving Australia bound for Asia.

We did this because Australia's coal exports are the nation’s greatest contribution to climate change and plans are underway to roughly double the volume of coal we export. A development that flies in the face of Australia’s commitment to take action to limit global warming to below 2 degrees.

We’ve all seen what climate change is doing to this country and the places we love. That’s why over ten thousand Australians - including the country’s most respected climate scientists and academics and over forty non-government organisations from around the country - have called for the expansion of our biggest contribution to it to stop.

Right now there is no political solution to this problem because all the major political parties have committed to doubling and trebling our coal exports. So, in the absence of any action being taken by our political leaders, Greenpeace is calling on all Australians to join it in physically preventing the expansion of coal, through peaceful civil disobedience.

The activists on board the bulk carrier, MV Meister, are not just Australian. In recognition of the global problem created by Australia’s coal exports, we have a multinational team peacefully occupying a coal shipment as representatives of a region-wide campaign to bring about the end of the age of coal.

Greenpeace has campaigned against the expansion of coal exports from Queensland, through the Great Barrier Reef, using every legitimate means we can to stop them going ahead. We’ve made detailed submissions, triggered Departmental inquiries, used Freedom of Information to expose holes in assessments, helped 25,000 people make submissions to processes, published full page advertisements and written large on a beach our call to protect the Reef from coal. To no avail: our governments have not acted to protect the Reef or prevent the expansion of our biggest contribution to climate change.

It’s well known that most coral reefs around the world are unlikely to survive with more than 1.5 degrees of average global warming: right now, the planet is heading decisively for four degrees warming. As Australians, our contribution to saving our Reef from this global problem is to stop increasing our biggest contribution to it. As international citizens, we cannot sit by and watch coal consumption and supply grow, and not do everything in our power to prevent it.

If you support Greenpeace’s action, join the statement we’ll be publishing here.