Twenty coal ships get new paint jobs in Australia

Feature story - 28 July, 2008
Greenpeace Australia Pacific activists painted coal ships waiting in a queue at Hay Point port in Queensland with messages saying "Stop coal expansion", "Barrier Reef Gone", "Ice caps gone" and "Rudd exporting CO2".

Activists painted messages on twenty coal ships in a queue at Hay Point port in Queensland before getting arrested.

The activists from our ship Esperanza drove up to the coal ships in inflatable boats, while they were anchored in the queue, painting the messages along the sides of the waiting coal boats. Police arrived on the scene after the 20 ships had been painted, boarded one of the inflatables and arrested 10 activists.

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Ask Kevin Rudd to join the Energy [R]evolution

Dangerous Contradiction

The peaceful action highlighted Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's plans to rapidly expand coal exports at a time when the world is trying to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst talking about urgent action on climate change Rudd is overseeing plans for Australia's first new coal port in decades and a doubling of New South Wales' and Queensland's coal exports.

Just days ago in Port Douglas, he warned "Australia must act locally and globally on the challenge of climate change because if we fail great assets like the Great Barrier Reef will be fatally in peril".

Australia is the world's largest coal exporter by far, accounting for 30 percent of global exports. The plans for coal expansion in Queensland alone would increase Australia's current emissions by 80 percent. Emissions from all of the planned expansions total 729 million tonnes of CO2 - equal to 120 percent of Australia's current emissions.

A new poll reveals that 82 percent of Australians want the country's coal exports capped or reduced. Is Kevin Rudd going to shape up to be the climate leader Australians hoped he would be?

In his climate change review for the Australian federal government, Professor Garnaut said that if we do not successfully combat climate change, the Great Barrier Reef will die and Australians will lose 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in tourism dollars each year.

Queensland: the world's best solar state

Queensland has the best solar resources in the world, but instead of leading the way in renewable energy, the 'Sunshine State' has plans to massively expand its export coal industry. The earth has enough renewable energy to power the globe six times over forever. In Australia, all that's missing is the political will.

If the Rudd government acts now, Australia could become a powerhouse for renewable energy manufacturing and technological development, creating thousands of new jobs and investment opportunities.

Having promised action on climate change, to prove he's serious, Rudd must agree to replace ageing power stations with renewable energy and halt the expansion of Australia's export coal industry. Australia can't continue to burn coal and ship CO2 emissions overseas and say that they are fighting climate change.

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