A call to action: Greenpeace boards coal carrier in Australia

by Georgina Woods

April 24, 2013

Greenpeace activists climb aboard the 'MV Meister', a ship carrying coal loaded at Abbot point, Queensland, just outside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, to demand an end to the expansion of coal exports. The six activists, came from the five countries in the Asia Pacific region (Australia, India, US, China, and New Zealand) where Greenpeace is campaigning to end the age of coal.

© James Alcock / Greenpeace

Greenpeace has dramatically stepped up its campaign to stop Australias 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 nations 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 Australias commitment to take action to limit global warming to below 2 degrees.

Weve all seen what climate change is doing to this country and the places we love. Thats why over ten thousand Australians – including the countrys 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 Australias 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, usingevery legitimate meanswe can to stop them going ahead. Weve made detailed submissions, triggered Departmental inquiries, used Freedom of Information toexpose holesin assessments, helped25,000 people make submissionsto processes, published full page advertisements andwritten large on a beachour 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.

Its 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 Greenpeaces action, join the statement well be publishinghere.

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