Rainbow Warrior blocks the world's largest coal port

Posted by bex — 28 July 2005 at 8:00am - Comments

Greenpeace activists disrupt coal loading at the world's largest coal port

Newcastle, Australia - In the glow of a warm, still morning, the Rainbow Warrior slipped into the harbour of the world's biggest coal port and dropped anchor to shut down coal exports for five hours in Newcastle, Australia.

As the Rainbow Warrior blocked the port, locals cheered from the wharf and on small boats in support of clean energy, and against dirty coal. Meanwhile, volunteers occupied a huge coal loader and a massive 2.5 million tonne coal stockpile. They were later arrested, along with the Rainbow Warrior's captain.

Australia is a major exporter of pollution and a climate criminal. It exports coal to 35 countries. While the majority of this goes to Asian countries, the UK is the biggest importer of Australian coal in Europe.

Australian campaigner, Ben Pearson explained why we are blocking the port: "Newcastle exports 80 million tonnes of coal to the world each year and every tonne returns to us as climate change. Every hour that we stopped coal loading we prevented at least 16,000 tonnes of greenhouse pollution from leaving."

Climate change in Australia is predicted to cause worse droughts, bushfires, storms and floods. Australia fuels these impacts at home and across the globe by exporting more coal than any other country.

Because of its huge coal industry Australia is not surprisingly best buddies with the US Bush administration when it comes to delaying, diluting, destroying international action to tackle climate change.

Another way

But there is an better alternative: For every unit of energy produced by conventional fossil fuels, we could create three to five more jobs in renewable energy than we have in coal. In Newcastle the local community has suffered as the coal industry has cut jobs.

"I think what Greenpeace did today was good for drawing attention to the problem and there needs to be more funding and more attention on renewable energy," said local resident Warren Keen.

The Rainbow Warrior is in Australia to spread the message that there is no future in dirty fuels like coal and help coal-dependent communities make the transition to sustainable industries and jobs.

People say that coal is an industry Australia cannot afford to lose. But, living on the front line of climate change, the truth is that coal is an industry Australia, and the rest of the world, cannot afford.

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