“Keep the coal in the hole!”
May 16, 2017
A small group of protestors delivered a big message to the Australian Government in Wellington this week as protests against a Queensland coal mine went trans-Tasman.
About 40 climate activists from 350 Aotearoa flooded the entrance of the Australian High Commission dressed as sea creatures on Tuesday to highlight the dangers of rising sea levels.
The focus of their campaign was to prevent Australian investment into the “biggest climate bomb in our region”, the Carmichael coal mine, a project proposed by Indian mining conglomerate the Adani Group in the Galilee Basin, Queensland.
350 Aotearoa Executive Director Niamh O’Flynn said Adani plans on extracting 60 million tonnes of coal a year in an open cast and underground mine with a footprint the size of Invercargill.
“Climate activists across the Tasman are undertaking joint action calling on the Australian Government to withdraw their support for the mine.
“The science is clear: coal, oil and gas are not our future. Fossil fuels are a massive contributor to this accelerated global warming.”
The protestors were met by Second Secretary and Consul to the Australian High Commission George Panagiotou, who said he would pass on the message.
350 Aotearoa has previously targeted Westpac Bank’s potential funding of the mine, resulting in a public rejection of any involvement as part of a newly released climate policy.
“This was a very clear case of seeing a bank bowing to pressure from activists from both sides of the Tasman,” O’Flynn said.
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, criticised Westpac’s decision at a media conference last month.
“Westpac say they are making this decision to try and tackle climate change, yet the coal in the Galilee Basin is 60 per cent better, it has an energy content of 60 per cent greater than the coal in India which it will displace by the development of this basin.”
Green group the Australian Conservation Foundation is currently appealing an earlier decision made by the Australian Federal Court that allows the state’s backing of the coal mine.
350 Aotearoa has further protests planned throughout New Zealand this week.