A leaked draft plan from Greenpeace reveals that the organization is funding an anti-coal campaign to battle controversial coal mining projects in Australia. The organization seeks $6 million in funding to embark on a concerted strategy to challenge new coal projects, prevent billion of dollars from reaching the coal sector, and gradually erode public and political support for the coal industry.
In particular, Greenpeace has set its sights on mega mine projects in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. A proposed coal mine by billionaire Clive Palmer could contribute more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire Queensland economy. Plus shipping the coal overseas in more than 10,000 megaships could have sizeable impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.
If the project receives approval, Greenpeace will challenge it in court.
Greenpeace has support from several community groups across Australia, including Greens leader Bob Brown. And clearly coal needs to eventually be phased out of if we are to address human-induced climate change.
Brown stated that: “I flew over the Galilee Basin the week before last with [Queensland Greens Senator] Larissa Waters. There’s an area of potential coal mining, much of it open cut there, that’d be getting on to the size of Tasmania.”
But the coal industry claims Greenpeace’s million-dollar campaign would threaten the Australian economy and cost jobs.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson had strong words for Greenpeace, claiming the organization is living in a “fantasy land” and risking the possibility of a global recession.
“It would mean mass starvation,” Emerson said. “It would be a global depression, and they ought to wake up to that instead of living in a fantasy land and organising these sorts of campaigns.”
Others claim that Australia’s new carbon tax already addresses the environmental impacts of the country’s coal industry. But whether or not it will do enough in the long-term to help avert climate change is another question. After all, climate scientist James Hansen has already called for the phasing out of coal over the next couple of decades.
Do you agree with Greenpeace’s campaign against the coal industry? Do you think Australia’s carbon tax does enough to address the greenhouse gas emissions associated with coal?
Image CC licensed by Jeremy Buckingham: Coal reclaimer at Newcastle Port, Australia