MP calls for urgent action against activists

Issue 

In state parliament on September 2, Victoria's shadow energy minister Robert Clark attacked climate activists planning a protest outside the Hazelwood power station. Clark called on the state government to "act urgently" to protect the Latrobe Valley's coal-fired power generators from the September 13 "Switch Off Hazelwood" protest.

Switch Off Hazelwood spokesperson Louise Morris responded that Clark was in "an economic and political alliance with the big polluters". She said in a press release that politicians were "ignoring ordinary Australians who want a transition to renewable energy".

Morris said the "day of peaceful community protest" targets "one of the industrialised world's most polluting coal power stations. We are calling on state and federal governments to switch off our reliance on coal, so we can switch on a just transition to renewable energy."

The protest coincides with the peak of the Arctic sea ice summer melt. A Greenpeace expedition to the Arctic reported on September 2 that warm ocean currents "could be causing the dramatic melt of Greenlandic glaciers". The report said although glaciers move "at an average of 50 meters per year", Greenland's Helheim glacier "is moving at the speed of 25 meters per DAY. Located further North, the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier moves at an average of 38 meters per day." Melting of the Greenland ice sheet would raise the sea level by more than seven metres.

Switch Off Hazelwood protest organisers have called a public meeting for September 9, near the power station in Morwell. The meeting will discuss providing clean energy jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

Switch Off Hazelwood activist Chris Breen told Green Left Weekly Latrobe Valley workers deserved "unionised well-paid jobs — in clean industries". He said the government must take over the power companies "and directly invest in renewable energy and green manufacturing".

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