WA climate rebels pledge to blockade fossil fuels conference

Blockade RTS for Climate Justice
A newly formed coalition is organising the protest to call for serious action to confront the climate crisis. Image: Blockade RTS for Climate Justice FB

Climate activists are gearing up for the Resources Technology Showcase (RTS), a mining and fossil fuel industry conference to be held at the Perth Convention Centre over November 27-28.

A newly formed coalition, Blockade RTS for Climate Justice, is organising the protest to call for serious action to confront the climate crisis.

RTS comes soon after the October blockade of the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, and the use of extreme violence by Victoria Police to break up the protest.

Conservation Council of WA’s Runaway Train report documents the destructive impact of the state’s growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

The report explains emissions from WA's five LNG plants alone have negated reductions in every other sector of the economy combined. Their emissions are five times larger than those saved by all the rooftop solar panels in the country.

Approved oil and gas projects are set to push the world past 1.5oC warming. Chevron's Gorgon Stage 2 project is among the world's six-worst offenders.

The need to protest RTS is underlined by the fact that Premier Mark McGowan is speaking on the opening plenary, along with Shell, Woodside and Chevron representatives. The WA state government effectively functions as a wholly-owned subsidiary of big oil and gas companies.

Since its election in 2017, the WA Labor government has bent over backwards to help corporations extract more fossil fuels, at a time when the climate crisis demands we turn the tap off.

In November last year, it overturned a statewide ban on fracking and expanded the areas that can be fracked.

In March, the state Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that big LNG projects be required to provide 100% carbon offsets for the emissions — an estimated 1.5% of their huge profits.

Woodside and The West Australian immediately attacked the EPA proposal. In less than a week, and following a private meeting with executives of Woodside Petroleum, Chevron and Shell, McGowan announced the EPA proposal was off the table.

Big oil and gas companies have already reneged on emission's controls that formed conditions of their environmental approvals under the previous government. Two-and-a-half years after production began, Chevron's Gorgon project has still not successfully re-injected 40% of its emissions underground as promised, because the technology simply does not work.

Meanwhile, the offsets that were required of the Chevron Wheatstone project were removed, and other projects have either had no emissions requirements placed on them or have been allowed to drift without any serious enforcement.

The state government endorsed the federal Coalition's emissions reduction targets in August and has allowed the LNG industry to propose its own targets, coupled with a hypocritical and meaningless “aspirational” target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Blockade RTS for Climate Justice is seeking to use the conference to expose the criminal devastation being pushed by large mining companies and build support for a just transition in which working people, including those in the fossil fuel industry, have access to good, secure jobs and a safe climate.

A diverse range of groups, including Arts & Cultural Workers for Climate Action, School Strike 4 Climate, National Union of Students, Maritime Union of Australia, Extinction Rebellion WA, Curtin University Student Guild, the Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative, 350.org and Free West Papua, are supporting the protest.

The sign-on statement inviting others to join states: “The climate emergency is the biggest practical and moral challenge of our time. It is simply unacceptable that a conference dominated by corporations, who through their actions are dedicated to accelerating this crisis, should be allowed to take place.”

[The blockade will begin at Perth Convention Centre on November 27 from 8am. School Strike 4 Climate is gathering at Forrest Place at 9am and marching to the blockade. Find out more at the Blockade RTS for Climate Justice Facebook page.]