‘We’re sorry Somalia’: Activists highlight coal’s contribution to famine

August 4, 2011
Activists hang a banner from a coal conveyor in Newcastle harbour, August 5. Photo: risingtide.org.au

Rising Tide Newcastle released the statement below on August 5.

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This morning climate activists scaled a 15 metre high coal conveyor belt in Newcastle’s coal port and suspended a banner saying, “We’re sorry Somalia. Coal = climate change and starvation”.

Their action comes as scientists this week have made the link between human-made climate change and the deadly drought affecting over ten million people across the Horn of Africa.

Rising Tide spokesperson Naomi Hogan is at the scene.

“Coal is recognised globally as the biggest contributor to climate change,” she said. “Yet, while climate disaster ravages East Africa, coal companies operating here in Australia are planning to massively expand their coal production, ignoring all the negative impacts.

“We are standing in the belly of the beast, here in the world’s largest coal port, calling on the coal industry to reverse its plans to more than double Australia’s coal exports.

“It’s about time the coal giants took responsibility for their contribution to the dangerous impacts of climate change.

“Tens of thousands of Somalis have already died and hundreds of thousands face starvation, partly due to a terrible climate change driven drought.

“We are calling on the coal companies operating in Australia to take a tiny fraction of their billion dollar profits and donate the $1.4 billion dollars urgently required to save lives across East Africa.

“These severe droughts, floods, famines and extreme weather events will continue to worsen with climate change. Coal companies must heed this wake up call, clean up their act and start taking responsibility for climate tragedies.”

Rising Tide is encouraging all Australians to act on climate change and to demand a stop to coal expansion.

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