On June 25, federal trade minister Simon Crean signed a deal to export up to 20 million tonnes of dried brown coal to Vietnam. The deal was signed with ironically-named Victorian company Environmental Clean Technologies (ECT). Fifty people protested outside the venue in Southbank where the deal was signed, despite the rain and only a few hours notice of the event.
Kiama Municipal Council will sign an open letter to the NSW government calling for no new coal-fired power stations.
Greenpeace, who initiated the letter campaign, says the NSW government plans to approve two new coal power stations in Lithgow and the Hunter Valley. If built, they would spew over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution into the atmosphere each year.
Kiama Deputy Mayor, and Greens candidate for Gilmore, Ben van der Wijngaart moved the resolution, which was carried only after Mayor Sandra McCarthy, an independent, used her casting vote in favour.
Protests will take place across the country on July 17 to demand the federal and Victorian state governments close down Australia’s dirtiest power station and replace it with clean energy by 2012.
The call for a national day of action was issued by groups active in the “Replace Hazelwood” campaign, including Melbourne’s Climate Action Centre and Environment Victoria.
The call has been endorsed by the Community Climate Network, which brings together more than 100 climate action groups nationwide.
On June 15, climate sceptics held a forum at the Brisbane Irish Club. This forum was the subject of a protest by climate change activists. Ewan Saunders is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Brisbane who helped organise the protest. His speech is reprinted below.
Ian Plimer, Bob Carter, Peter Ridd: these are the real climate fraudsters, never mind the so-called scandals around a few emails last year.
Put Rudd on a boat so that he can see
what it feels like to be a refugee
trying to run from imperial slaughter,
on a leaky boat in shark-infested waters
How can these arseholes be so heartless?
— lock people up in bureaucratic darkness
They say they're Christian, but where’s the compassion?
They put Aboriginal people back on rations
It’s the Lib-Lab; hypocrisy reigns supreme,
they've got their redneck corporate Australian dream
they want to
make you think you're playing on the same team as them
as they are skimming off your share of the cream
The most serious controversy that has emerged in the climate movement this year is probably about the role of natural gas in a transition to a zero-emissions society.
The national climate summit in March did not debate gas, but decisions taken there have influenced the debate. A decision of that summit was to campaign to “replace Australia's dirtiest coal-fired power station, Hazelwood, with clean energy by 2012”.
Jess Moore, well-known community activist and part-time worker, will contest the seat of Cunningham on New South Wales’ south coast in the coming federal elections.
Moore, a member of Socialist Alliance, is a leading climate and renewable energy campaigner in Wollongong. She is active in the struggle for marriage equality and helped found the Illawarra Aboriginal Rights Group, set up in response to the racist Northern Territory intervention.
Five hundred farmers from the Darling Downs agricultural region attended a protest meeting at Cecil Plains, west of Toowoomba, on May 19. They protested against the expansion of coal seam gas mining on their properties.
The May 19 Courier-Mail said the farmers called on the state government to place a moratorium on mining development while its environmental impacts are properly assessed.
The protesters surrounded a paddock with a one-kilometre barrier of farm machinery in a demonstration of their abilityto stop the mining companies from entering their properties.
The decade-long campaign against the Bickham coal project, north of Scone in New South Wales, ended in victory on May 14, when NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced the government would reject the proposed mine.
The open-cut mine would have extracted 36 million tonnes of coal over 25 years.
Keneally's decision came after the May 3 publication of the state Planning Assessment Commission's (PAC) report, which recommended the mine not proceed.
It could be the first time the NSW government has ever blocked the development of a coalmine.
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced that the Labor government would block a proposed open-cut coalmine near Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley on May 14.
The decision puts an end to the Bickham coal project, which would have mined coal for the next 25 years, threatening to contaminate the Pages River and other water sources for local farmland. The decision also permanently bans any open-cut coal mines at the Bickham site.
Keneally said: “This mine is simply not compatible with the unique rural characteristics of this locality, including the horse-breeding industry.