Lock the Gate released this statement on January 13 *** Protesters launched a blockade at the site of Whitehaven’s controversial Maules Creek coal project in North West NSW on January 13, turning back vehicles seeking to clear the forest for construction of rail infrastructure.
“When we went out, it was like a Zombieland,” Zoreen Agustin, a student at the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Tacloban campus told me on December 2. “A lot of people were walking around, some with no shoes and their clothes all torn, a lot of people were covered in cuts.” She was referring to what she saw after Tacloban, and much of the Eastern Visayas region, were demolished by Super Typhoon Yolanda (known as Typhoon Haiyan outside the Philippines) on November 8. The storm, one of the strongest on record to hit land, killed anywhere between 5000 and 10,000 people.
Gelliondale Resources, a subsidiary of Melbourne company Ignite Energy Resources Limited, have applied for a “retention licence” for a project to mine brown coal at Gelliondale, in the South Gippsland region. The application includes a work program of “field exploration activities such as drilling, sampling, excavation of costeans or pits and surveying,” according to the company website.
It’s wrong to think that we can campaign to stop climate change in the same way we might campaign to end a war. All the evidence says we are well past that stage now. That is, even if by some impossible, magical course of events all carbon pollution on Earth was stopped tomorrow, we’d still be in really, really deep trouble. So many greenhouse gases have been pumped into the Earth’s atmosphere that we have rushed far past the safe upper limit — the famous 350 parts per million of CO2, the number that climate action group 350.org took for its name.
Finally, Aussie pride is back after a dominant display in a crucial international contest. Sure, our side came in for criticism for aggressive bullying and disrespectful behaviour towards the opposition, but you can't argue with results. True, this was nothing so crucial to the fate of humanity as an Ashes Test. It was merely the United Nations Warsaw climate talks that ended on November 23 with no agreement for rich nations to severely cut the greenhouse emissions fuelling climate change or offer compensation to poor nations bearing the brunt of its increasingly devastating effects.
Australian environmentalists welcomed the October announcement that mining giant BHP was abandoning its plans for a coal export rail and port development at Abbot Point in Queensland. However, the company is simultaneously involved in a giant new coal export development on Kalimantan in Indonesia.
Continuing New Zealand’s proud history of protests at sea, attempts by Texan oil giant Andarko to start deep-sea oil drilling are being blocked by a tiny sailing boat. Thousands came out to NZ's west coast beaches on November 23 to support the Oil Free Flotilla in its stand against Anadarko. More than 1000 gathered for the main event at West Auckland's iconic Piha beach, carrying colourful home-made banners with messages such as "We love our beaches", "No drill, no spill" and "Anadarko go home".
Imagine if we found out exactly who was systematically destroying the habitability of Earth? If we had their names and addresses? Wouldn't a responsible society make them stop the destruction? Climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado has done a study which found that just 90 companies — among them Chevron, Exxon, BHP, Rio Tinto and BP — have been responsible for producing two-thirds of all global warming-causing emissions.
After attending the national day of action on climate change, organised by GetUp on November 17, Sally Rawsthorne wrote in the Guardian that “fringe dwellers” like the Socialist Alliance and the Green Left Weekly participating in the rally “does climate action a disservice”.
It's long been a favoured wish of many environmentalists to go off the grid, to be self-sufficient in energy and other services, and avoid the corporate utilities and their coal-powered electricity. The ambition for freedom from energy bills and fossil-fuel electricity is understandable. And now in the age of relatively cheap solar panels (which weren't around in the 1970s), you can live off the grid and use a huge battery attached to a large array of solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, to maintain a hi-tech lifestyle on clean solar energy.
At the recent UN climate talks in Poland, poor nations and NGOs singled out the Australian delegation for doing the most to block progress on a new deal to cut carbon emissions.
After the storm, the “shock doctrine”. This is what awaits the Philippines after the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. The familiar cycle of “disaster capitalism” allows wealthy and politically connected First World corporations to profit obscenely from the suffering of acutely vulnerable disaster-affected communities. Disaster profiteering is a parasitic tendency deeply embedded in the structures of the neoliberal global economy. It will degrade and corrupt the international “relief effort” under way in the Philippines.