Pacific Climate Warriors Target Australia’s Coal Industry

 

Pacific Climate Warriors from 12 islands in the Pacific paddled traditional canoes into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia this October, drawing attention to the consequences of climate change on their home countries.  The Pacific Warriors were joined by hundreds of Australians in kayaks and on surfboards, peacefully delaying ten coal ships scheduled to go through the port during the day.

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 Pacific Warriors carry canoes onto the beach in Newcastle 350 Australia

If it were a country, the coal exported from Newcastle would make the port the 9th highest emitting country in the world. The Pacific Warriors came from 12 Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Micronesia, Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Niue.

Watch this video to see how the day played out

Solidarity Actions

In the week following the Flotilla, solidarity actions took place highlighting the role of the Minerals Council, coal companies and private banks in driving the expansion of the fossil fuel industry around Australia, and the consequences of this expansion on the Pacific islands. Their message was that the disruption caused by these office occupations paled in comparison to the disruption and destruction these companies are causing by continuing to invest in and expand the fossil fuel industry.   In Canberra, 10 citizens were arrested for peacefully occupying the Minerals Council, the industry association representing Australia’s largest mining companies, while in Perth, citizens targeted Buru Energy, which has plans to expand the unconventional gas industry in Western Australia. In Sydney, citizens occupied the offices of Whitehaven coal, the company building the controversial Maule’s Creek Coal Mine. Additionally, 80 people occupied ANZ head offices in Melbourne for 9 hours drawing attention to the 6.75 billion dollars the bank has invested in fossil fuel projects since 2008.

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Buru Energy, Perth Australia. 350 Australia

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Citizens occupy Whitehaven Offices in Sydney, Australia. 350 Australia

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ANZ, Melbourne, occupiers leave the building after nine hours.

Stand Up For The Pacific from Georgia Sampson on Vimeo.

Read more about the Newcastle Flotilla:

“Pacific Climate Change Warriors block World’s Largest Coal Port” – IPS News

“South Pacific climate activists blockade Australian port” – BBC World Asia

“Climate Warriors target giant coal terminal in Australia” –  Voice of America

“Australian’s divided over coal policy” – Financial Times

“Opinion: The Front Line of Climate Change is Here and Now” – IPS News

See more images from Newcastle:

Pacific Climate Warriors blockade Newcastle Harbour in pictures  The Guardian 

More photos from the day are available on Flickr