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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coal targeted in climate protests in Scotland, Czech Republic and Australia

Rising Tide protestor chained to wharf delaying arrival of Bulk Carrier for coal export Round the world protests against coal mining, export and power generation are growing with actions in the Czech Republic, Scotland and Australia occurring on March 22.

In Australia, the first shipment of coal from Newcastle's third coal loader was delayed by climate activists from Rising Tide. The docking of the Sunny Success bulk carrier was delayed at the newly built terminal by one protestor chaining himself to the wharf, and four others in a boat on the harbour.

Steve Phillips, spokesperson for Rising Tide Newcastle said "The new coal berth at Newcastle will increase Newcastle coal exports by around 30 million tonnes per year. That is equivalent to a 13% increase in Australia's greenhouse pollution. The expansion of Australia's biggest contribution to climate change is being managed, encouraged, and approved by state and federal Labor governments."

Phillips attacked both the policies of the ruling Labor Party and the conservative opposition are in denial on climate change "They are completely in the thrall of lobbyists for the coal industry - the very cause of the climate crisis. They would have the Australian public believe that the number one cause of climate change in Australia and around the world can continue to massively expand, year on year, while greenhouse pollution is magically reduced regardless. That is pure fantasy."

Newcastle currently exports around 90 million tonnes of coal per annum (Mtpa), making it the world's biggest coal port. The industry is dominated by transnational mining corporations BHP Billiton, Xstrata, and Rio Tinto. Newcastle coal exports are expected to more than doubled to 211 Mtpa capacity with the current export expansions implemented. Planning is now underway for a fourth Newcastle coal terminal to take exports to more than 300Mtpa. More at Australia Indymedia article

In Scotland 25 environmental activists occupied the site of a controversial open cast coal mine in Fife. UK Coal plans to mine 720,000 tonnes of coal from the site over a two year nine month period. However, the site of the mine takes in the Black Woods area, which is regarded as a haven for wildlife reported stv. More information from Coal Action Scotland

In the Czech Republic twelve Greenpeace activists today (March 22) climbed the 300 metre high chimney of the Prunerov II coal-fired power station to hang a banner denouncing it as a 'Global Shame'. The action follows the forced resignation of the Czech environment Minister after he refused to approve a 25 year extension to the plants operating life.

From the top of the chimney stack, in Northern Bohemia, Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Jan Rovensky said: "The Prunerov coal plant is a global shame. Plans to extend its life make a mockery of efforts to protect the environment, people and avoid catastrophic global climate change. It should be shut down by 2015 and replaced with energy efficiency measures and investments in renewable energy. Then the Czech Republic's global shame would become a global example."

Protest campaigns to stop the highly destructive Mountain Top Removal mining in the US Appalachian mountains are continuing. More Information: Mountain Justice | Climate Ground Zero