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A feed containing all Greenpeace Australia Pacific press release
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    June 23, 2017: For the second time this year an oil company has been found to not have the appropriate capacity to manage an oil spill yet have been allowed to keep drilling by the regulatory body.

    A notice issued today by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) found that PTTEP - the same company responsible for the catastrophic Montara oil spill - was unable to deal with a major spill due to untrained staff and a lack of correct equipment.

    “NOPSEMA have yet again treated oil companies like an old friend instead of punishing them for their failures to adhere to regulations,” Greenpeace Campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.

    “It is alarming that there have been two cases this year where oil companies have been found to not have appropriate capacity to manage an oil spill in operating oilfields, yet have been allowed to keep drilling.

    “Responding to these critical failures and the risks they pose by issuing ‘improvement notices’ rather than suspending operations is like letting a drunk driver behind the wheel on the way to their traffic offender program.”

    Moylan said the repeated inaction should serve as a reminder of why oil drilling should not be permitted in the Great Australian Bight. 

    “Only a month ago, Santos, one of the companies wanting to drill in the Great Australian Bight, was also found to not have sufficient capacity to respond to an oil spill in its Mutineer-Exeter oilfield,” he said. 

    “With companies including Chevron engaging in aggressive cost-cutting, and plans to conduct extreme deepwater drilling in the pristine marine wilderness of the Great Australian Bight, it is alarming that oil companies are allowed to continue production even where the federal regulator has found that they are unable to respond to a catastrophic spill. 

    “If these conditions continue it is only a matter of time before we are faced with an ecological disaster.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:
    [1] https://industry.gov.au/resource/UpstreamPetroleum/MontaraInquiryResponse/Documents/Montara-Report.pdf
    [2] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/04/cnbc-transcript-tevin-vongvanich-president-and-ceo-ptt.html
    [3] Chevron aiming to cut costs by 15% while lifting production by 9%
    http://www.houmatoday.com/business/20170428/cost-cutting-rising-oil-prices-help-exxon-chevron-boost-profits

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    26 June 2017: UNESCO’s announcement that local measures are now unable to stop coral bleaching must serve as a wakeup call for the government and drive wholesale change on climate policy, said Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule.

    This weekend UNESCO released a report which found world heritage coral reefs around the globe would continue to be killed off by bleaching events unless CO2 emissions are drastically reduced to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

    “What the UNESCO report makes clear is that the government’s Reef 2050 plan is just tinkering at the edges of environmental disaster—its measures  are simply not enough. If we are going to stand a chance of slowing climate change and preserving what’s left of the Great Barrier Reef, we have to stop funding the fossil fuel industry and transition to clean, renewable energy as fast as possible.

    “The Turnbull government propping up coal, oil and gas through fossil fuel subsidies is at the heart of this problem. And its support for a $1bn loan of public money from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is a final slap in the face to Australians watching the slow death of a national icon.

    “It’s time we ended polluter hand-outs across the board. We should start by ruling out any taxpayer funding for a new coal megamine in the Galilee Basin," Dr Casule said.

    Currently the Australian Government funds climate change with over $11 billion worth of tax breaks alone to big polluters per year [1] and there is a proposal before the NAIF board for a $1bn loan to the Carmichael coal mega mine.

    “Fossil fuel subsidies have been described by the Bloomberg Editorial Board as ‘the world’s dumbest policy’[2] for a very good reason,” Dr Casule said.

    “They allow fossil fuel producers to undermine national climate commitments, while we pay them for the privilege. It’s perverse corporate welfare that only encourages more carbon pollution and holds back the clean energy revolution Australia should be leading.

    “Pouring public money into fossil fuels also diverts tax dollars from critical public services such as education and health.

    “The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s greatest natural wonder. As the rest of the world looks on in horror at the tragedy unfolding on the Reef, Malcolm Turnbull is doing his best to pour billions of dollars into fossil fuels. This is Australia’s national shame.

    “Real climate leadership from Malcolm Turnbull is no longer an option—it’s a requirement. Australia must stop pouring money into fossil fuels, ban new coal mines, and exert every effort to catch up with other countries making progress on climate action," said Dr Casule. 

    For interviews contact:
    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org 0413 993 316

    Notes
    1. ‘How your taxes subsidise fossil fuels, Market Forces, http://www.marketforces.org.au/ffs/tax/

    2. 'Fuel Subsidies Are the World's Dumbest Policy,' Bloomberg Editorial Board, 1 September 2016
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-01/fossil-fuel-subsidies-are-the-world-s-dumbest-policy-editorial


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    San Francisco, 27 June 2017 - Fairphone, Dell and HP are the only companies that make spare parts and repair manuals available to the public, while products from brands such as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft are among the least easy to repair and upgrade, according to Greenpeace’s latest IT product guide.

    Greenpeace East Asia, in partnership with iFixit, assessed over 40 best selling smartphones, tablets and laptops launched between 2015 and 2017. Seventeen IT brands were represented in the study. The assessment is based on iFixit’s repairability score, which considers the time required to repair the product, the device’s upgradability and modularity, as well as the availability of spare parts and repair manuals.

    “Of all the models assessed, we found a few best-in-class products, which demonstrate that designing for repairability is possible. On the other hand, a number of products from Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft are increasingly being designed in ways that make it difficult for users to fix, which shortens the lifespan of these devices and adds to growing stockpiles of e-waste,” said Gary Cook, IT Sector Analyst at Greenpeace USA.

    “Improving the repairability of electronic products is technically achievable and brands should be prioritising this in their product design. As a first step, it’s critical that all brands follow in the footsteps of Dell, Fairphone, and HP and make repair manuals and spare parts publicly available.”

    LG had once been a leader in designing its products to last, but its most recent smartphone has several design issues impacting its repairability. LG must review its product design to be more sustainable.

    Some key findings of the product guide are:

    • Trending away from repairability:Design complexity, combined with the practice of soldering or gluing separate pieces together, makes repairing time consuming. Samsung and LG’s smartphones and Apple’s laptops have become increasingly less repairable.

    • Non-replaceable batteries: Nearly 70% of all devices tested had batteries that were impossible or difficult to replace due to design decisions and the use of strong adhesives to affix the battery to the casing. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone and Apple’s Retina MacBook exemplify this bad practice, with batteries thoroughly adhered to the device panels. While the Note7 was not considered in this analysis, Samsung might have been able to avoid recalling millions of devices if the phone’s design had enabled easy battery removal.

    • Non-standard tools: To discourage user repair, non-standard tools are increasingly required for working with proprietary screws and other parts. Apple’s iPhone, Oppo's R9m, and Huawei’s P9 are just some of the devices that require special tools to conduct repairs.

    • No access to repair manuals or spare parts: Very few electronics manufacturers provide users with information about how to fix their products. Out of the 17 brands represented in the survey, only 3—Dell, Fairphone and HP—provide all spare parts and repair manuals.

    “Electronics take a massive amount of energy, human effort, and natural resources to make,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens. “And yet, manufacturers produce billions more of them every year -while consumers keep them for just a few years before tossing them away. E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. We should be able to make electronics a more sustainable part of our lives.”

    Greenpeace is calling on the IT sector to design products that can be more easily repaired or upgraded and offer adequate post-sale support. This could be done by making repairing accessible and affordable, making spare parts, particularly batteries, displays and other components with high failure rates, available to customers for at least seven years and by promoting standards and laws that encourage product repair.

    Notes to editors:

    [1] The scorecards and product guide can be found at: http://www.rethink-it.org/en/

    [2] A summary of findings can be found here and the factsheet here.

    [3] Photos and video can be accessed here: http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJJT1MBE

    Media contacts:

    Maria Elena De Matteo, Global Communications Strategist, Greenpeace East Asia, phone: +852-55749984, mariaelena.dematteo@greenpeace.org

    Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

    Kay-Kay Clapp, Director of Communications, iFixit, kaykay@ifixit.com


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    June 28, 2017: The continued refusal of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to respond to any and all freedom of information requests represents a failure to the Australian taxpayer and is impermissible under law.

    More than 1,500 Greenpeace supporters used an online tool created to assist them in submitting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the board across a range of topics.

    The NAIF have responded with a blanket refusal to answer the requests.

    “The repeated refusal by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to reveal any information about their functioning is dismaying,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “Excuses have ranged from the usual commercial in confidence to documents being changed after the request was submitted to fears of cyber-bullying, and potential public opposition to NAIF’s plans.

    “What it amounts to is a refusal to have any form of accountability to the Australian public despite controlling $1 billion of their money.”

    In failing to respond to the most recent round of FOI requests the NAIF responded that answering would “substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency”.

    But Principal Solicitor with the Environmental Defenders Office NSW, Elaine Johnson, said the response was improper and was counter to the spirit of FOI laws.

    “In deciding whether an FOI request is unreasonable, it is irrelevant to consider the number of people who sought that information,” Johnson said.

    “The requests are legitimate requests and cover a range of important public interest issues, in relation to funding of Adani’s coal mine in the Galilee Basin, managing climate change risk and investments in fossil fuels.

    “The fact that more than 1,500 people have applied for documents held by NAIF only serves to demonstrate the clear public interest in making that information publicly available.

    “The approach proposed by NAIF to the requests is not consistent with how the law is intended to work.

    “NAIF is bound by these laws to respond in a way that favours access to information sought, yet it appears to be doing the opposite.

    Earlier this month an inquiry into the composition of the NAIF board was announced after possible conflicts of interest were revealed around some of the members.

    “A refusal to respond to taxpayers’ questions about how their money is being spent is outrageous enough in itself,” Casule said.

    “But when you combine it with the fact an inquiry is currently being conducted into the makeup of the board and the public statements being made by Coalition MPs about a proposed $1 billion loan to the rail infrastructure for the Carmichael coal mine, it makes it look like they have something to hide.”

    “Some requests are always going to be rejected but a blanket refusal to answer any and all questions is outrageous and this refusal should be included in the terms of reference for the senate inquiry.”

    For interviews contact: 
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    June 29, 2017: The Federal government’s threat to cut GST to state governments unless they allow unconventional gas exploration is a deplorable attempt at blackmail for the benefit of giant fossil fuel companies.

    Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned state and territory governments that they could face cuts to the amount of GST they’re given if they limit gas exploration via fracking following a Productivity Commission inquiry.

    “This is yet another example of the willingness of the federal government to use public money in their quest to support the destructive and selfish fossil fuel industry,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “GST money is used by states to fund schools and hospitals and threatening to withhold it in order to serve fracking companies that threaten Australians’ health and livelihoods is deplorable.

    “It isn’t enough for our governments to allow these companies to plunder Australia’s resources without paying a fair share of tax, or to push to funnel billions in public money into projects supporting them.

    “Now they want to try to take money away from communities who desperately need it in an attempt to blackmail them into opening their doors to the dangerous and profiteering fracking industry.”

    “The Prime Minister must immediately block this despicable and immoral proposal.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    BANGKOK, 11 JULY 2017 – Thai Union Group PCL has committed to measures that will tackle illegal fishing and overfishing, as well as improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the company’s supply chains.

    Thai Union’s new commitments build upon its sustainability strategy SeaChange®, including efforts to support best practice fisheries, improve other fisheries, reduce illegal and unethical practices in its global supply chains, and bring more responsibly-caught tuna to key markets.

    Today’s announcement follows a global Greenpeace campaign.

    “This marks huge progress for our oceans and marine life, and for the rights of people working in the seafood industry,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid. “If Thai Union implements these reforms, it will pressure other industry players to show the same level of ambition and drive much needed change. Now is the time for other companies to step up, and show similar leadership.”

    Thai Union has agreed to a comprehensive package of reforms, including commitments to: 

    • Reduce the number of fish aggregating devices (FADs) used globally in its supply chains by an average of 50% by 2020, while doubling the amount of  verifiable FAD-free fish available in markets globally in the same period. FADs are floating objects that create mini ecosystems and may result in the catch of marine species, including sharks, turtles, and juvenile tuna.

    • Extend its current moratorium on at-sea transshipment across its entire global supply chain unless new strict conditions are met by suppliers. Transshipment at sea enables vessels to continue fishing for months or years at a time and has the potential to facilitate illegal activity.

    • Ensure independent observers are present on all longline vessels transshipping at sea to inspect and report on potential labor abuse, and ensure 100 percent human or electronic observer coverage across all tuna longline vessels it sources from.

    • Develop a comprehensive code of conduct for all vessels in its supply chains, to complement the existing and strengthened Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct, to help ensure workers at sea are being treated humanely and fairly, and third party independent audits with publicly accessible results and clear timelines to ensure its requirements are being met.

    • Shift significant portions of longline caught tuna to pole and line or troll-caught tuna by 2020 and implement strong requirements in place to help reduce bycatch. Longline vessels present a risk for catching non-target species like seabirds, turtles, and sharks.

    • Move to full digital traceability, allowing people to track their tuna back to the vessel it was caught on and identify the fishing method used.

    “Thai Union has fully embraced its role as a leader for positive change as one of the largest seafood companies in the world,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union’s CEO.

    “Thai Union looks forward to continuing to execute our SeaChange® sustainability strategy, strengthened and enhanced by the joint agreement with Greenpeace and our shared vision for healthy seas now and for future generations.” 

    Greenpeace and Thai Union have agreed to meet every six months to assess the company’s progress and implementation. At the conclusion of 2018, an independent third-party will review progress to-date on the commitments.

    “Thai Union has set a new standard for the seafood industry to deal with destructive fishing, labor abuse, and unethical practices,” McDiarmid continued. "This is a great day for the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who want the seafood industry to take stronger action to eliminate these problems."

    Thai Union owns well-known tuna brands globally, including Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Mareblu, and Sealect. Nearly 700,000 individuals around the globe called on Thai Union to commit to selling more sustainable and ethical canned tuna. Following today’s announcement, Greenpeace, its allies, and the independent auditor will continue to track Thai Union and the broader industry’s progress to ensure these commitments lead to real changes on the water.

    ###

    Note to Editors:

    To learn more about Thai Union’s package of reforms, please click here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/documents/oceans/Thai-Union-Commitments.pdf

    Contacts:

    Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Seafood Communications and Outreach Manager, P: +1 301-675-8766

    Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours) 


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    July 12, 2017: The Queensland government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 will do nothing to protect the Great Barrier Reef or the country from climate change if Australia does not reduce coal exports.

    Yesterday the state government in Queensland announced a plan to join NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT in setting a net zero emissions target.

    “It is heartening to see Queensland joining other state governments in setting a target of zero emissions by 2050 and stepping up while the federal government does nothing,” Greenpeace Campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said. 

    “But if we do not reduce our exports of fossil fuels, primarily coal, this is only a half-measure and will do nothing to combat climate change and protect natural treasures like the Great Barrier Reef.

    “Australia produces nearly twice as much carbon dioxide emissions through the coal we export than we emit domestically.[1]”

    Ms Foster Vander Elst said it was two-faced to outline emissions targets at a time when the state government was pushing the largest coal mine Australia has ever seen.

    “If mining in the Galilee basin goes ahead emissions from Australia’s coal exports will double [2],” she said.

    “Worse than this, the federal government is considering giving a billion dollars of public money to the project to help it along.

    “The choice is clear for Queensland - we can have coal or we can have the Great Barrier Reef, not both.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/Global/australia/reports/Exporting%20climate%20change,%20killing%20the%20reef.pdf

    [2] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/5cb72fc98342cfc149832293a8901466.pdf


    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    Ahead of Minister Upton’s speech at the Keep NSW Beautiful Congress today, Greenpeace sent a colourful message to the NSW Environment Minister to clean up the state’s act and finally ban the bag.

    Greenpeace parked a 5 metre high mobile billboard out the front of the Congress at the Kirribilli Club for the Environment Minister to see out the window as she gave her speech.

    Greenpeace’s plastic bag campaigner questioned the Environment Minister as she walked in to give her speech (video).

    “In order to Keep NSW Beautiful we need the Berejiklian Government to get with the program and ban the bag, just like other states and the big supermarket chains have,” Greenpeace plastic bag campaigner Samantha Wockner.

    “Minister Upton has an important opportunity to finally ban the bag on Friday when she meets with environment ministers from other states and territories.

    “Most of the other states and territories are already banning single use plastic bags and even Coles and Woolworths have announced they will phase them out over the next 12 months.

    “It’s time for NSW to clean up its act.

    “Every year in Australia, tens of millions of plastic bags make their way into our waterways and eventually end inside marine life and our food.

    “It’s embarrassing that it is taking NSW so long to act, despite being Australia’s most populous state and having so many beautiful beaches and waterways that need protection from plastic pollution,” Ms Wockner said.

    The giant billboard displayed powerful videos (http://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJXR1MHD) and images urging Minister Upton and Premier Berejiklian to ban the bag.

    Photos of the billboard outside the Congress (http://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJX48UPR)

    Contact - Monique Vandeleur 0419 588 430

     

    Plastic facts:

    • Plastic pollution is killing our marine life. 30% of the world’s turtles and 90% of seabird species have now ingested plastic debris.

    • Australians use tens of millions of plastic bags each day.

    • An estimated 50 million of the littered bags end up in our waterways and oceans each year.

    • There is now an estimated 1.7 million tonnes of plastic contaminating our waterways.

    • South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT all have bans on single-use plastic bags.

    • Queensland will introduce a ban in July 2018 while NSW and Victoria are yet to implement a policy on bags. Western Australia has stated it hopes to bring in a ban on bags in the next 18 months.


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    August 2, 2017: Freedom of Information requests have revealed details of the Queensland government’s “transparent policy framework” on Adani is being kept secret with officials asking for help calculating the benefits of the a royalty holiday after its announcement earlier this year.

    Documents supplied to The Guardian are heavily redacted and appear to both show that public servants attempted to find an economic justification for the government’s “royalty holiday” to Adani after it was issued, and to confirm that the arrangement was made specifically for Adani.

    “Trying to find a justification for a royalty holiday after it has been granted is like a bank doing background checks after giving someone a home loan,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said.

    “The Australian public deserve better and the government must immediately release all of the documents showing the full process of their allegedly ‘transparent policy framework’.”

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific are calling for the Queensland government to make good on its promise that there would be no royalty holiday for the Adani Carmichael mine and to release the full details of their framework.

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://bit.ly/2vgkFHN

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    Sydney, Australia August 8, 2017: Groundbreaking shareholder litigation filed against Australia’s largest bank by its own shareholders will argue that the Commonwealth Bank have failed in their duty to disclose the risk that climate change poses to the bank.

    Filed today by Environmental Justice Australia on behalf of shareholders of over twenty years, Guy and Kim Abrahams, and litigated by former Federal Court judge Ron Merkel QC, the case will argue that the bank has failed in its duty to shareholders to disclose the financial and reputational risk posed by climate change.

    "The Commonwealth Bank's multi-billion-dollar exposure to fossil fuels not only poses a threat to future generations and the Great Barrier Reef, but as regulators and analysts have repeatedly warned, it also poses a risk to the Bank's own shareholders,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesperson Jonathan Moylan said.

    “Projects like Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and the Newcastle coal port expansion must not continue if we have any chance of slowing climate change and meeting our targets under the Paris Accords.

    “Despite a public commitment to taking action on climate change CommBank continues to pour billions of dollars into the expansion of fossil fuel projects.”

    Analysis [1] by environmental finance group Market Forces shows that the Commonwealth Bank has loaned AU$6 billion to fossil fuel companies in the last eighteen months since they publicly committed to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, representing lifetime emissions of 2.8 billion tonnes of CO2, making the Commonwealth Bank the most polluting bank of the "Big Four" Australian banks.

    They are also the only remaining big four Australian bank to have not ruled out financing Adani's coal mine in the Galilee Basin, and have operated as a transactional bank for the project.

    The Commonwealth Bank are also currently facing allegations of more than 50,000 cases of failing to comply with laws relating to money laundering. These allegations are currently before the court.

    “The current allegations against CommBank, if proven true, would be another example of the bank's litany of failures it its attempts to appropriately manage risk in recent years,” Moylan said.

    “Today's filing by Environmental Justice Australia demonstrates another threat that the bank are failing to take seriously - that of climate change, which poses a serious and material risk to banks that continue to expose themselves to fossil fuel projects that would become stranded assets if the Paris targets are met.

    “This case is the latest demonstration of growing public concern about financial institutions' failure to account for climate risk. The age of coal is ending, and investments of this nature are only getting riskier.

    “Commonwealth Bank investors need to know how exposed they are to these risks.”

    While fourteen international banks including HSBC, Deutsche Bank and ING have adopted policies excluding new coal mines in recent years, the Commonwealth Bank has failed to do so.

    Financial institutions have been repeatedly warned of the risk of litigation due to climate risk, most notably by the G20 Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, led by Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, and by Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority director Geoff Summerhayes, who in February warned that the prudential regulator would be paying increased attention to climate risk.

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] https://www.marketforces.org.au/campaigns/banks-new/twodegrees/

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    August 9, 2017: The approval of a new coal lease in southern Queensland shows the government are more interested in propping up the fossil fuel industry than protecting communities and the environment.

    Mining giant Glencore was yesterday granted the first mining leases for a 22 million tonne thermal coal mine in the Surat Basin at Wandoan, north west of Brisbane.

    “The Queensland government have repeatedly shown their first priority is to prop up a dying coal industry instead of standing up for communities and the environment,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Nikola Casule said.

    “We can either have a healthy planet and thriving Great Barrier Reef or we can have new coal mines, not both.

    “While the world is moving away from coal, Australia’s politicians seem content to take us in the opposite direction.

    “This approval is simply the latest in a long series of decisions benefitting the coal industry at the expense of the Australian people and the places they love.”

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling for the government to stop the lucrative taxpayer-funded handouts designed to prop up the coal industry despite the fact that global coal demand is in decline.  [1]

    “Our energy future is in renewables, not last century’s polluting coal. Any country that attempts to stick to the fossil fuel path will be left behind,” Casule said.

    “Our politicians must abandon their coal fetish and instead harness the renewable energy revolution to protect Australian communities and position Australia as an industry leader in this rapidly growing sector.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/docs/BoomAndBust_2017_EMBARGO.pdf

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    Hamburg, 5 July 2017 – Wind energy and solar power will be the cheapest form of power generation in every G20 country by the year 2030 at the latest, a new Greenpeace Germany report has found.

    Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, the Greenpeace Germany-commissioned study also found that in about half of the G20 countries, renewable energy has been cheaper or equal in price to electricity generated from dirty coal or hazardous nuclear power plants since 2015.

    Read the full report

    "There can be no excuses anymore. Climate protection increasingly makes economic sense across the G20 as renewable energy becomes cheaper than dirty coal and nuclear,” Greenpeace Germany energy expert Tobias Austrup said.

    “Any G20 country that is still investing in coal and nuclear power plants is wasting their money on technology that will not be competitive in coming years. The G20 now has a responsibility to send a clear signal that accelerating the clean energy transition is not only the right thing to do for the climate, but also for the economy.”

    The Finnish Lappeenranta University of Technology study, commissioned by Greenpeace, calculates the electricity generation costs in all G20 countries for the years 2015 and 2030.

    The study found that wind farms already generate the cheapest form of electricity in 2015 in large parts of Europe, South America, the US, China and Australia. Due to rapid technical progress and falling price, in 2030 solar energy will be so cheap that it will be even cheaper than wind power in many G20 countries.

    Global investments mirror the results of the Greenpeace study. UN figures reveal that in 2016 investments in renewables were double that of investments in conventional power stations. About 55 percent of the added electricity capacities were based on renewable energies last year - a record figure.

    US President Trump, however, is mistakenly promoting coal and nuclear power.

    "Trump’s energy policy is simply a bad deal," Austrup added. "The US has excellent conditions for expanding its wind and solar energy capabilities and states like California, Texas or Iowa will not miss this chance."

    Notes:

    Greenpeace Germany study comparing electricity production costs: http://gpurl.de/9IHVS

    UN study on global trends in renewable energy investment: http://fs-unep-centre.org/sites/default/files/publications/globaltrendsinrenewableenergyinvestment2017.pdf

    Media contacts:
    Gregor Kessler, Greenpeace Germany, Communications: gregor.kessler@greenpeace.org +49 151 7270 2918

    Greenpeace International Press Desk: +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours) pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org


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    July 28, 2017: New analysis by Greenpeace released today shows that if NSW and Vic continue to fail to ‘ban the bag’, an estimated 1.6 - 2 billion more bags per year will be used in Australia, even with voluntary phase outs by supermarkets.

    The analysis comes as Environment Ministers from across Australia meet in Melbourne today.

    Greenpeace plastics campaigner Samantha Wockner, who is in Melbourne with Greenpeace supporters demonstrating outside the meeting, said:

    “It’s time for New South Wales and Victoria to clean up their act and finally ban the bag.

    “Every other state and territory is banning the bag and even the big supermarket chains are acting.

    “Government inaction in our two most populous states is letting down the country.

    “We’re calling on NSW Environment Minister Upton and Victorian Environment Minister D'Ambrosio to finally ban the bag at today’s meeting of environment ministers.

    “Our analysis shows that the New South Wales and Victorian governments can’t get away with the excuse that they don’t need to act because the supermarkets are.

    “Even once the supermarket bans are in place, there will be 1.6 to 2 billion bags each year not covered if NSW and Victoria fail to act.

    “The analysis also shows that many websites including some government sources in Australia grossly underestimate the amount of plastic bags being used.

    “Our oceans are already being clogged up with plastic pollution, and the last thing we need is billions more bags across NSW and Victoria ending up in these states’ beautiful beaches, waterways and oceans to strangle and suffocate marine life,” Ms Wockner said. 

    Contact – Monique Vandeleur 0419 588 430

    Notes for editors: 

    For a copy of the analysis go to the Greenpeace blog

    http://www.greenpeace.org.au/blog/billions-of-bags/#.WX_PEVqg9QN


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    August 14, 2017: The climate policy released today by the Commonwealth Bank is significantly worse than expected and will do nothing to restore the bank’s tattered reputation.

    CommBank today released a one-page “Climate Policy Position Statement” which now makes them the only of the “big four” to not restrict lending around coal projects, and sees them fall far behind the standard set by other banks.

    “A climate policy that doesn’t mention coal or fossil fuels is not a climate policy at all,” Greenpeace campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.

    “The Commonwealth Bank commit in their policy to support a transition to net zero emissions by 2050 but then make a mockery of that promise by failing to outline any significant measures to achieve that goal.

    “By failing to exclude highly polluting fossil fuel projects like coal mines, CommBank have fallen far behind other banks such as HSBC and Deutsche Bank.”

    More than 90,000 people have called on CommBank to rule out fossil fuel projects and the bank is also subject to legal action for having failed to consider climate change a material financial risk in their 2016 annual report.

    Moylan said that the bank's recognition of the risk climate change poses to investors through its adoption of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations around climate related risks was welcome, but noted that the bank has again failed to take action.

    “In this policy, CommBank states they recognise that climate related risks are real but then fail to take any significant measures to curb them,” Moylan said.

    “This is flagrant hypocrisy from an institution struggling to protect its name after wave after wave of scandals.

    “By continuing to invest in the coal industry, CommBank have failed both the Australian people and their own shareholders by exposing them to the risk of catastrophic climate change.”

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org 


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    August 15, 2017: A report has found that levels of toxic air pollution emitted by Australian coal fired power plants are so high that many of them would be illegal in the US and Europe.

    Released today Environmental Justice Australia’s report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities[1] found emissions limits in Australia are much more lax than those in the US, EU and China and Mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits.

    “High-polluting coal power plants in Australia are putting communities at risk with the government doing nothing to hold these companies to account,” Greenpeace campaigner Andrew Kelly said.

    “These plants are pumping substances that directly cause and contribute to asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and respiratory disease into the air in much higher levels than would be permitted overseas.”

    The report also found that new “low emission” coal-fired power stations only marginally reduced toxins produced and that “despite evidence of a failure to comply with pollution licence conditions, no power station in Victoria, NSW or Queensland has been prosecuted for any offence in the past ten years”.

    It also uncovered several instances where officials from plants failed to report their emissions, or reported them incorrectly.  

    “The Australian government has shown over and over again that it is coal’s best friend,” Kelly said.

    “This shows that they are also the enemy of the very communities they are claiming to support with emissions limits rarely monitored or enforced.

    “Despite ample evidence emissions standards are being exceeded the government are yet to punish the plants responsible.”

    Michelle Coles runs Port Augusta's community cinema with her husband, and has been independently monitoring the air quality with a crowd-funding air monitor since a failure to decommission the plant properly saw “fly ash” cover the town for days.

    She said that the report was further demonstration State and Federal governments were failing to protect Australian communities from toxic air pollution from coal-fired power stations but warned communities needed to be protected during plant closures as well.

    “Governments are unprepared for power station closures and the huge task of decommissioning and rehabilitation,” Coles said.“Port Augusta is an example of what happens if you fail to plan a coal-fired power station closure properly.

    “The coal dust from the power station really affected our lives. We always had dust when the power station was operating. But over new years’, it was horrific. We had no information. People were coughing, had burning throats and itchy eyes. We were afraid to go outside. I'm talking about our families, our community.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://envirojustice.org.au/sites/default/files/files/EJA_CoalHealth_final.pdf

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    August 16, 2017: The Australian government must immediately rule out a taxpayer-funded loan to coal miner Adani after revelations the company is accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.

    The Guardian [1] today published details around the allegations that the company inflated invoices for an electricity project in order to move US$235 million into offshore bank accounts.

    “The fraud case currently before the courts is yet another warning of what a stupid idea it would be to give taxpayers’ money to Adani,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “There is already a cloud over the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s consideration of the Adani Carmichael mine proposal but this should be the final nail in the coffin.

    “To give a loan to a project that economists warn is a significant risk of becoming a stranded asset run by a company that is under investigation for funnelling borrowed money into overseas tax havens would be insanity.”

    Greenpeace are calling on the government to listen to the tens of thousands of Australians who  have spoken out against this project and immediately rule out loaning any money to the Carmichael rail line.  

    “According to the NAIF’s own charter this project should be ineligible as the company have stated they do not need the money to go ahead,” Casule said.

    “The government must immediately rule out any taxpayer money going to this dangerous and divisive project.”

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    Korpfjell, Barents Sea, Norway 17 August 2017: Peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have entered the exclusion zone of Statoil’s oil rig, Songa Enabler in the Barents Sea with kayaks and inflatable boats, while swimmers are in the waters protesting with hand banners.

    The activists are there to deliver this message to the Norwegian government from around the world: Put People over Arctic Oil.

    They are also displaying a constructed giant globe in front of the rig with written statements to the government.

    Thirty-five activists from 25 countries are escalating a peaceful protest after tailing the rig for one month in the Barents Sea.

    The Norwegian government has opened up a new oil frontier in the Arctic. The state-owned oil company has just started to drill for oil at the Korpfjell well, a controversial site 415km from land.

    It is close to the ice edge and an important feeding area for seabirds. This is the first opening of new areas for oil drilling in 20 years and it is the northernmost area licensed by Norway.

    The “environmentally friendly” Norwegian government granted new oil licenses, as part of the 23rd license round, in the Arctic on June 10 last year.

    Just ten days after, they ratified the Paris Agreement.

    Greenpeace US activist Britt Baker, at the location, said:

    “As an American and global citizen, Trump's decision to retreat from the Paris climate agreement and boost fossil fuels at the expense of people around the world was devastating. Likewise, we see the Norwegian government opening new oil areas in the Arctic at full throttle, in spite of knowing the dangers it will have for future generations. The major difference between the situation in the U.S and Norway is that Trump left the Paris agreement with tunnel-vision motives to extend handouts to the flailing fossil fuel industry.

    "Norway may as well have left the Paris agreement given the Norwegian's government desire to accelerate fossil fuel production. This government is showing the same disrespect to global climate commitments as Trump”

    Greenpeace and its co-plaintiff Nature and Youth are taking the government to court in November, arguing that the new oil licenses are in breach of the Norwegian Constitution’s right to a healthy environment (Article 112). Despite the ongoing legal case, Statoil is drilling several new oil wells in the Arctic this summer.

    Greenpeace Norway Arctic campaigner, Erlend Tellnes, from on board the Arctic Sunrise, said:

    “Norway is not as green as their image. With one hand, the government have signed the Paris Agreement and profiled themselvesas an environmental champion, whilst handing out hundreds of new oil blocks in the Arctic with the other. They ignore and disrespect environmental, scientific recommendations and have offered the oil industry licenses in some of the most pristine areas of the Arctic. Now they have to answer for their actions in court."

    Within a month more than 150,000 people have joined the call to the Norwegian government to respect the Norwegian Constitution and The Paris Agreement, bringing the number to 355,000.

    Notes to Editors

    Photos from the protest: http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJXVZK8M

    Full collection from The People vs. Arctic Oil ship tour: http://bit.ly/2x9s0GC

    Read more here about the climate lawsuit: http://www.greenpeace.org/norway/no/reports/Media-Briefing-Lawsuit-2017/

    Read more about oil drilling in the Barents Sea: 

    http://www.greenpeace.org/norway/no/reports/Media-Briefing-Oil-Drilling-in-the-Barents-Sea/

    Media contacts

    For interviews with activists and spokespersons on board:

    Poul Bonke Justesen, communications lead, Greenpeace Nordic. Mobile: +45 2629 4938

    Greenpeace International Press Desk:pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)


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    Sydney, 23 June 2017: Community backlash against the Commonwealth Bank’s support of fossil fuels is now so severe that the bank has been forced to set up a special taskforce to handle customers threatening to close their accounts.

    The revelation comes after continued pressure by customers and concerned community members who have staged numerous protests outside CommBank branches across the country and peppered the bank’s Facebook page with messages pleading for the bank to “dump coal” and “stop supporting the fossil fuel industry”.

    “Despite clear proof that fossil fuel investments are toxic, the Commonwealth Bank would rather create a PR team than deal with their customers’ concerns,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “Customers started out angry that the bank they trusted with their money is investing in fossil fuels that are damaging the environment and killing the Great Barrier Reef and now they are furious that those concerns are being ignored.

    “The only substantial thing CommBank have done since their customers started telling them they wanted action on climate change has been to set up a team of people to try to convince people not to take their business elsewhere,” Dr Casule said.

    The Commonwealth Bank made a public commitment to take action to limit global warming to no more than two degrees in late 2015, but last year lent a massive $3.886 billion to coal, gas and oil mining and infrastructure projects, making it the biggest funder of dirty fossil fuels in Australia in 2016.

    Under questioning at a parliamentary inquiry in March, CEO Ian Narev was unable to provide a single example of the bank’s climate policy affecting lending decisions and last month it was revealed that CommBank had been secretly working with Adani to facilitate the construction of the Carmichael megamine. It has still not ruled out providing finance to the proposed mine.  

    A new international study into 37 banks’ fossil fuel lending policies by BankTrack yesterday put the Commonwealth Bank at the bottom of the pile because of its failure to evidence any policies to restrict coal, gas or extreme oil projects.

    “I have been a CommBank customer for over 20 years. I have several mortgages and a business account,” Cabarita resident and business owner, Michael Rahme, said.

    “Investing in new coal mines  and coal fired power stations has clearly and undoubtedly become an investment risk, a social risk, and an environmental risk that can no longer be ignored. The individuals on the Board of CommBank would be morally and ethically bankrupt to continue to do so.

    “If Commbank do not publicly declare that they will no longer fund or lend or invest in new coal fired power stations, I will be leaving the bank and never coming back.”

    Close to 85,000 people have signed a petition calling on CommBank to stop funding new coal, and over 4,500 CommBank customers have indicated they are considering changing banks over their support of dirty coal, oil and gas projects.

    “Instead of action to address the concerns of their customers all we have seen is more empty repetition of the same PR rhetoric and spin in direct letters and emails to customers,” Dr Casule said.

    “The Commonwealth Bank talks up the need to address climate change, invest in renewables and help us transition to a low-carbon economy, but they are not living up to their word.”

    For interviews contact:

    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org 02 9263 0354 | 0413 993 316

    Notes

    Market Forces’ research shows CommBank is Australia’s dirtiest bank, lending $3,886 million to fossil fuels in 2016 and a total of $20.5 billion between 2008 and the first half of 2016 (including $4.523 billion to coal mines, coal fired power plants and coal ports).


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    Amsterdam, 12 July 2017 - Responding to news that one of the largest icebergs ever recorded has broken off the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf, Paul Johnston, head of Greenpeace International’s Science Unit, said:

    “The melting ice of Antarctica has always been recognised as a 'canary in the coal-mine' warning the world of the dangers of climate change. The collapse of this ice-shelf, the third collapse in this region in recent years, is possibly yet another signal of the global impact of climate change — and the imperative of implementing the Paris climate agreement, shifting to 100% renewable energy sources and leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”

    “No one knows for sure if climate change played a definitive role in the break of the Larsen C ice shelf, but given the relatively recent breakup of other shelves, and the contribution thought to have been made to erosion of the ice by warmer waters around the Antarctic Peninsula in those cases, it seems likely that human activities are a factor.

    “We’re still in the safe zone for avoiding catastrophic climate change. But we must act fast. Decisions taken now by governments and industry will decide whether billions of people have safe, prosperous lives in the future.”

    “It is the ultimate irony that this happens soon after Trump has taken the US, the world's biggest carbon polluter in history, out of the Paris climate agreement. Rather like the ice-shelf, Trump has detached the US and left it isolated to drift alone. The rest of the world will move ahead taking advantage of the opportunities for clean, renewable energy and the benefits that the low carbon economy brings.”

    Notes to editors:

    http://www.climatesignals.org/headlines/events/larsen-c-ice-shelf-calving-and-retreat-2017  

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-01-26/antarctic-tipping-points-for-a-multi-metre-sea-level-rise/

    https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7596/full/nature17145.html

    Media contacts:

    Greenpeace International press desk: pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

    Simon Black, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     

     


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    July 14, 2017: Greenpeace Australia Pacific welcomes today’s decision by Woolworths and Coles to completely phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

    The supermarket giants today announced they would no longer offer the lightweight plastic shopping bags across their chains of stores network in Australia.

    “This announcement by Woolworths and Coles show they are serious about their responsibilities as Australia’s largest supermarket chains,” Greenpeace campaigner Samantha Wockner said.

    “This ban will stop billions of bags from being used each year in Australia, tens of millions of which can make their way into our waterways and eventually end inside marine life and our food.

    “The environment ministers of Victoria and NSW need to recognise that they are being left behind on this issue and must step up and show the leadership that is embarrassingly being shown by supermarket chains and not them.”

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on the state governments of NSW and Victoria to follow the lead set by Woolworths and Coles.

    South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT all have bans on single-use plastic bags. Queensland will introduce a ban in July 2018 while NSW and Victoria are yet to implement a policy on bags. Western Australia has stated it hopes to bring in a ban on bags in the next 18 months.

    “The overwhelming majority of Australians support a ban on single use plastic bags - which are only used for minutes on average, but then take up to a thousand years to decompose,” Wockner said.

    “There is no reason for the paralysis currently infecting some state and federal governments on this issue.

    “It’s time for us to ban the bag at every level.”

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    August 10, 2017: Leaders from Australian business, industry, and academia have published an open letter in The Australian Financial Review calling for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to provide more transparency around their policies one day before a senate inquiry into the board’s composition.

    The letter also calls for members to rule out any involvement with Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland, with the NAIF currently considering a proposal to loan $1 billion of taxpayers’ money to the billionaire mining company for the construction of a rail line.

    “Given the large amount of public money at stake and the high degree of community interest in this issue, it is particularly important that the public not be kept in the dark,” the letter reads.

    “We ask you to be transparent and open in your decision-making.

    “In reaching your decision, please give proper weight to the overwhelming popular conviction that public money should not be used to finance Adani’s high-risk Carmichael project.”

    The letter comes one day before the fund is due to face a senate grilling over possible conflicts of interest on its board after revelations that one of the board’s directors also runs companies associated with mining labour and equipment hire and was personally known by the the former resources minister.

    “The controversy surrounding the NAIF and its consideration of this project has united Australians from every background,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Nikola Casule said.

    “This letter is another reminder that both experts in corporate governance and transparency as well as ordinary Australians are opposed to any taxpayers’ money being used to prop up a dying industry. New coal mines, like the Carmichael mine, aren’t viable without the support they get from the government in the form of subsidies and royalty holidays.

    “With this letter more prominent voices join those of former treasurer Wayne Swan and former Liberal Party leader John Hewson in warning against any public money going into this mine.”

    The letter has been signed by:

    Jon AltmanProfessor of Anthropology, Deakin University

    Frank BongiornoProfessor of History, Australian National University

    Ian DunlopFormer Chair, Australian Coal Association and CEO AICD

    Robyn EckersleyProfessor of Political Science, University of Melbourne

    Alex GardnerProfessor of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, The University of

    Western Australia

    Sarah JosephProfessor of Law, Monash University

    John KeaneProfessor of Politics, University of Sydney

    Stephen Keim SCSenior Counsel

    Greg McIntyre SCSenior Counsel

    John QuigginProfessor of Economics, University of Queensland

    Barry RafeDirector Trainer

    Christopher WrightProfessor of Organisational Studies, University of Sydney

    James WrightCEO, Future Business Council

     

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    August 11, 2017: The secret deoarture of a board director of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) one week before a senate inquiry is yet another clear sign it is operating as a “slush fund” without accountability and must be disbanded.

    A submission made to the inquiry by the NAIF itself shows that director Sally Pitkin ceased her association with the body on July 31, 2017.

    No mention of Ms Pitkin’s departure has been made on the NAIF’s website nor has any public announcement been made about her position or the effect this resignation will have on the projects the board is considering.

    “The NAIF is run by a compromised board of hand-picked mining executives, some of whom were personally familiar with, and recommended by, the former resources minister Matt Canavan,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Nikola Casule said.

    “They have consistently refused any public accountability or oversight. This latest resignation, done quietly behind the scenes only a week before a senate inquiry into the Facility, shows that the NAIF is in disarray and not fit for purpose.

    “If the NAIF is truly to operate in the interests of Northern Australia rather than a $5 billion ‘slush fund’ of public money, as it was described by former treasurer, Wayne Swan, it must be disbanded so we can start again.”

    The Australian Senate voted to establish an inquiry into the NAIF and any potential conflicts of interest on its board after revelations that one of the board’s directors, Karla Way-McPhail, also runs mining labour and equipment hire companies and had made “hyper-partisan comments” online in support of the coal industry.

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    June 19, 2017: The practices and culture revealed during yesterday’s Sunday Night program appear to show company using the good name of charities to take advantage of the Australian public.

    The program heard from former workers who claimed as little as seven per cent of the donations were actually passed on to the desired charity, with the rest going directly to the Appco Group.

    It also claims Appco staff mocked the very charities they were raising money to support. 

    “The behaviour credited to Appco staff during the Sunday Night show is disgusting,” Greenpeace Deputy Program Director, Nic Seton, said.

    “While Greenpeace Australia Pacific have never had any dealings with Appco we are nonetheless concerned by claims that any company would use a charity’s good name to gouge the public for donations."

    Greenpeace use a number of different service providers to connect with the public for charitable donations all of which go through a rigorous due diligence process.

    “Agencies are constantly reassessed as part of this due diligence process and any suppliers who show a lack of ethics or predatory behaviour will be terminated,” Seton said.

    “We believe in protecting the environment and assisting impacted communities and every single dollar that we raise is budgeted to best maximize our impact.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    6 July 2017: The Government has again avoided the embarrassment of an ‘in danger’ listing for the Great Barrier Reef following today’s UNESCO World Heritage Committee decision, but Australians will hold them to account for their hypocrisy, says Greenpeace campaigner, Alix Foster Vander Elst.

    “The Government says one thing, but does another on the Reef,” said Ms Foster Vander Elst.

    “Queensland and Australian government ministers say they are committed to preserving the Reef for future generations, but their actions make it quite clear they do not care enough to do what we need to save it.”

    Both the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and the Government’s own Reef 2050 Advisory Committee have warned that the Government’s Reef 2050 Plan, which primarily addresses water quality and land clearing, is inadequate and will not work because it does not address the primary threat to the Reef—climate change.   

    UNESCO’s scientific report on coral reefs released on 23 June warns the only way to save the Reef from certain destruction before the end of the century is to halt global warming at well below 1.5-2°C above pre-industrial levels.

    “The Australian Government has the power to act on global warming. It is utterly irresponsible to suggest otherwise. And Australia must act if it is serious about protecting the Reef. This means we must keep 90 per cent of existing coal reserves in the ground [1],” Ms Foster Vander Elst said.  

    “But instead, the Queensland and Australian Governments are pouring billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into fossil fuel subsidies, talking up the construction of more coal-fired power stations and bending over backwards to facilitate the expansion of Australian coal mining in the Galilee basin, including a proposal for the NAIF to provide a $1 billion loan to the billionaire Adani mining corporation,” said Ms Foster Vander Elst.

    “When the Government is spending fifty five times more on fossil fuel subsidies [2] than on its much-touted Reef 2050 plan, it’s quite clear what its priorities really are.

    “What we should be doing is cutting fossil fuels subsidies, banning new coal mines and offering the world real climate leadership. If we do not act now, then when Australians mourn the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef in years to come, they will know who to blame: the Abbott-Turnbull Australian Governments who wilfully promoted fossil fuels over committed action on climate change,” Ms Foster Vander Elst said.

    Notes
    [1] See Greenpeace Report April 2016, ‘Exporting climate change, killing the reef’ at http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/Global/australia/reports/Exporting%20climate%20change,%20killing%20the%20reef.pdf

    [2] The Reef 2050 Plan has a price-tag of $2bn over ten years—or $200m a year—but Market Forces has identified $11bn in tax-payer funded fossil fuel subsidies provided by the Government each year: ‘How your taxes subsidise fossil fuels, Market Forces, http://www.marketforces.org.au/ffs/tax/

    Background briefing & timeline
    Greenpeace’s newly updated 18-page report, ‘The double threat to the Great Barrier Reef: climate change and the Australian Government’ offers a  background briefing and timeline on UNESCO, the Australian Government and the Reef: http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/oceans/resources/reports/The-double-threat-to-the-Great-Barrier-Reef/

    Photos and video
    High resolution photographs and video for the media can be accessed in the Greenpeace media library here, including drone footage of bleached coral: http://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJJD68E1

    For interviews contact
    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner 0413 993 316 rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org


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    Sydney, 11 August 2017: Commonwealth Bank have become the 24th bank to rule out funding the controversial Adani mine, but need to show significantly more ambition and rule out all new coal funding in their updated climate policy expected to be released on Monday.

    The bank, which is currently facing litigation by shareholders for failing to disclose climate risk, today confirmed they had not been approached to finance the controversial development in Queensland and "would not be" approached in the future.

    "Today’s announcement by CommBank means it is even more unlikely that Adani’s project will gain the finance necessary to build the controversial Carmichael mine, but CommBank is still right at the bottom of the league table in terms of bank climate policies,” Greenpeace campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.

    “Fourteen banks globally, including HSBC and Deutsche Bank, have ruled out funding new coal projects, and CommBank will continue to face public pressure until it does the same.”

    "CommBank has financed more fossil fuel pollution than any other Australian bank since it committed to support the Paris Agreement only eighteen months ago.”

    “If CommBank do not rule out funding fossil fuels projects in their new climate policy, that Paris Agreement commitment will look even more hollow.”

    Analysis by University College London’s Institute for Sustainable Resources shows that to limit average global warming to two degrees, a third of the world’s oil reserves, half of its gas reserves and 80 per cent of coal reserves must remain in the ground. 

    “Australians do not want their money invested in projects that damage the Great Barrier Reef, and pose a risk to Pacific Islanders and future generations,” continued Mr Moylan.

    "Greenpeace will keep up the pressure to ensure that CommBank take steps to rule out new investments in the dying coal industry and reflect the concern of their customers, shareholders, and the wider Australian community."

    For more information, contact:

    Simon Black 
    Senior Media Campaigner

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific

    Tel: 0418 219 086
    Email: sblack@greenpeace.org