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A feed containing all Greenpeace Australia Pacific press release
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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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    August 21, 2017: The contamination of Sydney’s drinking water catchment by millions of litres of highly toxic water from a decommissioned mine is yet another reason for the government to distance itself from the polluting coal mining industry.

    One of Australia's leading water scientists, Dr Ian Wright, today described the waste water contamination revealed in his research [1] from the derelict Berrima Colliery, which was shut down in 2013, as “the worst” he's ever seen.

    “Yet again the coal industry have demonstrated their indifference to the environment and the community,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “This mine is continuing to pollute from beyond the grave with millions of litres of toxic water draining into the Sydney drinking water catchment and posing a risk almost five years after it was shut down.

    “The mine’s owners have taken their profits, packed up, and moved on, but the communities left behind have to swallow the costs.”

    The tests conducted by Dr Wright found dangerous amounts of heavy metals in nearby rivers, with registering  at 120 times the normal level and almost 90 per cent of the aquatic insects in the discharge vicinity have been wiped out. There are close to 50,000 derelict mines across Australia.

    “This is not the first time a coal mine has been shown to still be polluting the environment and threatening people’s health long after it was shut down, and it shows yet another cost of the government’s coal fetish,” Casule said.

    “Both state and federal governments must immediately move to ensure a just transition for mine workers and to ensure fossil fuel companies are held to account for their crimes, whenever they are perpetrated.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS: 

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    22 August 2017: Today the world mourns a fearless voice in the battle for global climate safety, Climate Ambassador and former Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum.

    “On behalf of Greenpeace, our staff, our volunteers, supporters and friends, we extend the deepest condolences to the family of Honorable Tony de Brum”, said Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter.

    “Mr de Brum’s tireless dedication to the pursuit of security and sustainability for his home and his people has given hope and direction to vulnerable nations in the face of the climate crisis.  

    “Through his courage in tirelessly pursuing security and sustainability for his people, Mr de Brum demonstrated to vulnerable nations facing climate crisis that victory is always possible, and no obstacle is insurmountable.

    “A leader of the Pacific Islands, in all true meanings of the word, Mr de Brum leaves a legacy of courage, respect and dignity with his homeland and the climate movement.

    “We must continue to live within this inspiration and example. In solidarity and with a heavy heart, we will defend and continue his legacy.”

    For more information, contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    +61 (0)418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    August 23, 2017, Washington, DC: In response to the peer-reviewed study from Harvard University that compares what Exxon privately knew about climate change with what the company said publicly, Greenpeace USA Climate Liability Campaigner Naomi Ages said.

    “Exxon has officially run out of excuses. This peer-reviewed study from Harvard is just the latest piece of evidence indicating that the largest oil company in the world knew about the risks of climate change, but concealed them from the public and shareholders.

    "State attorneys general dedicated to protecting people and the environment from recent assaults should act now to hold polluters accountable for the biggest crisis facing humanity.

    "The pressure on the parties most responsible for climate change will continue, from investors who recognize the economic risks, to attorneys general in Massachusetts and New York, to the majority of the people in this country who know we need action on climate change.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS: 

    [1] http://nyti.ms/2w07YAr

    For more information, contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     

     


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    September 3, 2017: North Korea announced on Sunday that it had successfully conducted a nuclear test using a hydrogen bomb more powerful than any it previously used. This is believed to be the sixth test conducted by North Korea.

    In response, Greenpeace International, Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid said:

    “Greenpeace strongly condemns the alleged nuclear testing by North Korea. Greenpeace has opposed any kind of development, testing and use of nuclear weapons by any country since its founding in 1971. We are deeply alarmed by the news emerging from the region and by the prospects of looming escalation.

    “We believe in a world where peace is achieved through diplomacy, negotiation and cooperation, not by threat, military escalation and brinkmanship.

    “We urge all parties to rapidly de-escalate the situation and pull back from the brink. We call on the UN Security Council to uphold its primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security on behalf of all humanity and not individual national interests.

    “Furthermore, in a time where the threat of nuclear war has become, to some, thinkable again, world governments must use it as an impetus to come to their senses and disarm.

    On September 20 a new treaty banning Nuclear Weapons will be open for signature at the UN. We urge all governments to sign and ratify the treaty so that we can finally rid the world of this evil invention - nuclear weapons.”

    The nine nuclear armed states (the US, Russia, China, France, UK, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) still hold an estimated 16,300 nuclear warheads at 98 sites in 14 countries. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are all in possession of nuclear weapons.

    Media contacts:

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

    For Australian interviews contact:

    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    September 6, 2017: Queensland’s Parliament has shamed the Premiers of NSW and Victoria by taking decisive action to limit plastic waste by passing a ban on single-use bags and a drinks container refund scheme into law.

    The Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill was passed with bipartisan support last night.

    “With this law, Queensland become the latest state to listen to the people and take decisive action to limit plastic waste,” Greenpeace campaigner Samantha Wockner said.

    “Despite polls showing overwhelming support for banning the bag both Victoria and NSW are saddled with do-nothing Premiers who are refusing to take the hint.

    “Other states have now proved we can reduce plastic waste - the governments who aren't on board yet for bag bans or a container deposit scheme need to up their game.”

    Queensland’s new law sees it join South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT which all have bans on single-use plastic bags. Western Australia has stated it hopes to introduce a ban on bags in the next 18 months.

    NSW and Victoria are yet to implement any policy on bags.

    “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,” Wockner said.

    “By continuing to fail to act on plastic bags NSW and Victoria are ensuring an estimated 1.6 - 2 billion more bags per year will be used in Australia [2].”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://bit.ly/2eCLL21

    [2] http://bit.ly/2w4zQA9

     

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    September 7, 2017: Barnaby Joyce’s declaration that the government is “redesigning the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF)” so it can use $5 billion in taxpayer funds to better serve mining interests is a slap in the face to millions of Australians.

    The deputy PM made the troubling promise during a speech to the Minerals Council on Wednesday, during which he also attacked charities and environmental groups. The NAIF is currently considering a $1 billion loan to the Carmichael coal mine project.

    “The deputy PM is no longer pretending the NAIF is intended to do anything else other than siphon off $5 billion of taxpayers’ money to be used as a gift to the mining industry,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “This is a slap in the face to taxpayers, tourism operators, farmers, developers of renewable energy projects, and basically anyone else that isn't a well-paid mining executive living on public subsidies.

    “The NAIF has already been heavily criticised by leading voices in government and the corporate sector and is the subject of a senate inquiry over potential conflicts of interest. Making it more biased in favour of mining will only worsen the perception that it’s little more than a government-run slush fund.”

    The NAIF is not fit for purpose and the only solution is to scrap it completely and start again rather than creating a Frankenstein’s monster beholden only to the mining industry.

    “Barnaby Joyce is right that Australians are in the fight of their lives,” Casule said.

    “The coal mining industry is killing beloved natural treasures like the Great Barrier Reef, poisoning our air and water, and fuelling dangerous global warming.

    “Major financial institutions and businesses are recognising that continuing to fetishise coal is a road to nowhere. As recently as yesterday the CEO of AGL said coal could not deliver the reliable, affordable energy Australians need.  

    “The deputy PM needs to wake up, dismantle the NAIF, and stop propping up a dead industry that is doing immense damage.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

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

     

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    September 7, 2017: Barnaby Joyce’s declaration that the government is “redesigning the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF)” so it can use $5 billion in taxpayer funds to better serve mining interests is a slap in the face to millions of Australians.

    The deputy PM made the troubling promise during a speech to the Minerals Council on Wednesday, during which he also attacked charities and environmental groups. The NAIF is currently considering a $1 billion loan to the Carmichael coal mine project.

    “The deputy PM is no longer pretending the NAIF is intended to do anything else other than siphon off $5 billion of taxpayers’ money to be used as a gift to the mining industry,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “This is a slap in the face to taxpayers, tourism operators, farmers, developers of renewable energy projects, and basically anyone else that isn't a well-paid mining executive living on public subsidies.

    “The NAIF has already been heavily criticised by leading voices in government and the corporate sector and is the subject of a senate inquiry over potential conflicts of interest. Making it more biased in favour of mining will only worsen the perception that it’s little more than a government-run slush fund.”

    The NAIF is not fit for purpose and the only solution is to scrap it completely and start again rather than creating a Frankenstein’s monster beholden only to the mining industry.

    “Barnaby Joyce is right that Australians are in the fight of their lives,” Casule said.

    “The coal mining industry is killing beloved natural treasures like the Great Barrier Reef, poisoning our air and water, and fuelling dangerous global warming.

    “Major financial institutions and businesses are recognising that continuing to fetishise coal is a road to nowhere. As recently as yesterday the CEO of AGL said coal could not deliver the reliable, affordable energy Australians need.  

    “The deputy PM needs to wake up, dismantle the NAIF, and stop propping up a dead industry that is doing immense damage.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

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

     

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    September 19, 2017: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is set to ignore the wishes of a clear majority of Australians by refusing to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    More than 72 percent of Australians support a ban on nuclear weapons and more than 65 percent want Australia to sign up to the UN ban treaty, according to Reachtel polling commissioned by Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

    “Julie Bishop’s decision not to sign Australia up offers yet another example of how out of touch this government is,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said.

    “A clear majority of Australians want these weapons eliminated but the government still clings onto the flawed assumption that these weapons of mass destruction somehow make the world a safer place.”

    The polling also reveals that the government’s belief that the United States’ nuclear arsenal bolsters Australia’s national security is not a view shared by the majority of Australians.

    More than 71 percent of Australians surveyed disagreed with the notion that nuclear weapons make the world safer.

    “Bishop can’t go to New York and tell the world she is representing the will of the people,” Ritter said.

    “By refusing to be part of the international push to ban nuclear weapons Bishop is not only putting Australia on the wrong side of history but acting against the wishes of the people she claims to represent.”

    This is echoed by the fact that more than 65 percent of voters want Australia to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    With tensions rising on the Korean peninsula the catastrophic threat posed by nuclear weapons needs to be taken more seriously than any time in recent history.

    The world has previously united to ban chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions and landmines and the same thing needs to happen with nukes.

    It defies belief that eight nuclear states can possess these weapons of mass destruction for the foreseeable future without ever using them, intentionally or not.

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on Ms Bishop to do the right thing by the planet and her people and sign Australia up to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    “Nobody wins a nuclear war,” Ritter said.

    “The only way we can be truly free of the threat of nuclear annihilation is to consign these weapons to the dustbin of history.”

     

    For interviews contact:

    Martin Zavan

    Greenpeace Media Campaigner

    0424 295 422 / martin.zavan@greenpeace.org

     

    Notes for editors

    Link to polling

    What the UN treaty will do

    The treaty will comprehensively bans nuclear weapons and related activity. It will be illegal for parties to undertake any activities related to nuclear weapons. It bans the use, development, testing, production, manufacturing, acquiring, possession, stockpiling, transferring, receiving, threatening to use, stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons.

    When will it enter into force?

    Fifty states are required to ratify the treaty for it to enter into force. At a national level, the process of ratification varies, but usually requires parliamentary approval and the development of national legislation to turn prohibitions into national legislation. This process is also an opportunity to elaborate additional measures, such as prohibiting the financing of nuclear weapons.

    How is it different to the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty?

    The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968 contains only partial prohibitions, and nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties prohibit nuclear weapons only within certain geographical regions. The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty is an addition, and recognises the importance of full implementation of the NPT.

     


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    September 22, 2017: Another climate change denier will leave the public debate with the announcement of the resignation next month by Brendan Pearson from his position as Chief Executive of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

    Pearson's nine years at the MCA has been characterised by a constant undermining of the health and well-being of all Australians and the destruction of environmental treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef.

    “As the Great Barrier Reef bleached and much of its coral died, the MCA under Pearson funded climate denialism and boasted about fighting against meaningful action that would protect all Australians from the harm of dangerous global warming,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “The MCA's legacy is clear: a dying Reef, thousands of Australians suffering from preventable illness, the return of black lung to coal mining communities in Queensland, and an uncertain future facing catastrophic climate change.”

    Casule said that the departure of the controversial CEO presented an opportunity for the MCA to step back from climate denial and chart a new course.

    “The MCA have themselves claimed to be instrumental in the demise of the carbon and mining taxes contrary to the wellbeing of the Australian people and continue to spend millions advocating the creation of new coal-fired power generation,” Casule said.

    “We hope the new CEO will help the MCA turn their back on their climate change denialism and take a more serious approach to their responsibilities and the beliefs of their members, many of whom have made public commitments to combating climate change.”

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    October 10, 2017: A handout to the oil and gas industry by the board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has today confirmed they are a fossil fuel slush fund set up to funnel money into dying industries.

    NAIF today announced that it will provide a $18.6 million concessional loan to the company building the Onslow Marine Support Base to support shipping along the West Australian coast linked to oil and gas exports.

    “Our worst fears about the NAIF have been confirmed with this announcement: it’s clear now that the NAIF is simply a slush fund set up to funnel taxpayers’ money into fossil fuel projects,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “While the majority of Australians want our public money spent on renewable energy projects, schools, and hospitals the NAIF are instead intent on investing in the past, not the future.

    “And if Adani Group get their way we are in grave danger of seeing this board waste $1 billion more of taxpayers’ money on a rail line for a toxic coal mine.”

    Polling released on the weekend showed a majority of Australians now oppose Adani’s Carmichael coal mine with two thirds of people wanting the Queensland government to use its power to veto the loan [1].

    Last Saturday saw an unprecedented show of opposition to Adani’s Carmichael mine, with tens of thousands of Australians attending Stop Adani protests at dozens of sites around the country.

    “There is a renewable energy boom happening in North Queensland right now but the government is ignoring it even as the Great Barrier Reef bleaches and Australia’s emissions rise,” Casule said.

    “This decision is the result of a NAIF board that is hopelessly compromised by its links to the mining industry. The government must step in to reject any loan to Adani, and start over with a reformed, independent NAIF that puts the interests of Australians first. ”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://bit.ly/2kC5F2L

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    October 13, 2017: Greenpeace says the time has come for Norwegian oil company Statoil to “Gå hjem” (go home) too as Chevron follow BP in abandoning plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight, leaving Statoil as the last desperate oil major persisting with risky deepwater oil exploration.

    Statoil’s plans would place thousands of kilometres of pristine coastline, fishing towns, and tourist icons in grave danger, with companies admitting a major oil spill would reach coastal towns such as Kangaroo Island within days.

    “The news Chevron has given up on drilling in the Bight means the coastal communities of Southern Australia have dodged another bullet, but the threat of Statoil still looms,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said.

    “Oil spill modelling conducted last year for Statoil's well locations show that the entire southern coastline of Australia would be at risk in the event of an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight.

    “Coastal towns from Esperance in WA, to Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island and even Victoria’s Great Ocean road are still in danger from Statoil’s proposed deepwater wells.”

    Statoil announced their intentions to drill in the GAB after taking over two of BP’s exploration permits in June this year. Their announcement came mere months after the Norwegian national regulator voiced concerns over a surge in serious safety incidents at their wells.

    “Statoil are planning to expand their operations into the pristine South Australian coastline right at a time when their record of incidents and spills at wells have increased catastrophically,” Pelle said.

    “That worsening safety record includes a doubling of the volume of oil spills from their Norwegian wells last year and fourteen major safety incidents in the past eighteen months.

    “And this is despite Norway’s stricter regulations around oil drilling compared with Australia.  

    “Chevron’s announcement shows the only sane thing to do is for the federal government to terminate all oil leases in this area, reform our national oil regulations to world’s best practice, and move quickly to protect one of the world’s most biodiverse regions and the communities that surround it.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2017/05/11/statoil-arctic-barents-safety-incidents/

     

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    Pacific Islanders crowdfunding to call out hypocrisy at UN climate meeting in Germany

    October 13, 2017 - Two Pacific Island Representatives are calling on the public to join them as they head to a key UN climate meeting in Germany where they will demand that countries cut their sweet-talk and honour their Paris Agreement commitments.

    The Pacific Islands contribute virtually nothing to climate change but in a cruel twist of fate they will be more impacted than almost anywhere else on earth.

    Despite being at the coalface of global warming the big international climate meetings are dominated by the likes of China, the EU and the US, who too often decide the fate of the Pacific with little to no input from Pacific leaders.

    Even worse, nations like Australia portray themselves as climate progressives but at the same time violate the spirit of the Paris agreement by continuing to export and extract fossil fuels. Through coal Australia exports almost double the emissions it produces at home.

    “It’s a disgrace! The big polluters need to stop sugar-coating their climate destruction, step up and take responsibility for their actions,” Pacific Island Represent spokesman Samu Kuridrani said.

    “Our shorelines have eroded, the extinction of fish and the repetitive occurrence of extreme weather events is becoming the new norm. At the same time Australia, our so-called friend, exports more coal than ever. We have been hammered by the impacts of climate change and if nothing is done it could be even worse for the next generation.”

    Kuridrani is one of the faces of Pacific Island Represent (P.I Rep), a new group set up to inform, empower and support Pacific Islanders to challenge the hypocrisy of nations that say one thing and do another on climate change.

    As part of P.I Rep’s mission to call out the climate sweet-talk and demand that countries abide by their commitments Kuridrani and fellow P.I Representative Alisi Nacewa are travelling to Bonn, Germany where Fiji is hosting the 23rd Conference of Parties meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23).

    The meeting presents a unique opportunity for Pacific voices to be heard as it will be the first hosted by a Pacific island state. COP23 will be critical to the future of the Pacific with world leaders set to decide how to implement the Paris agreement, which aims to cap global warming at 1.5°C.

    “Limiting warming to 1.5°C means a chance to continue to live on our Pacific Island homes,” Nacewa said.

    “Rising seas are taking away scarce land, coastal erosion is digging away at the foundations of our homes and salt-water intrusion is making it harder to plant and grow food. Stopping global warming at 1.5°C means entire coastal villages will not have to relocate to escape rising seas.“

    In order to realise their goal P.I Rep is crowdfunding to get Kuridrani and Nacewa all the way from Fiji to Bonn.

    Going to COP would be a great opportunity to question world leaders on what they’re doing to reduce carbon emissions. Nations signed up to the Paris Agreements continue to extract, export and burn coal, oil and gas. They think that we don’t see the double game they’re playing,” Kuridrani said.

    I want to be the voice of my people. The decisions they’ll make at COP affect the Pacific and we need our voices to be heard. In the Pacific we making a stand by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and turning to renewable energy. We need answers from the global community on what they are actually doing to fix climate change and we need answers now!”

    Just a day after launching the group has already raised more than $12,000.

    COP23, chaired by Fiji, will be held in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17.

     

    To support P.I Represent’s! COP campaign click here

     

    For interviews contact:

     Greenpeace Media Campaigner Martin Zavan

     0424 295 422

     martin.zavan@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



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    September 12, 2017: Today’s move by the WA Premier to ban single-use bags highlights how out-of-touch the governments of NSW and Victoria are in being last to act despite overwhelming public support for action to reduce plastic waste.

    In announcing his state’s ban on single-use plastic bags today Mark McGowan told reporters plastic was "the curse of the earth" and was responsible for killing wildlife and degrading the environment.

    “Five out of seven states have now listened to the concerns of their residents and the scientists who have repeatedly warned how bad our plastic pollution crisis is,” Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said.

    “The only two states continuing to ignore the desire of their constituents by holding back a ban are Victoria and NSW. But while Victoria has left the door open, in NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flatly refused to consider a ban instead leaving the problem for industry to manage -  that’s a certain recipe for polluted beaches and dead marine life.  

    “Other states have now proved we can reduce plastic waste - these two governments who aren't on board need to wake up and take action.”

    WA’s ban will be effective from July 1, 2018 making NSW and Victoria the only Australian states that are yet to act on banning single use plastic bags.

    "This is a huge win for the people of WA less than a year after a previous state government publicly said they would never ban plastic bags," Greenpeace activist Bhaval Chandaria said.

    Queensland’s moved to ban single-use plastic bags and implement a container deposit scheme last week. South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT all have bans on single-use plastic bags in place. NSW and Victoria are yet to implement any policy on bags despite polls showing overwhelming support for a ban [1].

    “There is no good reason for the Premiers and Environment ministers of these two lagging states to still be dragging their heels,” Pelle said.

    “This paralysis means millions of plastic bags will make their ways into the environment and waterways of NSW and Victoria for absolutely no reason.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://bit.ly/2eCLL21

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    Monday 16th Oct, 2017: A group of people, including a number from coal-affected communities have today delivered a load of coal to the front of the Commonwealth Bank’s Harbour Street office in Sydney in order to highlight the consequences of their fossil fuel lending policies.

    A group of people, including a number from coal-affected communities have today delivered a
    load of coal to the front of the Commonwealth Bank’s Harbour Street office in Sydney in order to highlight
    the consequences of their fossil fuel lending policies.

    The coal has been placed in front of the main entrance to the building alongside posters highlighting the impacts of the Commonwealth Bank’s climate policy on community health, the environment, and the global climate.

    “The Commonwealth Bank’s climate policy promises to support a transition to net zero emissions by 2050 but their actions make a mockery of that promise,” Greenpeace campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.

    “By failing to exclude highly polluting fossil fuel projects like coal mines CommBank are funding projects that destroy our environment, take a catastrophic toll on the health of communities, and accelerate climate change.”

    Since March more than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for CommBank to rule out investment in new coal projects. But in October CommBank released a one-page “Climate Policy Position Statement” which contains no restrictions around lending to coal projects - the only of the “big four” to fail to do this[1].

    Newcastle resident and grandfather John Hayes lives within 200 metres of the world’s largest coal port in Carrington, for which the Commonwealth Bank was a mandated lead arranger.

    “The Commonwealth Bank is damaging the air quality of my community which is putting the health of my  seven grandchildren at risk,” Mr Hayes said. “I have come to Sydney today to attempt to deliver a bag of coal back to CommBank’s CEO, Ian Narev.”

    Analysis 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 [2].

    Despite public commitments to take action to limit global warming to no more than two degrees in late 2015 Commonwealth Bank last year loaned more than $3.8 billion to coal, gas and oil mining and infrastructure projects, making it the biggest funder of dirty fossil fuels in Australia in 2016.

    “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,” Moylan said.

    “CommBank must change their climate policy before their AGM to recognise that climate related risks are real and to take significant measures to curb them.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:


    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 /

    simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    October 17, 2017: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s new energy plan shows he has completely caved in to the extreme demands of the radical climate deniers in his party.

    The PM will today announce a plan to reposition Australia's energy and emissions policy to scrap all renewable energy subsidies, abandon the Clean Energy Target (CET), and mandate the use of energy like coal and gas.

    “Mandating coal and gas while abandoning renewables condemns our children's generation to a future of unchecked global warming,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “If this policy is adopted by the party room, nobody will take this PM seriously again.”

    Greenpeace is calling on the PM to recognise the impossibility of achieving Australia’s promised national emissions reductions targets under the Paris Agreement under this new plan.

    “We’ve had two sequential years of climate change-driven bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland is in the grip of drought,” Casule said.

    “But while Malcolm Turnbull knows Australia must move to reduce our emissions and combat climate change he is trying to appease the extreme elements in his party so he can keep his tenuous grip on power.   

    “This is a slap in the face to anyone who cares about Australia's future.

    “What’s more, recent reports have shown that renewables make energy cheaper. The best thing to do if you want to bring down prices is get more renewables into the grid.” [1]

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/solar_savings

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    October 17, 2017: Victoria’s move to ban single-use bags has left a dangerously out of touch NSW the last state to move on the most prevalent form of plastic pollution.

    Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, today announced the ban saying he would look to move “as quickly as we can” on the issue.  

    “With this move by Premier Andrews we now have NSW left as the odd state out in their failure to act on plastic bag pollution,” Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner, Simon Black, said.

    “NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is now lagging behind every other state in Australia and even behind the major supermarket chains who have also taken action to ban the bag.”

    In September Queensland and Western Australia joined South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT in implementing bans on single-use plastic bags.

    Premier Berejiklian in July said there was no need for NSW to ban single-use plastic bags as major supermarket chains had already done so.

    But analysis done by Greenpeace Australian Pacific showed a failure to ban single use plastics means 1.1 billion bags would continue to be discarded each year in NSW alone.

    “More than 1 billion bags in NSW will not be covered by the voluntary action by supermarkets. That’s billions of bags that Berejiklian is letting end up in our waterways and landfill,” Black said.

    “Letting supermarkets lead the state on environmental issues would be weak even if it were effective, given that it will still not solve the problem the Premier’s inaction is disgraceful.

    “The EPA’s director of waste management, Steve Beaman, was caught on tape talking about a ‘ban on bans’ in NSW [2] and if that’s the case it’s time to end that foolishness immediately.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://bit.ly/2w4zQA9

    [2] http://ab.co/2gMAGNn

    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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    CSIRO quietly funding climate denier super-lobbyists, the Minerals Council of Australia

    September 6, 2017: The credibility of Australia’s peak science body, CSIRO, has been rocked today by revelations that it has been a long-term financial supporter of mining super-lobbyists the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

    The government’s peak scientific body has been a paid up member of a coalition of the nation’s biggest polluters since 2004, paying $10,000 for an “annual subscription” in 2017, documents obtained by The Australia Institute under FOI laws reveal.

    “If AGL, Australia's biggest single carbon polluter, felt it had to quit the MCA in 2016 over its position on climate change, then it's incredible that the CSIRO is still involved,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner Nikola Casule said.

    “Their support of the MCA goes against both the overwhelming scientific opinion on coal and climate, and the CSIRO's own statements about remaining separate from political and policy debates.”

    The MCA has been a highly influential lobby group for the mining and energy industry for years, promoting coal mining and coal fired power, and lobbying against action on climate change. The MCA has in the past boasted to its members that it played a key role in abolishing the carbon and mining taxes in 2014.

    Over the same period the CSIRO has been accused of failing to provide the government with free and independent advice on climate-related issues. In 2016 newly appointed CSIRO CEO, Larry Marshall, attempted to cut hundreds of positions in climate science at the organisation [1].

    Emails leaked earlier this year revealed divisions within the CSIRO over its failure to make a submission to the government’s consultation on greenhouse gas emissions targets in 2009. [2]

    “Greenpeace is all in favour of a robust, science-driven CSIRO. Australia certainly needs its independent scientists now more than ever - but we won’t hesitate to call out apparent industry capture when we see it,” said Casule.

    Greenpeace is calling on CSIRO management to immediately cut all ties with the MCA.

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/04/csiro-confirms-300-job-cuts-with-climate-research-bearing-the-brunt

    [2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/06/csiro-member-minerals-council-which-fights-climate-change-action

    For interviews contact:

    Martin Zavan

    Greenpeace Media Campaigner

    0424 295 422 / martin.zavan@greenpeace.org

     


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    September 13, 2017: Two new potential cases of conflict of interest within the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) revealed by documents leaked to media are a clear indication something has gone badly wrong in “Canavan’s slush fund”.

    Media reports published on Monday reveal potential conflicts of interests for NAIF Chair, Sharon Warburton, and NAIF board director, Justin Mannolini, in relation to a project that is being considered for a taxpayer subsidised loan. This is in addition to a previously highlighted possible conflict of interest involving director Karla Way-McPhail that sparked the Senate inquiry in the first place.

    “These leaks reveal yet another potential conflict of interest at NAIF and are disappointing but sadly not surprising,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “When you fill a board almost entirely with current or former mining executives and ask them to make decisions about distributing $5 billion in taxpayer money, largely to mining companies, you can’t be surprised when you find yourself in this situation.”

    The report reveals that the NAIF board have been approached for funding by the proponents of the Balla Balla project, which comprises a port and railway to the Pilbara Iron Ore project in Western Australia. The Balla Balla Infrastructure Group (BBIG) is majority owned by NZ's Todd Corporation.

    The project poses a potential conflict of interest for the chair of the NAIF board, Sharon Warburton, who is also a non-Executive Director on the Board of Fortescue Metals - the fourth largest iron ore producer in the world and owner of the The Pilbara Infrastructure (TPI), which owns and operates a rail line and port facilities in the Pilbara.

    NAIF director Justin Mannolini is a Partner with the WA law firm Gilbert + Tobin - a firm hired to advise the Balla Balla Infrastructure Group on the execution of a State Agreement with the Government of Western Australia for the project that it is seeking a loan from NAIF to fund. The firm’s advisory role for the Balla Balla Infrastructure Group is ongoing.

    Mannolini is also the Chairman of the Board of Jindalee Resources - a company which has an interest in a number of iron and base metal projects in the Pilbara and other parts of Western Australia.

    “The consideration of this project poses a potential conflict of interest for both a NAIF board director and the board’s chair, Sharon Warburton,” Casule said.

    “When you combine this with the other potential conflicts within the board, NAIF’s refusal to respond in a substantive way to freedom of information requests, and assertions by prominent figures such as the former federal treasurer that it was setup to operate as a ‘slush fund’, it is clear that the NAIF is not fit for purpose.

    “The ongoing Senate inquiry into the NAIF has an obligation to get to the bottom of these new allegations and to call a second hearing as part of their inquiry. In the meantime, NAIF’s operations must be suspended until all outstanding questions regarding conflict of interest and transparency are addressed.”

    Last month the Senate ran a hearing into the NAIF and any potential conflicts of interest on its board after it was revealed one of the directors 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

    Martin Zavan

    Greenpeace Media Campaigner

    0424 295 422 / martin.zavan@greenpeace.org


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    September 13, 2017: Pyjama-clad Greenpeace activists representing Pricewaterhousecoopers Australia (PwC) and the Minerals Council have cosied up in a bed at the consulting firm’s Sydney office to highlight the awkward relationship between the two.

    PwC promotes itself as a corporate leader on environmental issues but the firm is putting its reputation at risk through its membership of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), which has repeatedly boasted about stymying action on climate change.

    PwC was the first professional services firm in Australia to becarbon neutral certifiedunder the National Carbon Offset Standard and is also a member of the UN Global Compact, which says businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges and undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.

    “PwC has taken some positive steps to mitigate its carbon footprint but all of this good work is put into question by its funding of the Minerals Council,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “The MCA not only questions the science of climate change but aggressively lobbies governments to prevent them from taking action to address it. If PwC wants to continue to be viewed as a business leader on environmental sustainability and climate change, it cannot simultaneously support the MCA and its anti-environmental positions.

    “If PwC genuinely believes in the environmental issues it has chosen to take a stand on it should follow AGL’s lead and quit the Minerals Council.”

    Last year AGL, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Australia, dropped its membership of the MCA over the company’s different position on renewable energy.

     

    For interviews contact:

    Martin Zavan

    Greenpeace Media Campaigner

    0424 295 422 / martin.zavan@greenpeace.org

     

    For photos:

    http://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJXDUQB2


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    October 17, 2017: A giant container of “Gladys Wrap” bearing the face of NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has been unveiled as part of the opening day of Sydney’s iconic Sculptures by the Sea.

    The guerilla art installation was created and placed among the other art exhibits by a dozen Greenpeace activists who are protesting the Premier’s refusal to join other states in regulating the use of single-use plastic bags.

    “Our analysis shows that the NSW government can’t continue to make excuses for their inaction on plastic pollution,” Greenpeace activist, Maggie Koussa, said.

    “Every state other than NSW have moved to ban single use plastic bags but Premier Berejiklian continues to do nothing.”

    Premier Berejiklian in July said there was no need for NSW to ban single-use plastic bags as major supermarket chains had already done so.

    But analysis done by Greenpeace Australian Pacific showed a failure to ban single use plastics means 1.1 billion bags would continue to be discarded each year in NSW alone.

    “More than 1 billion bags in NSW will not be covered by the voluntary action by supermarkets. That’s billions of bags that Berejiklian has an environmental responsibility to keep out of our waterways and landfill,” Koussa said.

    “Letting supermarkets lead the state on environmental issues would be weak even if it were effective, given that it will still not solve the problem the Premier’s inaction is disgraceful.

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

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://bit.ly/2w4zQA9

    For interviews contact:

    Maggie Koussa

    0452 621 472 / maggie.koussa@gmail.com