Some of the campaigns we work on seem unwinnable. Until we start winning.
When I started at Greenpeace two years ago, I was a bit sceptical about our chances of stopping the Carmichael coal project from going ahead. A massive mine, rail and port project that could turn the Great Barrier Reef into the largest coal export facility in the world seemed too big a force to stop. I told myself: ‘I need to get used to the idea that we might never win this.’
All this year, I’ve been eating my words. From the banks, to the courts; from the UNESCO meeting in Bonn to Queensland polling booths – people everywhere have had their eyes on the Reef.
These last few weeks in particular have been incredible. Use the timeline below to scroll through the incredible events that have got us here.
With a win at every corner, it seems everyone besides the Abbott government can see the Carmichael coal project shouldn’t go ahead. Take action: tell them to read the writing on the wall now.
Campaign update: What just happened?
First, the Reef won in the court. On August 5, approval for the Carmichael coal mine was overturned after a federal court challenge led by the Mackay Conservation Group.
The Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt admitted he failed to take into account advice from his own department about endangered reptile species on the mine site. That was the first in a series of dominoes…
Reef destruction: bad idea, bad investment
Then, Carmichael lost the only banks potentially interested in financing the $16.5 billion project.
The same day as Carmichael lost its approval, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia confirmed it had severed ties with the mine, ending its advisory role. Less than a week later, on August 11, UK-based international bank Standard Chartered also walked away from the project.
The next day, international investment house Aviva Investors publicly supported Standard Chartered’s decision – and now, Australian bank NAB have also said they won’t fund the project.
Finding that $16.5 billion is starting to look impossible. And this couldn’t have happened without tens of thousands of us – whether you sent a letter to a politician, sent a message to UNESCO delegates, called your MP, asked the Big four banks not to fund the project, or rallied to save the Reef – our impact is plain to see. Not only are everyone’s eyes on the Reef – they can see this project is unbankable, unbackable, and unconscionable.
This project is dead in the water, and the Environment Minister shouldn’t try to keep it afloat. Tell Greg to get with the times and ditch the mine here.
No money, no mine?
Before the big banks pulled out, the project was already looking shaky. In July, the mining company responsible suspended two major contractors.
Project managers Parsons Brinckerhoff and Korean construction company Posco were told to stop work – raising fresh speculation about the company’s ability to finance and build Australia’s largest coal mine.
It’s clear that this project is not only disastrous for our precious Reef and climate – but it is also a dodgy investment. Join the movement to help stop it in its tracks.
It’s time for the government to read the writing on the wall
Everyone can tell this is a terrible idea, a destructive project, and a bad investment. That is, everyone except our state and federal governments.
Right now, the government is seeking to get the approval for Carmichael re-issued. They could try to use taxpayer money to fund the Carmichael rail line by using the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund. They’ll keep trying to have parts of the project approved, to hire more engineers and technicians. Whatever their plans are, you can be sure they’ll talk it up big.
But they know we’ll all be watching – and that you and I are not giving up easy. They know we’re strong – so the government have tried to sneakily change environmental protection laws and strip environment groups of charity status to stop you donating.