A poll we released today shows that 4 out of 5 Australians want our export coal industry to be capped or reduced. Nonetheless, at both state and federal government levels, there are plans for the massive expansion of the industry. The Rudd government has plans to double our national export capacity, while just 2 weeks ago Premier Bligh announced a $5.3 billion package for the development of a new coal mine, rail line and export coal terminal in Queensland.

Plans to expand our export coal industry are completely at odds with both Bligh’s and Rudd’s talk of the urgent need to tackle climate change. How can we talk about reducing our domestic emissions on the one hand, and on the other talk about increasing the carbon emissions we ship off around the world?

Mackay is home to Queensland’s largest coal port. 600 local residents came to an open boat day on the Esperanza yesterday and told us how worried they were about the planned expansions, because of the damage the industry causes both locally and globally.

Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd was spinning more rhetoric on tackling climate change. Visiting Port Douglas on Friday, he called his climate change Green Paper “a clear pathway forward for those concerned about the preservation of this great Australian asset, the Great Barrier Reef.”

The planned expansion in Queensland alone will create as much greenhouse pollution as 65 coal-fired power stations. And unfortunately, carbon emissions no know borders, so Australian coal burnt overseas will kill the Reef just as quickly as if we burn it ourselves.