As I write, 10 Greenpeace activists are painting the sides of coal ships waiting in a queue outside Hay Point terminal near Mackay. This is the largest coal port in Queensland and there are nearly 50 ships in line ready to be loaded.

I’m on board the Esperanza, which is anchored nearby. We’ve been out here overnight, since leaving Mackay late yesterday afternoon. This morning before dawn you could see the line of coal ships by the trail of lights across the water.

The activists were up at 3:30am this morning to get the boats in the water ready for first light. Now, in three separate boats, they are painting “RUDD EXPORTING CO2”, “BARRIER REEF GONE”, “ICE CAPS GONE” and “STOP COAL EXPANSION” on the sides of the ships, a couple of kilometres away.

The message we want to get out to people is pretty simple: that Kevin Rudd’s and Anna Bligh’s plans to double the export coal industry completely contradict their rhetoric on the urgent need for climate change solutions. When it comes to greenhouse pollution, out of sight is not out of mind. Coal burnt overseas does just as much damage to the Great Barrier Reef and Murray-Darling Basin as the coal we burn here.