Bligh’s Response To Greenpeace Coal Ship Action In Queensland

28 July 2008

Greenpeace activists finished their painting just moments before a police boat turned up this morning, with a final tally of 20 ships painted with messages like “Bligh exporting CO2”, “Coal is killing the Reef” and “Stop coal expansion”.

While 10 activists were taken into custody by police, Premier Bligh was questioned about the protest in an interview on ABC Tropical North. She answered that while she “sympathises with those worried about environmental damage… shutting down the Qld coal industry is an economic non-option.”

Does this mean she agrees with the key message of our protest, which is not that the coal industry should be shut down overnight, but that it should at least not be expanded? That planning to double Queensland’s export coal industry completely contradicts Bligh’s and Rudd’s rhetoric about the need for strong action on climate change?

Unfortunately it would appear not, because in the same statement she also affirmed her commitment to so-called ‘clean coal’ technologies. Presumably she will welcome the news that the Rudd government has today announced the creation of two new ‘clean coal’ bodies, with the aim of making the technology commercially viable by 2015-2020. However, neither Bligh or Rudd have any plans to wait until this time before expanding our coal industry. Despite Bligh’s supposed sympathy, she doesn’t seem to have any qualms about accelerating climate change impacts by shipping even more Queensland coal around the world.