Coal fuels fires: Greenpeace beams images of survivors onto NSW coal power station on day bushfire Royal Commission findings delivered

LAKE MACQUARIE, Oct 28 2020 - Greenpeace has projected images of bushfire survivors onto the Vales Point coal burning power station on the day the bushfire Royal Commission is due to hand down its final report and recommendations.

The message “Coal Fuels Fires” was beamed onto a tower at the highly-polluting power station overnight to make explicit the central role of coal in fuelling climate change and exacerbating extreme weather events like bushfires.

“Coal is the number one driver of climate change and this Royal Commission will be an expensive farce if it fails to acknowledge that undeniable reality,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner, Steph Hodgins-May said.

“These fires were supercharged by climate change, which is driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas.The Morrison Government must commit to phasing out fossil fuels in order to keep Australian families safe from the worsening impacts of climate change”

Northern NSW-based ecologist and koala expert Mark Graham said there was no doubt coal

had contributed to the hotter and drier conditions that caused the fires and warned that some of

the losses would be irreversible.

“More than half of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area was burnt in the Black Summer fires, much of it very hot and fast. Many burnt areas are so physically altered and there has been so much canopy mortality and loss of hollow-bearing trees caused by the fires that any recovery will take decades to centuries to happen. This loss is unable to be compensated for,” he said.

“Fires between September 2019 and January 2020 decimated nationally significant Koala populations on the North Coast including at Clouds Creek, Port Macquarie and Wardell. These areas previously supported nationally significant Koala populations. Unprecedented extreme drought, heatwave and wind storm conditions caused by human emissions drove these killer fires, all will become much worse because of our continued burning of fossil fuels.”

NSW North Coast resident and bushfire survivor Melinda Plesman, whose image was projected onto the power station, said she was frustrated that the companies that had contributed to the climate crisis were allowed to continue damaging the environment with impunity.

“Almost a year ago, I lost my home to the worst fires Australia has ever endured. I took the burnt remains of my home to Parliament to send a message to Scott Morrison about the impacts of his Government’s support of the coal industry. 

“Since my home was destroyed in the fires, the PM has gone from cheerleading coal to aggressively promoting polluting gas, while virtually nothing has been done to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources like wind and solar. 



Download the images here

Watch Greenpeace’s documentary film on the Black Summer fires, Dirty Power: Burnt Country here

All images of Vales Point were shot from public land.



Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]