On Tuesday we heard that the controversial plans to build the new Terminal 4 (T4) at the Newcastle Coal Port have been delayed by an entire year. Yesterday, Woodside Petroleum announced that it would not pursue the development of the world’s biggest gas hub at James Price Point, WA. Late yesterday President Obama released his 2014 Fiscal Year Budget, which slashes fossil fuels subsidies and diverts those savings into renewable energy. Finally this morning it is being reported in The Australian that Australia’s CO2 emissions are now at a ten year low.
Newcastle in New South Wales is already home to the biggest black coal port in the world. If the proposed T4 had of been approved, it would allow an additional 120 million tonnes of coal to be loaded and exported from Newcastle Harbour every year and would open the floodgates for the development of 15 new open-cut mega mines. An additional 107 coal trains would run every day, and an additional 20 coal ships would visit Newcastle every week. This all adds up to an extra 293 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere each year, this would have a devastating impact on our climate.
The community in the Hunter region ran a strong community campaign, the effect that this campaign had was evident when Port Waratah Coal Services, Hennie Du Plooy announced the delay ‘‘There is no doubt the anti-coal lobby is making good on its commitment to specifically target T4 with the aim of stopping it, to stop further expansion of the Hunter Valley coal industry.”1
Yesterday we heard that gas and oil giant Woodside Petroleum are no longer considering building a gas hub at James Price Point. The proposed onshore processing plant would have been the biggest in the world, and was intended to service the gas and oil fields in the Browse Basin off the Kimberley Coast. The Browse site holds about 13.3 trillion cubic feet of gas. An estimated 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gases would be emitted every year – the equivalent of 3 million extra cars.
Again, there was a strong community campaign run, uniting local community groups (including Environs Kimberley and the Broome Community No Gas Campaign), the local indigenous community and national organisations (including The Wilderness Society and Sea Shepherd Australia).
These wins are happening on an international front too. Yesterday President Obama announced his 2014 budget, the big winner in this budget was the climate and renewable energy. The Budget will include $23 billion to go towards renewable energy projects and energy efficiency and it eliminates $4 billion of fossil fuel subsidies that add to the threat of climate change.
President Obama said “As we continue to pursue clean energy technologies that will support future economic growth, we should not devote scarce resources to subsidising the use of fossil fuels produced by some of the largest, most proﬁtable companies in the world,” reads the budget proposal. “That is why the Budget proposes to eliminate unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies that impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to address the threat of climate change.”2
The final win of the week came today, it is being reported that Australia’s CO2 emissions have fallen to a ten year low, “Renewables are basically cancelling out coal,” RepuTex executive director Hugh Grossman told AAP on Thursday…….Coal generation has been trending steadily downwards since the introduction of the carbon pricing mechanism last July, which has seen wholesale electricity prices nearly double.With weaker demand and record-high renewable energy output, coal is feeling the pinch.”3
These four wins have come at a crucial time for the climate movement in what is going to be our biggest year yet. We now have momentum on our side.
T4 and James Price Point set a really strong precedent for our own Change the Game campaign, we can see a clear example of what a strong united grassroots movement can achieve. We are at such an important moment in history, decisions about coal expansion on the reef are being made in June, we need to show Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke that young people are willing to stand and protect our climate and The Great Barrier Reef.
Thank you, to every single person who worked on these important issues. Let’s all stand up and Change the Game this year.
P.s On May the 11th we will be holding Change the Game national day’s of action in every state, details for how you can get involved are coming soon.