4 activists from the Greenpeace charity climbed to the top of a 140metre smokestack at a coal fired power plant in Queensland, Australia. In sub zero temperatures the 4 climbers occupied the smokestack for 33 hours overnight, whilst writing ‘Go Solar’ on the chimney – a clear message to the Australian Parliament.
Of the 13 activists’ who tried to occupy the Swanbank B coal-fired plant in the early hours of Friday 11th July, 9 were arrested upon the start of their ascent. 4 of the other climbers managed to slip through the police net and were only arrested upon their descent the following day.
Swanbank B power plant is responsible for more than 2million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, the equivalent amount of pollution caused by 300,000 cars. .
With Australia way behind many of the world’s countries in developing renewable energy, it is time for the Australian government to stand up and be counted. In the next 18 months, the Spanish government will have commissioned enough solar power to replace FOUR power stations of similar size to Swanbank.
Professor Ross Garnaut, the Australian Government’s climate change advisor, claims that if Australians do not successfully combat climate change, the Great Barrier Reef will die. This will not only cost the economy $5 billion in tourism dollars each year alone, but also 50,000 livelihoods. Jobs in coal can be replaced by jobs in renewable energy; there is absolutely no way to replace the Great Barrier Reef.
After his two-hour descent from the Swanbank chimney, Greenpeace energy campaigner Julien Vincent said –
‘We did this to get the message out that Australia urgently needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions. They must start replacing old and dirty coal fired power stations, with true clean renewable energy like solar. It is tragic that Queensland, with the best solar resources in the world, is not a leader in the booming global renewable energy industry.’