Thousands of passionate climate activists are set to travel to Newcastle, on the last weekend in November. They will stage a massive blockade of the world’s largest coal port, the Port of Newcastle, from where, in 2022, 143 million tonnes of coal were exported.
Despite the numerous global summits and the earnest pledges to reduce carbon emissions, Australian capitalism is addicted to fossil fuels. The country is the world’s third largest exporter and has many willing customers. Since the Albanese government was elected in May 2022, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has approved four new coal mines. There are another 25 proposals to expand existing mines or open new ones sitting on her desk! These 29 projects combined would add 12.8 billion tonnes of emissions.
The blockade, which will use civil resistance to disrupt this business-as-usual, is focused on building a mass movement with a strong set of demands. Governments must stop allowing new thermal coal projects, and instead tax fossil fuel export profits at 75% to fund community and industrial transition, and pay for climate loss and damage. These demands are a great start.
The blockade also stands squarely with those on the front lines of the fight for climate justice — First Nations people, Pacific islanders and young people. The organisers, Rising Tide, are clear that as the problems are systemic, the solutions must be, too. Their aim is to build the largest protest for climate action in Australia’s history. They are also building hope as they boldly declare “we are cancelling the apocalypse.”
We heartily agree that to have optimism requires a clear plan. Building a diverse movement to take on the pollution profiteers is essential. It is also necessary that those determined to halt global warming recognise that the capitalist system is incapable of a serious effort to decarbonise. The fossil fuel industry continues to pursue short-term profits at the expense of all else, blocking every move to seriously address the climate crisis.
Scientific evidence proves that global warming has been caused by the unrestrained exploitation of Earth’s resources by unplanned capitalist production, particularly the burning of coal, oil and gas for more than two centuries. We need to rapidly transition to 100% renewable energy and stop mining and exporting fuels for energy generation. Planning is also urgently required. A great start would be to nationalise all of the energy companies and let the workers — who have the expertise — run them for the good of the community. It is time to end production for profit and create an ecosocialist future.
We salute those who will be blockading the Port of Newcastle from 24 to 27 November. We urge those who can to get to Newcastle and ask everyone else to amplify their voices. No new mining for energy production! Tax the polluters and fund a transition that values workers and the environment.
To join the blockade see risingtide.org.au/blockade.
For more on our perspective check out Ecosocialism: The solution to save planet earth by Steve Hoffman. Available from the bookstore at Solidarity Salon, 113 Spring Street, Reservoir, Victoria, Australia.