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61 prominent Australians back no new coal mines


61 prominent Australians have signed an open letter backing the President of Kiribati’s call for a moratorium on new coal mines.

The letter, published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, calls on French President, Francois Hollande and world leaders to put coal exports on the agenda at the 2015 Paris COP21 climate summit.

Signatories include former RBA governor Bernie Fraser, 2003 Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley AC, Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC, Indigenous campaigner Amelia Telford, Robert Manne, Carmen Lawrence, J.M. Coetzee, Bishop George Browning, Adam Spencer, Richard Flanagan, David Pocock and many more. 

Notable Australians backing the call for a moratorium on new coal mines represent diverse fields including medicine, science, indigenous, multicultural, faith, arts and literature, politics, business and sports.

The statement reads:

We, the undersigned, urge you to put coal exports on the agenda at the 2015 Paris COP21 climate summit and to help the worlds governments negotiate a global moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions, as called for by President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati, and Pacific Island nations.

Australia’s new Prime Minister has outlined his vision in recent weeks for a ‘21st century government’, acknowledging that ‘the pace of change is remarkable’.

On 4 September 2015, at the Pacific Island Development Forum, the historic Suva Declaration called for:

A new global dialogue on the implementation of an international moratorium on the development and expansion of fossil fuel extracting industries, particularly the construction of new coal mines, as an urgent step towards decarbonising the global economy.

Last week The Australia Institute published a report outlining the economic case for a moratorium on new coal mines.

“This is a powerful statement. Increasingly Australians and people from all over the world are realising the case for new coal mines fails environmentally as well as economically,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said. 

The letter was published by the Australia Institute, with the support of GetUp!, Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation, Seed, Australian Youth Climate Coalition,, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Friends of the Earth, Market Forces, and The Wilderness Society. 

The letter

We, the undersigned, urge you to put coal exports on the agenda at the 2015 Paris COP21 climate summit and to help the world’s governments negotiate a global moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions, as called for by President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati, and Pacific Island nations.

While world leaders discuss emission reduction targets, a small number of countries with large coal reserves, including Australia, are planning to massively expand their coal exports. These plans are incompatible with the world’s objective of limiting global warming below dangerous levels.

Australia has a larger share of the seaborne coal market than Saudi Arabia has of the world oil market. Over the next 10 years Australia plans to double its coal exports.

If it goes ahead, the Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin would export more than 2 billion tonnes of coal over its lifetime. And that’s just one mine. Australia has dozens of coal projects on the drawing board.

Furthermore, these coal export plans will have severe negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of citizens all over the world.

• Australia’s coal contributes to climate change, with its global health impacts.

• Each phase of coal’s lifecycle produces pollutants that affect human health, from mining to disposal of contaminated water and tailings, transportation, washing, combustion, and disposing of post-combustion wastes.

• Communities in which coal mining or burning occurs have been shown to suffer significant health impacts.

• The health and climate costs of coal are unseen. In reality coal is an expensive fuel.

A global moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions could make Paris COP21 truly historic.



Prof Peter Doherty AC   
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996; Australian of the Year 1997; Laureate Professor, Melb Uni

Prof Fiona Stanley AC FAA
Distinguished Research Professor,  School of Paediatrics and Child Health; Australian of the Year 2003

Dr Charles Watson AM MBBS MD FAFPHM DSc  
John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Health Sciences, Curtin University

Prof Kingsley Faulkner AM Cit.WA MBBS FRACS
School of Medicine, Fremantle, UNDA; Past President RACS

Prof Tim Flannery
Councillor, Climate Council; Australian of the Year 2007; Sustainability, Melbourne University

Prof Lesley Hughes         
Councillor, Climate Council; Ecologist, Macquarie University; IPCC Lead Author

Prof Will Steffen               
Councillor, Climate Council; Climate Scientist, ANU

Prof Carmen Lawrence 
Former Federal Minister, Premier WA, Federal President ALP; Psychology, UWA

Bernie Fraser     
Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia 1989-96; Founding Chair, Climate Change Authority

Prof John Quiggin           
Economist, ARC Federation Fellow, UQ

Prof Clive Hamilton         
Public Ethics, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CSU

Prof David Karoly             
Climate scientist, Melbourne University

Prof Simon Chapman AO FASSA HonFFPH (UK)  
Public Health, University of Sydney

Assoc Prof Tilman Ruff AM FRACP           
Global Health, Melb; Co-President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace Prize, 1985)

Dr Peter Tait       
Senior Adjunct Lecturer, Medical School, ANU; RACGP GP of the Year 2007

Assoc Prof Shauna Murray           
ARC Future Fellow, Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change, UTS

Prof Rob Moodie AM     
Public Health, Melbourne University

Emeritus Prof Mark L Wahlqvist AO     
Medicine, Monash University; Former Head of Medicine at Prince Henry’s Hospital

Prof Colin Butler               
Public Health, UC; Co-founder BODHI Australia

Prof Shilu Tong       
Public Health, QUT

Prof Hilary Bambrick       
Chair of Population Health, WSU

Dr Peter Macreadie        
ARC Fellow, Plant Function Biology and Climate Change, Deakin University

Dr Andrew Glikson          
Climate Science, ANU

Emeritus Prof Bruce Armstrong             
USYD; Chairman, Bureau of Health Information

Adj Prof Frank Talbot AM     
Marine Scientist; Director Emeritus, US National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Inst

Dr David Morawetz         
Psychologist; Founder and Director, Social Justice Fund

Adj Prof David A Hood AM HonFIEAust CPEng    
Former President, Engineers Australia; Engineering, QUT

Emeritus Prof Robert Manne 
Politics, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, La Trobe University

Prof Robert Costanza
Economist; Chair in Public Policy, Crawford School, ANU

David Pocock    
Australian Wallaby rugby union player, Captain 2012

Prof Richard Flanagan
Author, Man Booker Prize, Prime Minister’s Prize; Chair of Australian Literature, Melbourne Unviersity

J.M. Coetzee
Author, Nobel Prize in Literature 2003

Hilary McPhee AO           
Author; Former Chair, Australia Council; Senior Fellow, Melbourne University

Adam Spencer  
Mathematician; Media personality and comedian

MC, Producer and vocalist

Drusilla Modjeska
Award winning author

Richard Piper

Rod Mullinar

Stuart McMillian               
President of the Uniting Church of Australia

Bishop George Browning              
9th Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn; Inaugural Convener Anglican Communion Environment Network

Thea Ormerod  
President of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC)

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black   
Environmental Advisor, Council of Progressive Rabbis

Julian Robertson              
Presiding Clerk, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia

Prof Neil Ormerod           
Professor of Theology, ACU

Rt Rev Prof Stephen Pickard       
Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, CSU

Prof Nihal Agar  
Chair of the Hindu Council of Australia

Rev Dr Patrick McInerney             
Director Columban Mission Institute, Sydney

Mrs Anne Lanyon            
Co-ordinator Columban Centre for Peace, Ecology and Justice, Sydney

Amelia Telford  
National Director, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network

Kirsty Albion       
National Director, Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Paul Oosting      
National Director, GetUp!

Lyndon Schneiders
National Campaign Director, The Wilderness Society

Geoff Cousins AO
President, Australian Conservation Foundation; Businessman

Kelly O’Shanassy              
CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation

Ben Oquist          
Executive Director, The Australia Institute

David Ritter        
Chief Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Cam Walker
Campaigns Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth Australia

Dr Bob Brown          
Environmentalist; Former Leader of the Australian Greens

Ian Dunlop          
Former Chair, Australian Coal Association; Former Executive, Shell

Emeritus Prof Bob Douglas AO              
Director, Australia21

Jeannie Rea
National President, National Tertiary Education Union

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