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, 350.org, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Friends of the Earth, Market Forces, and The Wilderness Society.
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
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
Australian Wallaby rugby union player, Captain 2012
Prof Richard Flanagan
Author, Man Booker Prize, Prime Minister’s Prize; Chair of Australian Literature, Melbourne Unviersity
Author, Nobel Prize in Literature 2003
Hilary McPhee AO
Author; Former Chair, Australia Council; Senior Fellow, Melbourne University
Mathematician; Media personality and comedian
MC, Producer and vocalist
Award winning author
President of the Uniting Church of Australia
Bishop George Browning
9th Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn; Inaugural Convener Anglican Communion Environment Network
President of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC)
Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black
Environmental Advisor, Council of Progressive Rabbis
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
National Director, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network
National Director, Australian Youth Climate Coalition
National Director, GetUp!
National Campaign Director, The Wilderness Society
Geoff Cousins AO
President, Australian Conservation Foundation; Businessman
CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation
Executive Director, The Australia Institute
Chief Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
Campaigns Co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth Australia
Dr Bob Brown
Environmentalist; Former Leader of the Australian Greens
Former Chair, Australian Coal Association; Former Executive, Shell
Emeritus Prof Bob Douglas AO
National President, National Tertiary Education Union