Video published by the Newcastle Herald from Rising Tide footage

On Sunday September 26, 2010, thirty-nine people from all walks of life, including mothers and grandmothers, teachers, coal workers, students and a world war two veteran helped shut down the world’s biggest coal port in Newcastle, New South Wales for almost ten hours.

See media reports here, here and here, and photos by Conor Ashleigh here.

Walk on images by Charlotte Buckton

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Five climbers suspended themselves thirty-five metres in the air from loader arm cables on each of the three coal terminals in Newcastle (Carrington, PWCS Kooragang and NCIG Kooragang) and four people attached themselves to the loader arms.

Three hours after the action started, thirty-two people walked onto coal piles at the Kooragang coal terminal and over the day others gathered outside the gates to support.

Thirty-two people were arrested and released without charge, two of the climbers were charged with trespass (one of whom had the charge dismissed under section 10 of the sentencing procedure act), and seven other climbers and lock-ons were charged with remain on inclosed lands. They are now facing a whopping claim for $525,000 in “victim’s compensation”.

According to Port Waratah Coal Services, the action prevented the loading of 165,155 tonnes of coal, or approximately two full coal ships, which can never be mitigated. If PWCS had successfully loaded this coal, it would have added almost half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Climate scientists tell us that there is already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the Stern report, this much carbon dioxide would create $36.4 million of damage if burnt. That’s a figure by the former Chief Economist of the World Bank, an institution renowned for putting dollar figures on priceless things – our lives, our homes, our health, our quality of life and our planet.

Rising Tide was formed in 2004 as a grassroots Newcastle group taking action against the causes of anthropogenic climate change and for equitable, just, effective, and sustainable solutions to the crisis, as a response to an article in the scientific journal Nature predicting the loss of 90% of the world’s species if climate change were not mitigated.

We are committed to the principles of non-violent direct action and are part of the global Rising Tide climate justice movement.

No charge or amount of liability is more valuable to us than our futures and the futures of people around the globe and the earth itself. We will continue to take action until coal is phased out and we encourage others to do the same.


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