MEDIA STATEMENT – 22 October 2016
Revelations via WikiLeaks in The Australian newspaper today that a major US philanthropist has been emailing the senior advisor to the likely next US President, about the expansion of coal mining in Australia, highlights a major diplomatic risk for the Turnbull government: that a Clinton Administration will hold a mirror to Australia’s climate inaction and pursuit of new coal reserves, says Executive Director of The Sunrise Project, Mr John Hepburn.
Find here an email written by John Hepburn, forwarded to John Podesta, Chairman of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton and Counselor to President Obama which is now on the Wikileaks site.
“It is no surprise that the ongoing expansion of coal mining in Australia is on the radar of Clinton’s most senior advisor. While the world is ratifying the Paris Climate agreement in record time, Australia is becoming a global embarrassment for being the first developed country to go backwards on climate policy and fast-tracking the approval of new coal mines,” said Mr Hepburn.
“With the UN Climate Conference in Marrakesh only weeks away, this leak adds to the wider pattern of international concern over Australia’s failure to meet our international obligations and dogged commitment to give special treatment to the coal industry while the rest of the world rapidly shifts to clean energy.
“In January, the Obama Administration implemented a moratorium on new coal mines on public land in the US. The UK has closed its last coal mine and China will close more than 1,000 coal mines in 2016, yet our government is still in the thrall of mining companies like Adani at a time when scientists are confirming that barely any carbon budget remains.
“Of course we and other environmental groups are fighting tooth and nail to stop the Adani project. It should not be allowed to proceed. It is a highly polluting project by a shonky company with an appalling track record of environmental abuse. If built, the Adani Carmichael mine will be a carbon bomb that is completely incompatible with the Paris Climate agreement and will put further pressure on the Great Barrier Reef.
“It is not surprising that the mining lobby has seized on the leaked email to once more attack conservationists. The mining industry has a habit of using its wealth and access to get what it wants. That is why it is so anxious about national and international financial support for environmental groups who are highlighting the damage an expansion of coal mining will cause.
“The mining industry has too much influence over our politicians. It is time that Australia’s approach to climate change was determined by the science and by the community rather than by the lobbying power of foreign owned mining companies like Adani.
“With the urgent need to cut greenhouse pollution, it is reckless for Australian governments to be expanding fossil fuels. We need a moratorium on new coal mines and to embrace the opportunities clean energy will bring,” Mr Hepburn said.