ICYMI: Newcastle Divests, Failure not an option for Pacific, coal employs less than Maccas

In Case You Missed It

This week has been a bit of a ‘divest-fest’ in Australia, with a huge congratulations to folks who have worked long and hard on this.

Home of the world’s largest coal port, Newcastle City Council, sent a strong signal of things to come by joining Ipswich Council in divesting from fossil fuels this week.

But that’s not all that’s happened.

Here’s our top takeaways from this week --


1/ Newcastle Council divests from fossil fuels. Ian Macfarlane almost falls off seat.

Newcastle City Council – home to the world’s largest coal port – voted this week to divest from fossil fuels. Ian Macfarlane reportedly ‘almost fell off my seat’ when he heard the news.

With Ipswich Council also divesting this week, it may be safest for Minister Macfarlane to stay on the floor for the time being.

2/ Pacific island nations say climate talks failure not an option

As representatives of Pacific island nations met in Rajasthan this week, the message was clear, world leaders meeting in Paris in December must deliver on expectations of a historic deal to combat global warming

‘Failure is not a fallback position, it is not an option,, we cannot have it as an option. We must get success,’ Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said. Meanwhile Kiribati is reportedly considering relocating their entire population, or building man-made islands to rehouse them.

Get behind the President of Kiribati’s call for #nonewcoalmines at http://nonewcoalmines.org.au/take_action

3/ Don’t believe the hype. Coal employs fewer people than McDonald’s.

The Australia Institute did the numbers, and its true: coal employs fewer people than McDonald’s

‘Anyone who has ever seen an open cut coal mine will understand why they don’t create a lot of jobs,’ writes Ben Oquist, Executive Director of The Australia Institute. 

‘Work that was once done by men with picks and shovels is now done by explosives and enormous machines. Economists call such industries “capital intensive” which is another way of saying “doesn’t create many jobs”.'

4/ Citi Group hints Adani’s Carmichael coal project may become a stranded asset

The Citi group has implied that Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal project might become a “stranded asset” and hence unviable. 

Roderick Campbell, Research Director at the Australia Institute (who was involved in the Queensland Land Court case on the mine as an expert witness on economics) pointed out that the Queensland government was proposing to subsidise the mine’s infrastructure by $326 million and the project was still struggling to attract finance.

Meanwhile, need we remind you that three years ago this coal mine was worth $624 Million. This year it sold for $1 

5/ Naomi Klein at Melbourne Writers Festival this weekend

“Fear can’t be the driver. That’s the big mistake the environmental movement made – ‘we’ll scare the hell out of you and you’ll become an activist.’ There has to be a counter-narrative that we can have a different economy with more, better jobs,” Klein told Guardian Australia.

The Australia Institute is proudly sponsoring Naomi Klein's two shows at the Melbourne Writers Festival (20-30 Aug), where the world-renowned author and activist will discuss Capitalism and the Climate and her book This Changes Everything.

Naomi Klein has also lent her support to President Tong of Kiribati’s call for a global moratorium on new coal mines, saying “the first rule of climate action: when you are in a hole, stop digging.”