Elements of the environmental movement have engaged in a campaign against fossil fuel in general and coal in particular. Two years ago a document setting out an anti-coal in Queensland strategy was leaked to the AFR.
Our strategy is essentially to ‘disrupt and delay’ key projects and infrastructure while gradually eroding public and political support for the industry and continually building the power of the movement to win more.
There are 6 elements to this strategy:
1. Disrupt and delay key infrastructure Challenge and delay key infrastructure developments (ports and rail) and ‘mega mines’.
2. Constrain the space for mining Build on the outrage created by coal seam gas to win federal and state based reforms to exclude mining from key areas, such as farmland, nature refuges, aquifers, and near homes. Landowners locking the gate.
3. Increase investor risk Create uncertainty and a heightened perception of risk over coal investments;
4. Increase costs Increasing the cost of coal is fundamental to the long-term global strategy to phase out the industry. We can start to remove the massive subsidies to the coal industry, and to internalize the ‘externalized’ costs of coal;
5. Withdraw the social license of the coal industry Change the story of coal from being the backbone of our economy, to being a destructive industry that destroys the landscape and communities, corrupts our democracy, and threatens the global climate.
6. Build a powerful movement Create stronger networks and alliances and build the power necessary to win larger victories over time.
This morning the Queensland Resources Council provided an update of actual implementation and progress to date on the strategy:
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche today released a checklist of coordinated activism aimed at shutting down Queensland’s export coal and gas industries.
‘Two years after the strategy document Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom was leaked to the media, it is valuable to see how the anti-coal (and coal-seam gas) campaign has unfolded in Queensland,’ he said.
‘For example, the strategy of mounting legal challenges to disrupt or delay new projects is well recorded with appeals in the Queensland Land Court over the Alpha coal mine project in central Queensland from a Canberra resident and an interest group with a postal address in Brisbane’s West End.
‘Tactics for the so-called ‘Battle of the Galilee’ include organising landowners to help delay the development of mines and railways while noting the location of coal ports adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is seen as an opportunity for ‘alliance building’ with scientists and industries including fishing and tourism.
‘The signatories to the strategy document have all contributed to campaigns high on slogans but void of science to support claims that shipping and port dredging are major threats to the environmental health of the Great Barrier Reef,’ he said.
The update can be downloaded here.