Greens welcome Flannery coal-call

The Greens today called on state and federal governments to heed last-night’s call by Australian-of-the-year Tim Flannery to wind down the Hunter coal industry.

“Prof Flannery’s call is a timely addition to the voices of other scientists such as Prof Ian Lowe and bodies such as Newcastle City Council, as well as to the emerging groundswell of the wider community, who have realised that continuing with coal could cost us the earth,” Greens candidate for Newcastle, Cr Michael Osborne said today. Cr Michael Osborne moved the Newcastle Council motion to cap coal exports out of Newcastle.

“The Greens have already shown that, far from costing jobs, a planned transition now from coal to renewable energy would create many more jobs in the Hunter than an expansion of the job-shedding, unsustainable coal industry advocated by the industry and by both old political parties.

“We need to be building industries that manufacture the renewable energy technologies that the world will be crying out for in the not too distant future. But this will only happen if the NSW government backs clean energy options and backs wind and solar manufacturing in the Hunter.

“Generating a unit of energy from wind power creates about four times the number of jobs as coal.”

Cr Osborne said that it was important to emphasise that The Greens are not advocating an immediate switch-off from coal as an energy source.

“This is just one of the scare tactics of the coal-industry and its advocates. State and Federal governments and both major political parties can’t read the writing on the wall because their heads are in the sand on this issue.

“The Greens and other concerned community groups advocate a just transition – a planned, systematic shift from coal to renewable energy over the next two decades – to enable local communities to gradually adapt to a new, clean and sustainable economy.

“This shift must begin with a cap on further expansion of the region’s coal industry, such as that supported by Newcastle City Council.

“A just transition from coal to renewable energy will require real political leadership and a commitment now by state and federal governments.

“The time has come for our political leaders to put the long-term future of local communities before the short-term profits of vested interests,” Cr Osborne said.

At 1pm tomorrow (10 February), concerned community groups have organised a land vigil and colourful Newcastle Harbour flotilla and press conference at Horseshoe Beach, as a community demonstration against NSW coal expansion.

For further information: contact Michael Osborne 4940 8149 or 0439 442984

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