Rising Tide protesters have scaled a 15-metre-high coal conveyor belt this morning at Kooragang.
The protesters have suspended a banner that reads: “We’re sorry Somalia. Coal = climate change and starvation”.
The protesters said they wanted to highlight coal’s contribution to Somalia’s famine
They said scientists had this week made the link between human-made climate change and the deadly drought affecting more than 10 million people across the Horn of Africa.
Rising Tide spokesperson Naomi Hogan said coal was recognised globally as the biggest contributor to climate change.
‘‘Yet, while climate disaster ravages East Africa, coal companies operating here in Australia are planning to massively expand their coal production, ignoring all the negative impacts,’’ she said.
‘‘We are standing in the belly of the beast, here in the world’s largest coal port, calling on the coal industry to reverse their plans to more than double Australia’s coal exports.
‘‘It’s about time the coal giants took responsibility for their contribution to the dangerous impacts of climate change.
“Tens of thousands of Somalis have already died and hundreds of thousands face starvation.’’
The protesters have called on coal companies to donate some of their profits to victims of the drought.
“These severe droughts, floods, famines and extreme weather events will continue to worsen with climate change,’’ she said.
A Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group spokesman said machines had been stopped in the interests of safety and police had been called.
Comment has been sought from coal loading companies.
More to come.