People of faith arrested in climate protest

November 27 2020Three people of faith peacefully protesting against rail company Aurizon's lack of transparency in their coal hauling operations were arrested on Friday 13 November. 

Members of the faith-based group Faith in Climate Action blockaded Aurizon’s corporate headquarters in Fortitude Valley by kneeling in prayer outside the doors.

The group was calling on Aurizon management to be more transparent about the climate-change-causing emissions from the thermal coal they haul as part of their business. 

Brisbane Anglican Mark Delaney and two other protesters were arrested and taken to the Brisbane watch-house where they were later released on bail.

Mr Delaney said he has lived and worked with the poor in India for almost 20 years and seen first-hand the impacts of climate change on the poor. 

“I don’t like confrontation,” he said.

“But I realise that, as a privileged person of faith, I have a responsibility to use my privilege to try to limit the climate change-induced suffering of the poor around the world. They are already facing unbearable temperatures, sea-level rise and more difficult farming conditions.”

Mr Delany said that while Aurizon acknowledges the coal it hauls contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, its Climate Strategy & Action Plan focuses “almost entirely” on the one million tonnes of emissions from its own operations, known as scope 1 and 2 emissions. 

“However, the report is virtually silent on the 250 million tonnes of emissions released when the thermal coal they haul is ultimately burnt (known as Scope 3 emissions),” Mr Delany said. 

“It’s a bit like having a tobacco factory with a ‘no smoking at work’ policy, or a weapons factory with a ‘no bullying at work’ rule.” 

“We’ve had talks with Aurizon management, and while they acknowledge the emissions, they say they are not legally required to report on Scope 3 emissions, so won’t do so. Other companies like BHP are doing this already, so why can’t Aurizon?” Mr Delaney said. 

The group allowed employees of another company, based in the same building, to go to work as usual. 

“Our gripe is with Aurizon only,” said Quaker Jason MacLeod of Inala, who was also arrested. 

“We don’t want to inconvenience other workers, just make our point to Aurizon.”

“If you’re a person of faith concerned for the climate, please come and stand with us for our next protest,” Mr MacLeod said.


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