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Tackle climate change and save the whales

Whaling protesters' plea: Tackle climate change and save the whales


Southern Ocean Wednesday, 11 January, 2006 : As 'Coal Pact' meetings begin in Sydney, Greenpeace whaling protesters in the Southern Ocean called on Australia and Japan to take concerted action to tackle climate change to help preserve the environment and food chain which sustains the world’s whales, countless other species and of course people.

Shane Rattenbury, Greenpeace expedition leader on board the MY Esperanza in the Southern Ocean, said “While Greenpeace activists are risking their lives to defend whales from the Japanese whaling fleets’ grenade tipped harpoons in the Southern Ocean, climate change is silently altering the very environment the whales need to survive. Global warming is undermining their food chain and their breeding grounds.”

Scientists project that, if unchecked, climate change could lead to the extinction of 15-37% of all species on the planet by as soon as 2050.1 Whales are not immune, with climate change depleting their food chain by cutting krill stocks, altering the ecology of their breeding grounds and undermining the health of oceans generally.

Rattenbury said “Every tonne of coal we burn is yet another harpoon, contributing to a global extinction crisis unlike any seen before.”

“If our actions here are to save whales for future generations, we also need global leaders to seriously tackle climate change by quitting coal and meeting global energy needs with clean, renewable energy.”

“The 'Coal Pact' meeting beginning in Sydney today brings the Australian and Japanese Governments together and gives them a perfect opportunity to end whaling and move towards clean energy. Tragically for the whales, and for all of us, it seems that they would rather protect the coal and whaling industries than act in the interests of the global community and our environment.”

1. Feeling the heat: Climate change and biodiversity loss, Nature magazine, http://www.nature.com/nature/links/040108/040108-1.html

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