||Issue No. 333||17 November 2006|
Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
Coal Miners Go Green
Australia's 30,000 coal miners are well placed to influence the climate change debate and have an impact on reducing harmful carbon emissions, says CFMEU national president Tony Maher.
The union is calling on coal companies - experiencing record profits as demand from industrialising nations grows - to voluntarily increase spending on clean coal technology.
"The Australian coal industry has committed $300 million over five years to a fund to research the reduction of carbon emissions and to develop clean coal technology," Maher said.
"That's not nearly enough. We believe about $2 billion, about a dollar per tonne per year, would be a more reasonable amount."
To assist the coal producers in their decision-making, the CFMEU has bought parcels of shares in the 10 leading companies.
The union will attend shareholders' meetings with employees to raise the issue and will enlist the support of major investors such as super funds with ethical investment guidelines.
Under its climate change policy the CFMEU is also calling on the federal government to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, invest in renewable energy and implement a carbon trading scheme.
With Australia's coal mining industry forecast to grow dramatically over the coming decade, Australia must be at the forefront of developing clean technology, Maher said.
CFMEU members have embraced the new climate change policy, Maher said.
"They're sick of being blamed for climate change. The argument doesn't have to be between jobs and the environment."
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