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When the time comes to disobey: civil disobedience and coal


Greenpeace’s attempt to stop a ship carrying Australian coal is an opening shot in what is likely to be an escalating campaign of civil disobedience directed at Australia’s export coal industry. The raid is an expression of the fact that — with the exception of nuclear holocaust — nothing has threatened the future of humanity as global warming now does.

During the Cold War the proliferation of doomsday weapons saw the world at times reach the brink of annihilation, a kind of madness that prompted large numbers of otherwise peaceable citizens to make a conscious decision to break the law.

To date the campa...