“Mr Kellow will not be doing any interviews,” came the message into the media room at an unofficial G20 side event in Brisbane earlier this week.
Glenn Kellow is the chief operating officer at Peabody Energy – the world’s biggest privately owned coal company.
Perhaps Kellow was anticipating a hostile reception over his company’s spearheading of the coal industry’s new message that the climate changing fossil fuel is the answer to global poverty?
If this was his expectation, then it came true – if only for a few fleeting seconds – when a group of seven campaigners from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) rose to their feet in the middle of his keynote speech inside the lavish auditorium of the Brisbane City Hall.
“Peabody: we don’t want you coal. You don’t belong at the G20,” came the bellowing shouts, before the group joined hands to walk out.
Outside, the protestors rode bikes outside the forum entrance with billboards that spoofed Peabody Energy’s “Advanced Energy for Life” campaign developed with the help of Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s biggest PR firms who previously worked with the tobacco industry.
“Climate Impacts for Life – Peabody Coal… the only kind of ‘Advanced Energy’ is Renewable Energy,” the billboards read.