Newcastle Port Blockade

Action by: Blockade Australia

Carbon Offset: 1681.7 Metric Tons

Vintage: 2021

Location: Mulubinba/Newcastle, Australia

Activists shut down the port of Newcastle by climbing on machinery and pressing an emergency safety button. By attaching themselves to structures in the port, they blocked key bottlenecks in the multibillion-dollar coal supply chain in the Hunter Region of Australia for more than a week.

$$ {\sum_{n=1}^{days}({Coal_{tonnes\,per\,day} \times CO_{2\,tonnes\,of\,coal}} \times n}) $$


Step 1: Calculate the quantity of CO2 emissions were delayed by the action.

In 2021 the Port of Newcastle was disrupted by activists for 10 days. Some politicians claimed this delayed $60 million in coal exports.2 Activists claimed that the port infrastructure was blocked for 65+ hours.3

The port exported a total of 158 million tonnes of coal in 20201 and we assume that exports were the same in 2021 in order to estimate the average tonnes exported per day.

First we calculate the average daily coal exports in tonnes:

$$ \begin{aligned} tCoal/day &= {tCoal/year \over 365} \\[5pt] &= {158000000 \over 365} \\[5pt] &= 432{,}877 \end{aligned} $$

If 1 tonne of coal releases 3.3 tonne of CO2 when burned,4 the emissions delayed (or temporarily stored) at the port each day can be calculated as follows:

$$ \begin{aligned} tCO_2/day &= tCoal/day \times tCO_2/tCoal \\[5pt] &= {432{,}876.7 \times 3.3} \\[5pt] &= 1{,}428{,}493.2 \end{aligned} $$

Step 2: Calculate the benefit of delaying (temporarily storing) these emissions for the period of the action

Coal arriving to the port on day 1 of the action, is temporarily stored for 10 days. Coal arriving on day 2, is stored for 9 days, that arriving on day 3 is stored for 8 days, and so on. The sequence of days between 10 and 1 must be multiplied by the CO2 emissions that are delayed for each daily batch of coal that is held up at the port.

Converting these figures to years, this calculation yields the tonne-year benefit of the storage:

$$ \begin{aligned} tonne_{years}CO_2 &= {\sum_{n=1}^{days}{{tCO_2/day} \times n} \over 365} \\[5pt] &= {\sum_{n=1}^{10} {1{,}428{,}493.2 \times n}\over 365} \\[5pt] &= 215{,}252.4 \end{aligned} $$

Step 3: Calculate the offset

We then use an equivalence factor of 128 which was calculated using the Lashof method with a discount rate of 0 and a time horizon of 100 years.56 This equivalence factor posits that the effects of the release of 1 tonne of CO2 emissions is offset by the storage of 128 tonnes of CO2 for 100 year.

$$ \begin{aligned} Offset &= {tonne_{years}CO_2 \over equivalence} \\[5pt] &= {215{,}252.4 \over 128} \\[5pt] &= 1681.7 tCO_2 \end{aligned} $$

By this logic, this action offset the effects 1681.7 tonnes of CO2.