Monday, November 12, 2007

Thousands march for Action on Climate Change

Over 100,000 people marched around Australia against the lack of action on climate change by our political leaders including 30,000 people in Sydney, 8,000 in Canberra, 1,500 in Adelaide, 3,000 in Hobart, and up to 50,000 in Melbourne. At more than fifty locations around Australia people participated in the Walk Against Warming.

Quit Coal - Reduce CO2

Photos: Melbourne1 2 | Perth1 2 | Goldcoast | Sydney | Adelaide1 2 | Cairns | Brisbane | Canberra

Video: Thousands march in Melbourne | Hobart Walk says no to Pulp Mill

In Sydney shadow Environment Minister Peter Garret from the Labor Party was booed with some people in the crowd turning their back when he spoke. Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, although invited, did not attend. Leader of the Greens Bob Brown also addressed the Sydney rally to warm applause. Other speakers included executive director of GetUp Brett Solomon, and the 9-year-old star of The Climate Institute’s TV ad campaign, Jack Simmons. Both the Government and the Labor Party have not given commitments to short term targets, and their longer term targets are being criticised as too little too late.

“Neither of the old parties will tackle these priority issues – we need a seismic change of thinking at the top." said Senator Bob Brown. The Greens have a target of 30% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. Senator Brown said that Labor’s Peter Garrett ‘copped some stick’ from the crowd, “but Peter turned up and put Labor’s climate change strategy to the Australia people. Malcolm Turnbull squibbed it. “

Like the USA, Australia has refused to sign the Kyoto protocol. The climate policies of both major Australian parties allow Australia’s emissions to continue to rise. New coal-fired power stations continue to be built, with 11 new coal projects under construction or planned which will see emissions increase by 10% over current levels, according to Greenpeace.

Solar and Wind not NuclearCate Faehrmann, Executive Director of the NSW Nature Conservation Council called on the next elected government for a short-term target to reduce greenhouse pollution by at least 30 per cent by 2020. “Walk Against Warming has been the biggest public rally of the federal election campaign, which demonstrates how concerned Australians are about climate change and just how important an issue it is for the coming election,”

"The election countdown now stands at less than 2 weeks and Australians have voted with their feet to let politicians know they expect leadership on climate change, not half measures. An important test of leadership on climate change is now to act on the scientific evidence of global warming and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.” said Ms Faehrmann.

Across New South Wales many of the 32 Walks were held in marginal electorates including Parramatta, Dobell, Page and Eden-Monaro.

In Melbourne many families with kids attended the march, with prepared placards from Greenpeace, Zero Emissions Network, Get Up!, and other environmental and activist groups. There was an abundance of home made placards and banners. Turtles, polar bears and John Howard puppets enlivened the march, along with several street bands.

Funny enough the Age newspaper in Melbourne focused on the Sydney rally where some of the crowd (SMH report) turning their backs on Peter Garrett. (Age Report) The main photo in Monday's Age shows an estimated crowd of up to 50,000 people (Herald Sun, SBS news, Age), in Swanston Street. The rally was adressed by head of World Vision Tim Costello (brother to Treasurer Peter Costello) at the State Library before the march down Swanston Street to a festival in the Alexandra Gardens where the Counterfeit Gypsies performed for the crowd.

See Also: Green Left Initial Report: Rallies call for action on climate change. | The Big Switch

Walk Against Warming 2007: Photos by Takver