150,000 people march for climate in Australia

peoplesclimatemarchbannerAndrewSimmons

On the last weekend in November 150,000 people across the country marched together as part of a Global Climate March ahead of climate talks in Paris. See pictures of Curtin’s CASE at the march on our Facebook page.

and other images of the Perth march

It was the biggest climate mobilisation moment ever in Australia: 60,000 people in Melbourne, 45,000 in Sydney, 6,000 outside Parliament in Canberra, 8,000 in Perth.

From powerful gatherings in regional towns to teeming crowds in our cities, we made our message unmissable.

Many countries, from Bangladesh to Ireland, saw the largest climate marches in their history. In Australia, 120,000 people marched, in India, over 100,000. And in towns across the planet small groups  joined together in beautiful local events. Even in Sana’a, Yemen, organisers went ahead with their march despite bombs falling close to the route!

Pope Francis’ envoy said of our marches: “The Pope is in spirit with hundreds of thousands today, hand in hand with the poor and those who seek climate justice.”

Today, in his opening address to world leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed: “The peoples of the world are also on the move. They have taken to the streets, in cities and towns across the world, in a mass mobilization for change… They expect each and every one of you to show leadership equal to the test. History is calling.”

And Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN climate talks, thanked us all and announced: “I am working with Avaaz to install a large screen for your voices to be heard. All delegates will be able to see your support for a strong climate change agreement that protects our common home.’’

Australians are disappointed that our Prime Minister did not take a more popular and realistic target to the UN Paris talks and was so out of step with other world leaders announcing their countries’ commitments.

Sadly, our new prime minister could not stride to the lectern like Canada’s new prime minister Justin Trudeau who declared “Canada is back, my friends. We’re here to help.” Sadly, our new prime minister could not stride to the lectern like Canada’s new prime minister Justin Trudeau who declared “Canada is back, my friends. We’re here to help.” 

  • Despite claims that Australia had already met its 2020 target of 5%, there was no commitment to ramp this up as had  been promised if other countries had strong targets (which they do).
  • The commitment of an extra $800m over 4 years to the Green Climate Fund will be taken from an aid budget already severely cut. (And the Climate Institute estimates Australia’s fair commitment should be $1.5b).
  • Australia was missing from a list of nations pledging $343 million for the most vulnerable countries – some of which are South Pacific neighbours.
  • Australia’s commitment to the Emission Innovation Initiative is less than half the money the government took out of R&D for clean energy research, e.g through ARENA and the CFEC.
  • The Prime Minister refused to sign a communique with almost 40 nations to promote the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. He claimed it was because the communique adopted the IMF definition of a subsidy which accepts the health and climate costs of fossil fuels and recommends pricing coal, oil and gas for these costs. The diesel rebate will cost Australians $26 billion over the next four years. Fossil fuel subsidies outpace those for renewable energy by a factor of more than four-to-one (In 2014, $695 billion subsidies to fossil fuels – International Energy Association).

Labor leader Bill Shorten has indicated his party will support a cut of 45 per cent of 2005-level carbon pollution by 2030 and net-zero emissions for Australia by 2050.

The Greens say Australia should aim for a 63-82 per cent cut by 2030 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2040.