Climate emergency rallies gain momentum

Kamala Emanuel & Leigh Hughes

16 August 2008


“Renewables now!”, “Leave coal in the ground”, “No carbon trading loopholes!”, “Expand public transport” and “Keep power in public hands” will be the key demands of a climate emergency rally to be held at Darling Harbour in Sydney on October 2, just days after Ross Garnaut is to deliver his final report on recommendations for Australia’s response to climate change.

People for a Safe Climate (PSC) formed in Sydney on August 14 in response to a call from the Melbourne Climate Emergency rally organising coalition for a national actions beginning on September 21.

Individuals, representatives of climate action groups from Sutherland to Coogee to Rozelle, Friends of the Earth and other environment groups, peace groups, and socialist groups including Resistance, the Socialist Alliance and Solidarity came together to plan the action.

An early morning action in the Pitt Street Mall will be held on September 25. The climate emergency rally the following week will be outside the office of Australia’s biggest coal exporter, Xtrata. The company is due to start work on the Anvil Hill coalmine the following month.

At the Sydney organising meeting, there were some differences over whether any carbon trading scheme could be useful, but there was agreement that Garnaut and the government’s carbon trading scheme gave too much to the polluters and would not guarantee a safe climate.

Participants agreed to use the planned protest actions to build the grassroots climate action summit in Sydney on October 4-5 and the November 15 Walk Against Warming. The next meeting of PSC is on August 21 at 5pm. See page 23 for details.

In Canberra, GetUp has initiated a climate action and community fun day on October 12 to coincide with the arrival in Canberra of four “climate torches” currently being carried around Australia.

The organisers of this action, which will feature music, community stalls, entertainers, children’s events and other activities, expect that it will showcase the broad community support for effective action against climate change.

The organisers hope that 10,000 people will participate in the action, including people from interstate, and have set up a website containing information about the climate torch relay, at http://www.climatetorch.com.

Planning is also underway for a conference at the Australian National University on October 11, which will bring together scientists, campaigners and others to discuss the climate change emergency.

Meetings to organise the climate action and conference are held every Thursday at 7pm, upstairs in the City Labor Club. For more information, phone Leigh on 0421 283 825.

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