6000km run for safe climate begins


A relay team of 25 people began a 6000 kilometre run across Australia on November 2 to urge a rapid transition to a carbon-neutral future.

The Run for a Safe Climate started in Cooktown in Far North Queensland. It will continue for 28 days through Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, before ending at Melbourne's St Kilda Beach on November 29.

The runners all work in emergency services. Among them are firefighters, police and a nurse. On the run, they intend to visit some of the communities most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Thirty events will be held in towns and cities along the route.

The Run for a Safe Climate also aims to raise funds for Safe Climate Australia (SCA) — an NGO launched in July that wants to develop a comprehensive transition plan towards a zero-carbon economy.

SCA estimates it will need $1.6 million a year for three years to develop the plan.

The group says Australia's climate policy must be based firmly on climate science. "There is already too much carbon in the atmosphere", it said on its website, "and this demands the rapid and near total de-carbonisation of all sectors of the economy, and the sequestration of around 200 billion tonnes of existing atmospheric carbon pollution."

The group supports a cut in greenhouse gas levels to a safe level of between 280 and 325 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric carbon dioxide — down from today's 390ppm.

"We face a sustainability emergency and speed is of the essence", SCA said. "For the high-polluting nations such as Australia, annual emissions cuts in the range of five to ten per cent a year may be necessary, and five per cent or more of world production may be required for a sustained period to build a global renewable energy system and a low-pollution world economy."

[For details visit www.runforasafeclimate.org and www.safeclimateaustralia.org.]