'Blowing the whistle' on climate emergency

December 2, 2009

CANBERRA — On November 23, 130 climate change activists were arrested as they blockaded the front doors of Parliament House.

The protest opposed the government's proposed emissions trading scheme and its refusal to agree to strong emissions reduction targets at the Copenhagen climate talks in December.

"There are people here today from every state in Australia, and most of them have never undertaken peaceful civil disobedience before", said protest spokesperson Georgina Woods. "We are here today on behalf of every Australian whose children and grandchildren will be affected by the devastation of climate change.

"We're here to issue a moral challenge to [Prime Minister Kevin] Rudd to demonstrate true climate leadership at Copenhagen. While he says a legally binding climate treaty is important, the commitments he has put on the table are drastically weakening the deal.

"Australia has to commit to cutting our greenhouse pollution by 40%."

After three hours, the police began to arrest the protesters, only to release them immediately, without laying charges. No injuries were reported.

The following day, a group of 20 Australian National University students dressed in suits occupied the public gallery of the House of Representatives and began whistling. They said they were "blowing the whistle on inadequate climate action".

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