Editorial: All out for world’s biggest climate march

Pacific Islanders are demanding that Australia faces up to its responsibility as one of the biggest carbon emitters in the world
Friday, September 5, 2014

Scientists at the CSIRO have published research that shows there is a 99.999% chance that rising temperatures are caused by human activity.

Writing in The Conversation they say: “Ignoring the problem is no longer an option.”

This comes at the same time as people in the Solomon Islands are making plans to relocate due to sea level rises. Pacific Islanders are now demanding that Australia faces up to its responsibility as one of the biggest carbon emitters in the world and take action to stop climate change.

An international day of climate action has been called for Sunday, September 21, just days before the next UN climate summit in New York.

The “People’s Climate March” will be held in cities across the globe, including in capital cities around Australia. Campaigning group GetUp! has called on people to join local events or organise their own events.

It is set to be the largest climate mobilisation ever.

But the federal government is ignoring the science and putting the interests of big business first. The government is trying to scrap programs that have begun to make the switch to renewable energy and drive down Australia’s emissions, including scrapping household solar to low-income households, attacking the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and scrapping the mining tax.

Instead, they are giving billions of dollars in subsidies to Australia’s biggest polluters in the fossil fuel industries. If the RET is scrapped, owners of coal-fired power stations will be $9 billion better off.

Fortunately there is resistance to their plans.

A broad alliance of groups, including unions, environment groups and ordinary people, have protested against the budget cuts and demanded more action on climate change.

Because of this opposition, the government has not been able to get rid of the RET in parliament.

It is this kind of ongoing campaign that mobilises large numbers of people that will put pressure on the government and prevent them passing their agenda.

The high stakes demand a big response. We cannot accept small measures that will not do what it takes to stop runaway climate change. Instead of campaigning for the reinstatement of a carbon tax, which does little to reduce emissions and has resulted in billions of dollars in public money being handed to the big polluters, it is time to campaign for direct government investment in large-scale renewable energy.

To turn the tide on climate change, we need everyone. Green Left Weekly encourages readers to come along to the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21.

[For a list of events, visit People's Climate March - Global online.]

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