School Strike 4 Climate WA: 'We are heading for a cliff and fossil fuel companies want to put their foot on the gas' 

School Strike 4 Climate WA activists speak at Blockade RTS in Perth on November 27.
School Strike 4 Climate WA activists speak at Blockade RTS in Perth on November 27. Photo: Alex Salmom

School Strike 4 Climate WA sent the following letter to Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan on the eve on the Resources Technology Showcase (RTS), held at the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre over November 27–28.

* * *

Dear Premier, 

We are writing to you about the future. We are writing to you as young people concerned about the climate, about the planet. We are writing to you as individuals who can see climate change for the emergency it is, and who can see the lack of systemic action with absolute clarity. We are writing to you because we have had enough. 

At 8:30am this morning, you will give the opening address at the Resources Technology Showcase (RTS) at the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre. This conference features some of the biggest players in the fossil fuel industry and the biggest carbon polluters in not only this state, but the world. From Chevron to Rio Tinto, BHP to Woodside - these are the corporations destroying the planet. 

Top scientific experts around the world agree that we need to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade to avoid catastrophe. Instead, since 2005, emissions in Western Australia have increased 23%. This is criminal activity. 

Mr McGowan, you are the Premier of Western Australia. You are an elected representative of the people, and your role should be to protect the people. In facing a crisis as vast and urgent as the climate crisis, we need our governments to be doing everything in their power to work towards climate justice and ensuring the safety of people that will be adversely affected by climate change. We need to see this sort of action from you and your colleagues, yet we see the exact opposite. 

This conference is just one instance, but it highlights your stance perfectly. 

In short, you are willing to side with the very corporations and individuals destroying the planet and the future. You are willing to throw away lives, homes and so much more for your own gain. 

This is unacceptable. 

We are seeing the effects of climate change now more than ever. Bushfires are raging across Australia, temperature records are being broken over and over again. Climate change has been an issue for decades, we have been on this trajectory for decades. We cannot continue on this path — something needs to change, and it needs to change now. 

The Clean State report clearly shows Western Australian LNG production is one of the main drivers pushing us off a carbon cliff edge. Gas is WA’s biggest polluter, making up 36% of WA’s total annual emissions. LNG is responsible for about three times as much as coal in WA.

The new report shows that Woodside’s proposed Browse Basin and Burrup Hub expansion on the northwest coast of WA will be four times as bad as Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland. We are driving off the edge of the cliff, and the companies in that conference with you this morning want to put their foot on the gas. 

So this morning, we won’t go to school. Our education is important, but our futures are infinitely more so. We will march from Forrest Place to the Resources Technology Showcase at the Exhibition Centre. Once we arrive, we want answers. 

We demand that you meet us outside the Resources Technology Showcase at 10am. We demand that you listen to our concerns. We demand that you listen to us as voices of today and tomorrow. We demand that you start taking the action we so urgently need. 

You need to choose, Mr Premier. Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the people or on the side of climate criminals? Are you on the side of the future or are you stuck in a fossil fuel past? It’s time to wake up, before we all end up like the dinosaurs. 

You are willing to address the representatives of this state’s biggest polluters — are you willing to meet with the people that will have to face the world you are creating? We are the youth of today, and the so called leaders of tomorrow. But right now, we are the ones leading. We can see the inadequacies in your leadership, and we are acting accordingly. 

It’s time you acted according to the situation. 

We have grown up with this threat looming over our heads. We have grown up with your inaction. We have grown up being told to be quiet, that it’s not important, that it will all be okay. But it won’t all be okay. And it’s time to change that. 

Sincerely, 

School Strike 4 Climate WA

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