Climate Action Summit to meet in Canberra

Environmental activists and climate action groups from across Australia are joining together for a Climate Action Summit in Canberra from January 31 to February 3.

The organisers' aims for the summit are to make the grassroots movement against climate change in Australia more coherent and effective, and to influence the agenda for the second year of the Kevin Rudd government.

The summit comes at an important time for the climate movement. In the lead-up to the November 2007 federal election, opposition leader Rudd assured voters that the Labor Party took climate change seriously and would follow a very different path from that of the anti-environment Coalition government.

Then, after 12 months of inaction and ceaseless rhetoric, the Labor government finally announced its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets on December 15. The appallingly low target of 5% emissions cuts by 2020 announced by climate change minister Penny Wong, fall woefully short of the reductions urged by the world's leading climate scientists. It also confirms that Australia continues to play the dishonourable role, inherited from the Howard government, of an international climate pariah.

The summit will be an important opportunity to discuss the politics needed to build the movement, and the main strategic demands and issues facing it. A national network of climate action groups will be formed out of the event.

To conclude the summit, protesters will form a human chain around Parliament House on February 3.

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