Queensland climate summit organises for action

Issue 

To win the battle to stop climate change, climate activists in Queensland have an important part to play. The Queensland ALP government is a strong backer of Australia's biggest polluters.

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and the state is the world's biggest exporter of coal.
In 2008, Premier Anna Bligh's government spent $700 million on expanding the coal industry. Yet the last state budget gave just $35 million for renewable energy.

Climate activists representing community action groups from all over southern Queensland and Northern NSW met on July 25 and 26 for a state climate action summit. About 40 climate activists gathered at the University of Queensland to discuss and formulate plans for a state grassroots climate action network.

The summit decided to initiate several campaigns for action for the remainder of 2009 and into 2010. It also decided on vision and purpose statements together with working guidelines to establish a state community climate network.

The new network will have a website and will hold annual summits. The activists agreed the network would have the capability to allow it to respond to political and environmental developments as they occur.

Several working groups were formed to carry out the agreed-upon plans.

Three major campaign priorities were agreed upon for later this year. A major public forum on climate change will be held in Brisbane in October. Activists will also take part in a national climate convergence on Canberra in November and will help organise a major rally at the time of the international conference of world governments on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

The summit decided to seek to work with the Queensland Conservation Council to invite them to take part in an open working group to organise a major public event in Brisbane during the Copenhagen talks on December 12.

A major network campaign to prevent the approval of any new coal mines is planned for early 2010.

The activists also agreed to send a message of solidarity and photo to the workers occupying the Vestas wind turbine plant on England's Isle of Wight. The workers are protesting the closure of England's only wind turbine plant. They are demanding the British government nationalise the factory to keep it open and save green jobs.

A range of groups and individuals took part in the summit. These included individual activists from Brisbane, Toowoomba and Northern NSW. Members active in suburban climate action groups, the Save the Mary River campaign, Resistance, Socialist Alliance, the Greens, Six Degrees, Friends of the Earth and Safe Climate Australia and several faith-based climate groups were also represented.

The summit was in part organised through a grant from the Queensland Conservation Council.