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Issue #1713      December 2, 2015

Perth

Climate Action Rally

In the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2,300 rallies were planned in over 150 countries. Rallies were held in all capital cities of Australia and in many regional centres in each of the states and territories.

Part of the rally for Climate Action at Wellington Square in Perth.

The rally in Perth was held in Wellington Square where key speakers addressed the four thousand plus crowd. With the action being held on a site that was significant to the local Noongar people, it was only fitting that the rally had male and female Noongar MCs.

The first speaker was Petra Tschakert from the University of Western Australia, where she is visiting from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms Tshakert was part of the Fifth Assessment Panel of the International Panel of Climate Change which delivered its report in 2014.

The Report, stated Ms Tshakert, highlighted four key areas of concern in relation to climate change. Human activity is disrupting the earth’s climate with each succeeding decade being warmer than the previous one (the report stating that concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide being at the highest levels for the previous 800,000 years).

The more change that is required the more difficult and expensive it becomes to do anything about the effects of climate change; we have options and solutions to halt the effects of climate change which involve weaning ourselves of fossil fuels – especially oil and shale gas.

Australia, concluded Ms Tshakert, had to lead the world by example.

Climate change and bush fires

The next speaker was Kevin Jolley, a professional fire fighter and member of the United Fire Fighters Union. He warned that Australia is seeing a lengthening of the fire fighting season and an increase in the severity of bush fire events and their frequency which was directly linked to an increase in average temperatures and decreases in rainfall in many parts of Australia.

Farmers around the country are also observing changes in the climate as their growing seasons become shorter or often don’t come at all, causing crop failure on top of catastrophic fire events.

Jolley called on governments to increase funding for extra staff and equipment to fight fires in addition to extreme storm events. He said that when fire fighters are tackling fires in these extreme events, “There are no sceptics at the end of a fire hose.”

Les McLaughlin, the state secretary of the Electrical Trades Union called for a doubling of investment in renewable energy to assist in combating climate change.

However, as Australia moves away from a carbon-based energy system it should bring Australian workers with it by helping to retrain them in the manufacture of wind and solar powered energy systems to provide high value jobs.

The final speakers were representatives from the leading religious denominations in Western Australia: Christian, Baha’I, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish faiths who all called for sustainable economies and the reduction of carbon emissions to preserve life and to “take care of this garden as it is the only one we have.”

The rally which had now swelled to 7,000 people slowly marched west towards the Wesley Church in the centre of the city to bring their message to the Sunday shoppers.

Next article – The Common Tern – Russian government responds to downing of plane

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