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Issue #1433      28 October 2009

Climate action rally in Perth

As the world waits for climate talks in Copenhagen on December 12, climate activists around the globe have been building an international movement to form a united front for a universal agreement on the level of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere.

This united push saw 4,594 climate action rallies planned in 175 countries around the world. The Perth rally organised by the Safe Climate Coalition was attended by around 400 people.  Rally spokesperson Kamala Emanuel said that she hoped all who attended would take the message of climate action from the rally to as many people as possible.

The speakers included Piers Versteggen from the Conservation Council of Western Australia who said that the melting of the sea ice in the polar regions would cause the sea level to rise 1.8 metres leading to the destruction of many of Australia’s natural heritage icons such as WA’s own Ningaloo Reef, Kimberley region, coastal estuarine systems not to mention its sandy beaches which have already begun to slip into the sea.

Braving a frustrated crowd state ALP opposition spokesperson for the environment Alannah McTiernan spoke of her personal commitment for environmental activism. However in her work as a parliamentarian she admitted that because the Greens and ALP do not form a majority she saw that compromise was necessary if there was any hope to get climate change policies through the legislature.

She said that things could be driven and changed by a grass roots movement.

The next speaker, Greens Upper House member Dr Giz Watson, said that they were working with the ALP on climate issues but reminded people that it was under an ALP government that leases were granted for new coal mines to be established in Collie.

She said we need to be mindful of the differences and maintain our fight but also look for the spaces in which we can work together. “This is a fight for our lives and we are faced with appalling leadership on this issue from people who are lacking the strength and conviction to take real action to avert climate catastrophe.”

Giz told the rally that, “The Greens are calling or at least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases”, and also urged individuals to begin bringing down their own levels of personal energy consumption/carbon footprint as a way of showing our commitment.”

Richard Titelius from the Communist Party of Australia spoke about how the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme were mostly being pursued by G-20 nations as there was money to be made from them while their actual effect on stopping runaway climate change was minimal.

“It is these licenses or permits to pollute (under these schemes) which can be traded and which capitalism has begun to speculate on a market being established based on the value of these permits. It was also because there was money to be made from the CPRS that our own PM Kevin Rudd has come out so strongly in favour of them”, observed Richard.

The next climate action would be on December 12, the annual Walk Against Warming – to coincide with the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

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