Sixty people marched into and occupied Sharon Grierson’s office on Tuesday, in an immediate and angry reaction to the failure of the Rudd government to deal with climate change.
The protest, organised by Climate Action Newcastle, was organised after Ms. Grierson had repeatedly ignored requests to meet with the group in the lead-up to what spokesperson Duncan Jinks called the most important white paper in Australia’s history.
Australian climate scientist, Professor Barry Brook, said in his blog on Monday that “the scientific reality of the physics, chemistry and biology of climate change and climate feedbacks [is] a process which cares nothing for these bold ambitions or how hard we might be trying.”
Australia has received international condemnation for the weakest 2020 target in the developed world, which amounts to a 13% increase on 1990 levels, worse than the US 0% increase on 1990 levels, and far worse than the 25-40% on 1990 levels recommended by scientists.
Churches in the Pacific Islands, some of which nations are already looking for evacuation plans due to rising sea levels and crop salinity, immediately lashed out at the government, saying that “Australia has just outdone the minimum!”
South Africa, India and China also criticised Australia in Poznan for its expected failure to meet the 25-40% commitment generally agreed to at Bali. 49 of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs), called on the world to aim for greenhouse concentrations of 350ppm, which would commit developed countries to much higher reductions.
The sit-in at Sharon Grierson’s office, which coincided with 10 other office occupations around the country and rallies of hundreds of people in every major Australian city, demonstrated that Australians would act on climate change even if the government did not, and even if it meant breaking the law.
A small hope for the planet.