Twenty-five local residents marched to MP Scott Morrison’s office in Caringbah on Thursday, demanding that he speak up for emergency action on climate change. The protest was organised by Sutherland Climate Action Network, a group of over 200 Sutherland Shire residents formed early last year to raise awareness about climate change and reduce emissions in the Shire.
Sutherland Climate Action Network members met with Mr Morisson in October, presenting the scientific case for emergency action and handing over a letter asking him to speak up publicly and urge the Opposition to support the community Climate Protection Bill and strengthen the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
Mr Morrison has not responded to the letter, prompting the group to organise the protest. The trigger for the protest was Kevin Rudd’s announcement on Monday 15th December of a paltry 5% carbon emissions reduction target by 2020, and the Opposition’s muted response, promising only a two month review of the emissions white paper.
Protest organiser Jonathan Doig spoke outside Mr Morrison’s office about the urgent need to restore the Arctic sea ice which is on track to disappear entirely in summer by about 2013. The group used musical instruments, pots and pans to bang out a countdown from 386 parts per million – the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – down to 350 ppm, the initial target recently proposed by US climatologist James Hansen and nine other scientists.
The protestors chalked messages on the footpath, asking Mr Morrison to back strong climate action now.
Mr Doig asked the crowd, “What do we think of Kevin Rudd?” “Climate dud!” came the answer.
“What about Malcolm Turnbull?” “Clueless!”, they responded.
“And how about Scott Morrison, hasn’t he been quiet?” “Quiet as a mouse!”, someone quipped. Members of the group wore masks reflecting these epithets of Rudd, Turnbull and Morrison.
Mr Morrison’s office was unattended – without explanation – so Mr Doig left a message on the “urgent enquiries” number, calling for Scott to speak up for emergency climate action.
Sutherland Climate Action Network will join other community climate action groups from around the country to encircle Parliament House in Canberra on February 3rd 2009.