The Rise For Climate global day of action on September 8 brought together locals, concerned citizens and activists to demand a transition to 100 percent clean renewable energy. The event brought 250,000 people to over 900 events in 95 countries. Organised by 350.org and supported by various interest and advocacy groups around the world such as charities, unions, environmental groups and universities, this climate action event comes at a time when world leaders are slow to respond to the threat of the climate crisis.
“Rise for Climate gives everyone concerned about our climate, our energy future, our environment and our impacted communities the opportunity to hit the streets together and say, ‘We want real action on climate now, we want divestment from fossil fuels and a real plan to transition us to 100% renewables’,” said 350.org Australia’s CEO Blair Palese.
Climate change was one of the driving issues behind Ex-Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull being ousted from the top Australian federal leadership position over what some in the LNP viewed a liberal climate agenda, and replaced with a more conservative Scott Morrison (and had the Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale flaring up in parliament and his video going viral). Since then, fears about Australia’s commitment to achieving its obligations under the Paris Agreement has resurfaced.
These fears are well-founded. A new ClimateWorks report revealed that Australia is not on track to reach its 2030 emissions reduction targets and that the country’s carbon emissions have been steadily increasing since 2013.
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On the back of this, the Rise For Climate event saw more than 5000 Australians show up to over 50 grass-roots actions and public events across the country calling for politicians to leave fossil fuels behind, coal in the ground and do more to fight against climate change.
“We all know that continuing to rely on coal for our long-term energy needs and economic growth is a recipe for disaster,” said Palese. “We currently have no national plan to move to clean energy and away from fossil fuel exports, and no support programs for coal and gas communities impacted by the global shift away from sources that is already underway.”
Some creative slogans could be found on protest signs at events across Melbourne. “Don’t be a Fossil Fool,” reads one, while another said: “Wanted: Pollies with a better Plan for the Planet”. At a Pacific Island focussed Rise For Climate event, the apt words were found on a large banner: “Raise Your Voice, Not Our Sea Level”.
The global Rise for Climate event leads up to the Global Climate Action Summit in California on 12 September for a three-day conference which aims to showcase innovative decarbonisation efforts and climate action initiatives being implemented by municipalities, governments, businesses and community leaders around the world.
Collective action is essential in keeping governments and companies accountable to their climate change commitments. To be part of the fossil-free movement and keep the pressure on our coal-loving politicians, make sure to visit 350.org.
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Title image credit: 350.org via Flickr