Thousands rally nationally for renewable energy, & against CPRS

Thousands have rallied around the country calling for funding renewable energy as an alternative to the governments polluter friendly emissions trading scheme, there were climate protests in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Cairns, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wollongong. 

Around 2000 marched in Sydney to denounce the Rudd government’s timid climate policies and their useless emissions trading scheme. Protesters gathered at Barangaroo opposite the harbour bridge to march to Kevin Rudd’s office in Pitt St. Overwhelmingly those in the crowd condemned the government for being more concerned to please big business polluters rather than take the urgent action needed to reduce carbon emissions.

As NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon told the crowd “The prime minister needs to recognise that baby steps is not what is needed, we need the giant leap to a zero emissions future.

“We know that achieving that is not going to come with the carbon pollution reduction scheme—that’s a scam.

Other speakers included former Hunter Valley coalminer Graham Brown, Genevieve Kelly, NSW secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union, and John Hepburn from Greenpeace.

Activists co-ordinated a symbolic sit down outside Rudd’s office to indicate their willingness to take disruptive action to force the government to take the climate threat seriously. Protesters also wrote messages to Kevin Rudd on strips of red fabric.

Over 3000 marched in Melbourne, speakers included Peter Marshall from the United Firefighters Union, Bob Brown leader of the Greens, Emeretta Cross from Tuvalu & David Spratt co-author of Climate Code Red.

The rally called for 100% renewable energy by 2020, for green jobs, for protection of forests and to scrap the governments emissions trading scheme (CPRS or Climate Pollution Reduction Scam, as one banner put it)

The rally staged a sit-down outside the state ALP conference and chanted “John Brumby doesnt have a clue, we wont stop until emissions do”.
Damien Lawson, Friends of the Earth Australia national Climate Justice co-ordinator called for a campaign of civil disobedience, using the example of the successful campaign against the Vietnam War, he said “sometimes its not enough to have all the facts on our side, its not enough to have the science and the truth, sometimes you need to act, sometimes you need to disrupt things, sometimes you need to make a noise, sometimes you need to force change”. Protesters then made noise by simultaneously rattling their keys calling on the governement to unlock funding for renewable energy.

Video & speeches from the Melbourne protests can be found here

James Supple & Chris Breen


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