Monday, 30 November 2015

Climate change protests across Australia – tens of thousands march

Extract from The Guardian

Tens of thousands of Sydney protesters call for a focus on the cost of climate change to Pacific Islands, while an unusually high turnout marches in Canberra

There was a strong Pacific Islander presence at the Sydney climate protest march on Saturday, raising awareness of the devastating impact rising sea levels on low-lying island nations.
There was a strong Pacific Islander presence at the Sydney climate protest march on Saturday, raising awareness of the devastating impact rising sea levels on low-lying island nations. Photograph: Ben Doherty for the Guardian

Climate change rallies rolled on across Australia on Sunday, following well attended protests in Melbourne on Friday and Darwin and Brisbane on Saturday.
On Sunday, it was the turn of Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth.
Australia’s climate-sensitive neighbours in the Pacific were a key focus for the climate change rally in Sydney, with representatives of communities from Pacific nations – including Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati and Tonga – prominent at the front of the march from the Domain to Circular Quay.
Dressed in red, they carried signs that read: “2C too late”, “We can’t walk on water”, and “Raise your voice, not sea levels”.
Previously, Pacific leaders such as Kiribati’s Anote Tong, and PNG’s Peter O’Neill have implored Australia to be the voice of the Pacific at climate change talks in Paris beginning Monday.
More than 40,000 people braved Sydney’s heat for the rally Sunday afternoon, calling on Australia to play a lead role in brokering binding emissions targets for the world to keep global temperature rise below 2C, and to commit to greater domestic emissions cuts than the 26% to 28% the government is currently proposing.
Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the mood of the march was rumbustious, even festive. A salsa band played Arrow’s “Hot, Hot, Hot” all the way down Macquarie Street.
Sydney’s lord mayor, Clover Moore, told the march the COP21 meeting beginning in Paris on Monday would be “the most important meeting of our life time”.
“On it depends the future of our planet,” she said.
The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced Australia would contribute $1m towards the establishment of a Commonwealth climate finance access hub, to help small island states access funds for climate mitigation and adaptation.
“These countries have asked for assistance in accessing the climate finance they need to effectively deal with climate change,” he said in a statement.
The deputy opposition leader and shadow foreign affairs minister, Tanya Plibersek, spoke to reporters before the Sydney rally and said Australia’s contribution to the fund was “pathetically puny” and failed to comprehend the scale or imminence of the Pacific’s climate problem.
“Climate change is not a distant future threat for our Pacific neighbours, it is happening right now. You are seeing storm surges washing away coastlines, you are seeing saltwater creeping into fresh water sources, you are seeing drought preventing crops growing properly, making it harder for communities to feed themselves.”
Unlike Sydney’s spirited march, it was a very peaceful, family-oriented affair in Canberra, as people brought their children to march with them from Parliament House to the tent embassy, near Old Parliament House.
Police estimate about 3,000 people showed up, while protesters think the number was closer to 6,000. Canberrans are fairly cautious about protesting, as many are public servants and are often reluctant to make political statements.
One of the coordinators of the event, Emma Robinson from the Conservation Council, said she was not surprised that so many showed up in the capital.
“Climate change is and has always been everyone’s business,” she said.
The event was staffed by about 80 volunteers, most of whom were Canberra locals and part of the Conservation Council.
Former chief scientist of Australia, Penny Sackett, said that protests like Sunday’s made people feel as though they were taking action on climate change.
“People can become discouraged because it appears as though [political] change does not happen swiftly enough,” she told Guardian Australia.
She said the march was a message from voters to world leaders who are about to meet on climate change in Paris. “We’re watching.”
The Perth event started sombrely. At 3.25pm, at least 5,000 people sat in silence in Hay Street Mall to mark people who have lost their lives, homes and livelihoods to the effects of climate change. The group, in their colour blocks, had marched 2km from Wellington Square and stretched the whole 300-metre length, watched by bemused Christmas shoppers clutching plastic bags and taking photos of the crowd.
The march was led by a group from the Noongar Whadjuk nation and addressed by Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Hindu faith leaders.
The aim, Perth assistant bishop Tom Wilmot said, was to show unity and tell political leaders that the will of the people was for change. “We can have prosperity without growth,” Wilmot said.
Kevin Jolley, president of the firefighters union of WA, who addressed the crowd in his heavy fire gear, said WA had already seen the devastating impact of climate change in its worsening bushfire seasons.
Six people died in bushfires in November, four in fires near Esperance, WA, and two in fires in South Australia.
It’s the deadliest Australian bushfire season since 2009, when 173 people died in the Black Saturday bushfires, and, Jolly said, it was only the start of the southern fire season.
“There are no [climate] sceptics at the end of a fire hose,” Jolly said.

Tim Flannery: leaders now understand need to cut emissions 'hard and fast'

Extract from The Guardian

Climate scientist says the world has come a long way since the failed Copenhagen climate conference and now accepts the urgency of tackling rising temperatures
The crowd listen to speeches at the Domain in Sydney, Australia, on 29 November 2015 as part of global climate marches in the lead-up to COP 21 in Paris. Photograph: Ben Doherty for the Guardian

Sunday 29 November 2015 19.03 AEDT

The world has “come late” to realising the potential devastation of climate change, Prof Tim Flannery says, but the former Australian of the Year believes there is now a global understanding of the need to cut emissions “hard and fast” to avoid calamitous global warming.
Flannery, also formerly the chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, said world leaders were more committed now to thrashing out a binding global climate agreement than they were at the Copenhagen climate summit five years ago.
The 2009 conference achieved a broad commitment from countries to lower emissions by 2020, but derailed over disagreement between developed and developing countries over the strength of the cuts. The conference was condemned as a failure because countries would not sign a full treaty.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Sydney climate change rally on Sunday, Flannery told The Guardian he was more confident the COP21 talks in Paris could achieve strong binding targets.
“People understand the urgency now, people understand how late it is to act, so we’re better prepared. The politicians understand it better, the bureaucrats understand it better.”
“People understand the need to cut ‘hard and fast’ now, before it’s too late, and we are locked into something truly catastrophic.”
He said while Paris was a vital, and almost final, chance for global leaders to commit to binding targets, it would not be the end of tightening of global emissions.
The Paris targets, if met, Flannery said, would bring the world down to a global temperature rise of between 2.7 and 3.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels.

Tim Flannery. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian

This year the global temperature has reached one degree above those levels. World leaders and the UN have posited that global warming must be limited to two degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100, to avoid catastrophic climate change and sea-level rise.
But Flannery said, “people are now looking for solutions, and seeing that they can be found”, citing a halving in the cost of solar power since the Copenhagen talks five years ago.
“I was heavily involved in Copenhagen as the chairman of the council, and when I used to talk to business they always used to talk about the cost, now when they talk, they talk about the opportunities. That mindset has changed.”
A failure to reach binding agreements in Paris would have calamitous climate impacts, felt most acutely in neighbouring Pacific countries, but also domestically: “we would reach the level where the Great Barrier Reef would begin to die”.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Man in his arrogance - A Great Speech By Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot


Media Release



Date: 27 November 2015

Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Labor has set a long term goal of net zero pollution by 2050.
This will ensure Australia is in line with the global, bipartisan goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius on pre-industrial levels.
If we do not act, Australia will continue to experience an increase in extreme weather events, more severe droughts and rising sea levels.
All of which will come at an incredibly high cost to our economy, our environment and our way of life.
Labor accepts the science that limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius is necessary to avert dangerous climate change.
That commitment requires Australia to be a net zero pollution economy by the middle of the century.
Transitioning Australia to a net zero emissions economy by 2050 requires a decarbonisation pathway.
Under Labor, this pathway will have a number of milestone targets to ensure that Australia is on-track.
Experts, the environment sector and vulnerable nations strongly advocate for five year pledge and review arrangements and the UK, US, China and France have also proposed this.
A Shorten Labor Government will implement a five yearly pledge and review mechanism to assess progress and to adjust commitments over time.
To achieve the target of net zero pollution by 2050, Labor will consult on the Climate Change Authority’s 2030 baseline target of a 45 per cent reduction in carbon pollution on 2005 levels.
And within a year of coming to Government we will also put in place a 2025 target.
Labor will use the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a 45 per cent reduction as the basis for our consultations with industry, employers, unions and the community.
We will undertake this process mindful of the consequences for jobs, for regions and for any impacts on households.
Labor’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Mark Butler will lead this process and will report to Shadow Cabinet by the end of March next year.
Australians expect their leaders to take climate change seriously, and rely on the best science when developing their policies.
Australians know that the longer we delay action on climate change, the more severe the cost.
Malcolm Turnbull may be leader of the Liberal Party but his policies are Tony Abbott’s.
Australia goes to the Paris Climate Change conference as the only nation that has gone backwards on climate action in the past two years - with a policy that cannot and will not work.
Under the Liberals’ policy, it is taxpayers, not polluters, who pay to reduce emissions at a significant cost to the budget.
Australia deserves a stronger policy and a real plan.

For more details on Labor’s plan visit:


Media Release

Mark Butler

Shadow Minister for Environment
Climate Change and Water

Date:  27 November 2015

SUBJECT/S: Labor’s plan to take action on climate change

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well as Malcolm Turnbull works his way to Paris for those global climate talks via a pit stop CHOGM meeting in Malta, the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will today announce Labor’s long awaited emissions targets. Labor says it will use the Climate Change Authority’s recommendations of a 45 per cent by 2030 as a basis for consultations. The Government’s commitment, already stated, is a 26-28% reduction by 2030. Labor will also commit to a policy of net zero emissions by 2050. It’s described as an ambitious plan and I’m joined now to discuss it by Labor’s Environment spokesperson Mark Butler. Mark Butler, welcome to the program.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It is ambitious, almost twice the level set by the Government. Is it achievable? 
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Our starting point for consultations are in line with the expert advice of the Climate Change Authority, the Authority that was set up by the Parliament to provide exactly this advice, not just to the Parliament of Australia but to the Australian community. We want to go out over the next few months and by the end of March have had very deep discussions with business, unions and other stakeholders about the achievability of that target in light of the Paris conference which we believe is very likely to be a successful conference, and a range of other domestic factors like the impact on jobs, particular regions and households.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: You say you’ll use the 45 per cent figure as a basis for consultations. Does that mean it could end up being less?
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Well we think that’s the start for the discussion, that’s really what the Government should have done under the legislation in the parliament. The Government should have received that report and provided a formal response to it. Instead we had Tony Abbott’s targets which put Australia right at the back of the pack. Now after the change of leader I guess we waited to see whether Malcolm Turnbull would be true to his historical position on climate change and lift the Government’s level of ambition. But instead Malcolm Turnbull is flying to Paris now with Tony Abbott’s policies in his pocket with no change whatsoever. We feel as the alternative government of the country we’ve got an obligation to lift Australia’s position to make sure that Australia is at the head of the pack with countries like the US, Germany and United Kingdom, rather than at the back of the pack.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Well it’s certainly ahead of the pack because it’s ahead of them isn’t it? It’s ahead of the US 41% target and Europe’s overall target of 34 per cent.
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: It’s lower than the UK’s target of 51 per cent, in keeping with Germany and Norway targets and it is slightly higher than the US target for 2030 but it’s very likely the US will lift its target. Canada, after the election of Justin Trudeau, has also indicated that it’s likely to lift their target. So we think we’ll be at the head of the pack, not ahead of the pack, but right at the head of the pack with countries to which we usually compare ourselves. That’s vastly preferable we think to being shut out of the investment and jobs boom that will flow from a shift to clean technology and renewable energy. It’s also we think consistent with our obligation, the commitment we’ve made to future generations, to ensure that global warming does not exceed 2 degrees celsius.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Government modelling suggests that this figure would trim 0.7 per cent of GDP that’s likely to be around $30 billion. Can we afford it?
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: The modelling from the former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin done for Tony Abbott would indicate that over the course of the 2020s decade, the economy under a 45% target would grow by 23 per cent instead of 23.4 per cent I think which would be the growth rate under the Abbott targets. There’s a very small impact on growth over ten years that you’ll see there. But there is also what Warwick McKibbin says a substantial positive impact on investment as you see a shift to clean technology and green jobs. But we also have to bear in mind, are we being true to our commitment to ensure that global warming does not exceed two degrees celsius and that’s the discussion we’re going to have over the next three months with business, unions and other stakeholders.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Will household energy costs have to increase to meet this goal?
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: We’ve already laid out a very ambitious goal on electricity to move to at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and we are also looking at the impact on the broader electricity sector. You’ll see the chief executives of AGL, Origin and others who are all talking about the crying need for a holistic plan to transition the electricity sector from a very heavy fossil fuel intensive sector we’ve had in the past to a cleaner system and that also is going to require some very deep consideration.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: To achieve this goal you’ll have to go to the next election with the new plan for an emissions trading scheme. That was described recently by the former prime minister as a carbon tax by another name. This is clearly going to set up another political fight over the cost of curbing emissions. As you know, as we all know, the public was pretty hostile to the last fight and certainly to the idea of a carbon tax. Is there any evidence the mood has changed out there?
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Well I think the evidence, polling released by the Lowy Institute only earlier this week, indicates that Australians want a level of ambition here. They recognise firstly our obligaton to the rest of the world, and perhaps more importantly to future generations, to ensure global warming does not exceed 2 degrees but they also recognise increasingly that there is a clean technology, renewable energy boom around the corner. Australia can either be a leader in that boom and benefit from the jobs and investment that will come from it, or it can be at the back of the pack which is where Tony Abbott and it would appear Malcolm Turnbull want Australia to be.

Thousands march over climate change in Brisbane and across New Zealand

Extract from The Guardian

Heat proves no obstacle to the reported 15,000 demonstrators in Auckland, or the 5,000 in Brisbane, following a 40,0000-strong Melbourne event on Friday
A man holding a large blow up globe participates in the march on New Zealand parliament in Wellington on Saturday to call for more action on climate change. Photograph: Olexander Barnes/Demotix/Corbis

Guardian staff and agencies
Saturday 28 November 2015 17.43 AEDT

An estimated 5,000 people have marched in Brisbane and more were planning to march in Darwin on Saturday, following Friday’s 40,000-strong rally in Melbourne.
The People’s Climate March – a worldwide event – took place on Saturday, and organisers said thousands took part in 35 New Zealand centres – the smallest being on Raoul Island, where the island’s entire population of seven turned out.
The Brisbane march was plagued by hot, humid weather, but those rallying to call for urgent action on climate change in the lead-up to the Paris climate talks next week seemed undeterred.
The ABC reported the 5,000-strong crowd gathered at Queen’s Park before marching through the CBD and across the river to South Bank. The Pacific Climate group addressed demonstrators about the risk of catastrophic sea level rises.
Rallies are planned in Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Hobart and Perth on Sunday.
Before the Brisbane march, thousands had also gathered in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand.
A reported 15,000 marched in Auckland – although some media outlets put the figure as low as 4,000 – 8,000 in Christchurch and 7,000 marched on NZ parliament in Wellington, according to media reports.
Climate activist and actress Lucy Lawless addressed the Auckland event.
Altogether, 30 marches were scheduled across New Zealand for the weekend.
March organiser Steve Abel told the New Zealand Herald that collectively, it was by far the biggest climate change march to be held in New Zealand.
“Instead of seizing the opportunities from moving to a low-carbon future, the New Zealand government is lagging behind its people and the world by taking a weak target to Paris and refusing to take real action on climate change,” Auckland march convenor Kristin Gilles told AAP.
New Zealand is taking a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 to the Paris talks.
“The government should listen to the thousands of New Zealanders who took to the streets today and come up with a stronger, more ambitious plan for reducing climate pollution,” said co-leader James Shaw.
However, the prime minister, John Key, has said the 30% reduction is credible.
Australian Associated Press contributed to this report.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Bystanders' Notebook June 15, 1895.

BRISBANE, JUNE 15, 1895.

Bystanders' Notebook.


Men ever talk of reform, and say that we must teach masses to look for better days, and yet they never think of taking the bram out of their own eye. Hear a man pitch about the evils of drinking; five minutes after he has met a friend and says “Mine's a whiskey.” Another man is a red-hot unionist, lends a man a quid and tells everybody of his generosity, or has his name down in two sheds starting on the same date. What we want to do is not to talk of reforming others, but to start right away on bedrock and reform ourselves. We're all tarred with the same brush. I can tell others what to do, but you don't catch me doing it. Oh dear no, I'm a reformer. Why, if every man in the bush, or even every leading man, started to reform himself, we would gallop to the millenium quick and lively. Find your own weak points and endeavour to alter them. Keep on trying, even if you never succeed. Far better, he who fights all his life 'gainst some special failing, even if he never conquers it, and dies, bereft of friends and all, under a gum tree, than he, who never having anything to tempt him, lives pure and upright all his life and dies in a feather bed, with the odour of sanctity and respectability all around him.

* * *


The preposterous statements made by some of the Government picnic party re the alleged absence of unemployed at the towns they visited is simply astounding in its colossal impudence and would amuse people up this way were it not so cruelly sad heartlessly false. These Fat Men legislators were invited here and there and entertained by toadies and parvenus whose heads were turned at being privileged to hob-nob with Cabinet Ministers and bask in the reflected glory of their effulgent presence. Sycophant-like, they assured the Ministers that, owing to their heaven-born financing, work is now plentiful and all surplus labour is provided for. Ministers and their parasites shook hands with each other, assured themselves they were deuced clevah fellahs, and then gave forth their famous hee-haws, which other donkeys up and down the colony hastened to re-echo, thereby proclaiming themselves to be the most successful asses that ever brayed. How very applicable to this class of people are some of Swift's lines on an upstart -

Let purse-proud M----- next approach;
With what an air he mounts his coach.
A cart would best become the knave.
A dirty parasite and slave;
His heart in poison deeply dipt,
His tongue with oily accents tipt;
A smile still ready at command;
The pliant bow, the forehead bland,
Puffed up with pride and insolence
Without a grain of common sense.
See with what consequence he stalks -
With what pomposity he talks?
See how the gaping crowd admire
The stupid blockhead and the liar?
How long shall vice triumphant reign;
How long shall mortals bend to gain?
How long shall virtue hide her face,
And leave her votaries in disgrace?

I made a rough list yesterday and found that here, in Townsville, over thirty men whom I am personally acquainted with are at present unemployed and unregistered, and I know that these are only a small fraction of the scores of good steady men who are out of work. Anyone not wilfully blind can see them day after day walking our streets in their vain search for employment. When I read the twaddle of a lot of fat, callous, self-complacent money bags who have never known what it is to carry a swag looking for work or feel the pinch of poverty and hunger, I feel compelled to write these few lines to let Brisbane workers know the truth about labour in this district.

* * *


The aim of the Socialist Party is not the subdivision of property, whether capital or land, but the control of it by the representatives of the community. The aim of the modern Socialist movement is not to enable this or that comparatively free person to lead an ideal life, but to loosen the fetters of the millions who toil in our factories and mines, and who cannot possibly be moved to Freeland or Utopia. For the last two generations we have had social prophets, who, seeing the impossibility of at once converting the whole country, founded here and there small companies of the faithful, who immediately endeavoured to put into practice whatever complete ideal they professed. The gradual adoption of this ideal by the whole people was expected from the steady expansion of these isolated communities. But in no single case has this expectation been fulfilled. Most of these isolated colonies outside the world have failed. Some few, under more favourable circumstances, have grown prosperous. But whether they become rich or remain poor, they are equally disastrous to the real progress of Socialism inside the world as we know it. Wise prophets nowadays do not found a partial community which adopts the whole faith; they cause rather the partial adoption of their faith by the whole community. Incomplete reform is effected in the world of ordinary citizens instead of complete reform outside of it. Genuine Socialism grows by vertical instead of horizontal expansion;
we must make ever more Socialistic the institutions amidst which we live, instead of expecting them to be suddenly surprised by any new set imported from elsewhere. By this method progress may be slow but failure is impossible. No nation having once nationalised or municipalised any industry has ever retraced its steps or reversed its action.



I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the people who cared for our national estate for 400 centuries, and I pay my respects to elders past and present.
I acknowledge my Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek.
A few weeks ago, Tanya, my Shadow Immigration spokesman Richard Marles and I had the privilege of spending four days in three Pacific nations.
Beautiful places, home to people of wind and waves, who for centuries have lived in harmony, in fragile balance, with coral atoll and sea.
But paradise is drowning.
Rising sea levels, king tides and storm surges are eating away land, roads and seawalls.
Brackish water creeping into the village well, sewerage systems unable to cope with floodwaters are spreading disease .
We are talking about a crisis unprecedented in human history.
And massive, permanent displacement of people.
We met with Prime Minister O’Neill from PNG, President Loeak from the Marshall Islands and President Tong from Kiribati.
They told us and showed us the threat climate change poses to the nations of the Pacific.
For these island nations, climate change isn’t a ‘political’ argument or an ‘economic’ dilemma.
It is an existential threat – a matter of survival.
A violation of basic human safety and basic human rights.
The islands of the Pacific will be first affected,  but no country is immune.
The problem of climate change isn’t confined to a few nations, or one ocean.
The other day I met a senior fire officer, a man tasked with keeping Australians safe from bushfires and asked what he thought about climate change.
I wrote down his answer:
“Longer summers, shorter winters. Changes to the seasonal cycle.
 And mitigation is harder because of a contraction of the burning-off season.”
He went on:
“Things are worse now, because of climate change, no doubt.”
Things are worse now – no doubt.
Today, the energy trapped in our atmosphere by man-made global warming pollution is equivalent to exploding 400,000 of the Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima, 365 days a year.
2015 is set to be the hottest year on record – the warmest recorded temperatures since before the last Ice age.
Heatwaves in Australia are now five times more likely due to global warming.
Rising water temperatures mean more extreme weather events.
Bigger, harder downpours and simultaneously, longer deeper droughts.
The same extra heat that evaporates water from the ocean extracts moisture even more quickly from the soil.
Higher temperatures means more crop-damaging pests and insects too.
All this forces food prices higher.
As the Pope among others has said,  the gravest effects of our attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest.
This is the cost of climate change:
  • Floods
  • Bushfires
  • Drought
  • Salinity and soil damage
  • Storm damage
  • Bleaching coral on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Massive damage to coastal property and infrastructure
  • Species extinction
  • Water shortages
  • Rising sea levels and melting glaciers
  • Climate refugees
Kiribati has purchased land in Fiji as an ‘ark’ to house its refugees.
Every national academy of science in every major country confirms the problem – and agrees on the solution.
Australia can benefit if we take action on climate change.  Australia has a lot to lose if we do not.
More extreme weather events.
Heightened instability in our region.
$5.7 billion in tourism dollars from the Reef in jeopardy, 65,000 jobs in regional towns.
Just a 1.1 metre rise in the sea level, would cause $226 billion in damage to coastal property and infrastructure.
Let me decode the consequences of that number for you:
  • 250,000 homes.
  • 1800 bridges
  • 120 seaports
  • Sydney and Brisbane airport.
  • 5 power stations and 3 water treatment plants.
An increase in drought frequency will cost our economy $7.3 billion a year – shrinking growth in our economy by a full percentage point of GDP.
Three quarters cent of the land Australia currently uses for viticulture could be unsuitable by 2050.
And deaths from heat waves, along with health spending on cardiac and respiratory conditions will increase.
We can rebuild a flood-damaged capital city every 50 or 100 years, we can restore fire-ravaged towns every half-century.
But we can’t afford to do it every ten years.
Australia cannot afford climate change.
We cannot absorb the costs of things continuing as they are.
No nation on earth can.
This is not a price we can make our children or grandchildren pay.
This is not doom-saying, or hyperbole.
This is reality
The global temperature is rising and human activity is the cause.
The proof is irrefutable.
The science of climate change – despite the hysteria and the attacks on scientists’ integrity – is robust and it is not new.
In 1824, a French mathematician named Joseph Fourier discussed the idea of Earth’s atmosphere trapping heat.
In 1861, an Irishman named John Tyndall analysed the heat-absorbing properties of what we know as greenhouse gases.
The term ‘Greenhouse effect’ – and the idea of a relationship between CO2 levels and atmospheric temperature originated in Sweden in 1896.
And no area of scientific inquiry in the past 30 years has been more rigorously tested, scrutinised and peer-reviewed.
So let’s not pretend we have an obligation to give equal weight, coverage and credence to the babble of denialist militia.
We don’t need to ‘believe’ in gravity, we know it exists.
We don’t need to ‘believe’ smoking causes cancer and heart disease, we understand it is a medical fact.
We don’t need to ‘believe’ asbestos kills, we see it does.
And because we know climate change is real, we all have obligation to act.
To ask how we can give ourselves a chance of keeping the rise in global temperatures well below two degrees on pre-industrial levels.
Noting that for the small island states in our Pacific region, even 1.5 degrees represents a serious threat.
Of the more than 190 countries gathering for COP21, 55 will have bigger populations than ours, but only 11 will have larger economies.
We cannot ignore our record, or escape the reality.  We are the 13th largest polluter in the world, with the highest emissions per person in the OECD.
And despite Liberal Government accounting chicanery, our domestic emissions are going up, not down.
We cannot expect complete honesty and transparency from other nations unless we are transparent and honest.
Malcolm Turnbull leads a Liberal Government that has, in the past two years:
  • Abolished a price on pollution
  • Abandoned an Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Slashed the Renewable Energy Target
  • Cut funding to climate change adaptation programs in the Pacific
  • Cut funding to carbon capture and storage
  • And tried to abolish the widely-respected Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Malcolm Turnbull is flying to Paris carrying Tony Abbott’s climate-sceptic baggage.
Malcolm Turnbull may have won the leadership vote in the party room, but Tony Abbott has won the climate policy debate in the Liberal party.
Australia goes to Paris without a national energy efficiency scheme.
Without carbon budgets, or targets for industries and coal-fired power stations.
We go to Paris as the only nation that has gone backwards on climate action in the past two years.
The Prime Minister will walk off his plane with a pathetic target in one hand and an expensive joke of a climate policy in the other.
With a policy that cannot and will not work.
Under Direct Action, it is taxpayers, not polluters,  who pay to reduce pollution – at a significant cost to the budget.
AiG estimates that if the Government’s target was:
delivered solely through Budget spending, it would cost between $100 billion and $250 billion in unadjusted terms.”
And Malcolm Turnbull knows this, of course he knows it.
No-one has delivered a more incisive critique of Direct Action than the current Prime Minister who labelled it:
 ‘an environmental figleaf to cover a determination to do nothing’
He had the courage to tell the truth when he was an insurgent backbencher, with nothing to lose.
Yet now, when power is in his grasp and the evidence is in front of his eyes,  he cannot admit what he knows in his heart and head to be true.
And to my mind, this is actually far worse than scepticism.
I get that there are some people who just can’t work out the evidence. But what do we say about someone who has worked out the evidence and still refuses to act?
This is selling out the future of the people of Australia, to placate the right wing of the Liberal party.
The Prime Minister knows what he ought to do, but he doesn’t have the courage to do it.
So I challenge Mr Turnbull,  if you are not prepared to do what’s right.
At least tell the Australian people what the economic and environmental consequences of climate change are.
At least engage them in that ‘conversation’.
At least lead the debate about the economic threats climate change poses.
And I can promise him this – if he is prepared to do that, if he is prepared to be honest about climate change and its effects – he’ll get no political push-back from us.
Australia needs stronger targets and a better policy.
Only Labor will cut pollution through the best available pathway and in the most economically efficient way.
Ours is the only policy which caps pollution.
We have set a substantial renewable energy goal of 50 percent by 2030.
We will transform our energy markets, to cleaner, more efficient sources.
Only Labor will build an internationally linked Emissions Trading Scheme and a suite of energy efficiency and transition measures underpinned by a carbon reduction target.
We will put a cap on pollution and create new opportunities for Australian firms to trade and engage with other ETS jurisdictions – already 40 per cent of the world’s economy.
When China’s national scheme comes online, one in every three people in the world will live under an ETS.
Rejecting an ETS means isolation from the global marketplace.
As momentum accelerates for action on climate change, it is only a matter of time before a lack of climate policy is an obstacle to trade deals.
In fact, it is entirely possible that trade negotiations will mandate an effective price on carbon, or border tax adjustments.
And Labor will secure the goal of decarbonising the economy, while ensuring that the emissions-intensive, trade exposed sectors and agriculture remain globally competitive.
We will consider every good idea, including targeted assistance, for encouraging our advanced manufacturing sector:
  • to invest in productivity and skills
  • to pursue clean energy
  • to improve their processes and procurement
  • and to bring new products to new markets.
We will improve our sub-par national energy productivity – lifting standards in building and vehicle emissions and improving land use.
All these policies will be calibrated to meet Labor’s long-term targets.
The first, long-term objective Labor pledges itself to today, is for  Australia to achieve net zero pollution by 2050.
Stopping global warming means stopping new pollution.
If we are to meet the global target of two degrees, we must reach a point at which we are not adding pollution into the atmosphere.
This means by 2050, every tonne of pollution we produce will need to be balanced by sequestering, off-setting or purchasing.
This is an ambitious goal.
A goal recognised by the Australian Climate Roundtable, which includes groups as diverse as  the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Industry Group and the ACTU.
And internationally, by global business leaders like Ratan Tata and Unilever’s Paul Polman.
I am confident the Paris conference will mark a turning point toward the de-carbonisation of the global economy, with a new focus on net zero pollution.
Achieving net zero by 2050 will demand major technological transitions in a range of industries.
These changes and adaptations are achievable, indeed they are necessary.
Australia cannot rely on future growth fuelled by higher emissions – to do so would be economically reckless.
Only Labor will get on with diversifying and de-coupling our economy, separating emissions growth from economic growth.
Because in a decarbonising world, our high emissions intensity electricity, transport and export industries are clear business risks.
Changing technology, modernising fuels and embracing clean energy does not mean trading-away our prosperity.
In fact, it means the opposite.
ClimateWorks modelling based on net zero by 2050, forecasts our economy will still be 150 per cent larger than it is today.
With the right plan and the right approach, Australia can lower emissions and lift economic growth.
We can cut pollution and create jobs.
Achieving net zero requires us to embrace the whole range of available technologies and methods.
Everything from switching transport, industry and buildings to biofuels, gas and carbon-free electricity to reducing agriculture emissions through better land management, farming practices and increased carbon forestry.
We cannot foresee every technological advance we will utilise between now and 2050.
But any prediction we make about the progress of technology will, in all likelihood, be an under-estimate.
In 1976 the cost of a solar cell was $79.40 a watt.
Today it’s less than 70 cents.
In the past five years solar photovoltaic prices have fallen by 75 per cent.
The cost of battery storage has been halving every 18 months.
This is a story we will see play out across our economy.
Rapid evolution, but not revolution.
Transition, not upheaval.
Australia’s primary industries, including mining and agriculture will remain strong and important parts of our economy.
Our energy sector will shift toward low-pollution sources, but that process will be handled sensibly, steadily and fairly.
As I have made clear, the Abbott-Turnbull 2030 target puts Australia at the back of the international pack.
It falls well short of Australia’s obligation to help keep warming below 2 degrees on pre-industrial levels.
Labor is far from alone in this view.
  • Scientists say it is inadequate
  • Economists say it increases the cost by delaying the inevitable.
  • Diplomats say it fails our international obligations.
  • Businesses and investors say it creates uncertainty.
  • Analysts have concluded it would still leave Australia as the highest per capita polluter in the developed world.
  • And I think if Malcolm Turnbull was still a backbencher, he would say the targets weren’t good enough.
Australians expect better of us, and Australia should aim for better.
When I became Labor Leader, I also took on the Shadow Ministry for Science, and our climate policy will be guided by the best science.
This is why Labor established the Climate Change Authority, to provide independent advice to the Parliament on important, intergenerational decisions.
The Climate Change Authority recommended a baseline emissions reduction of 45 per cent by 2030, on 2005 levels.
Today I announce Labor will use the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a 45 per cent reduction as the basis for our consultations with industry, employers, unions and the community.
We will undertake this process mindful of the consequences for jobs, for regions and for any impacts on households.
Our target will work in concert with our 2050 objective, and our strategies for managing transitions within particular sectors.
This process begins today.
Our Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Mark Butler will lead it, reporting to me and the Shadow Cabinet by the end of March next year.
A 45 per cent baseline reduction would be an ambitious target for Australia, particularly on a per capita basis.
But of course the very first line of the government’s own modelling, undertaken this year by Warwick McKibbin says:
 “the Australian economy is expected to grow strongly to 2030 regardless of whether Australia adopts a post 2020 target.”
The same modelling found that the economic impact of a 45 per cent target would be minimal.
And that Australia’s economy would still grow in real terms  by 23 per cent over the decade, with this target in place.
And of course, this modelling took no account of the economic costs and consequences of not adopting this sort of target.
CSIRO modelling suggests this economic growth estimate is in fact extremely conservative and that jobs and investment will be far stronger.
In setting our long-term goals, we also need milestones and measurements along the way.
This is why Labor will support a pledge and review process, every five years.
Helping Australia to track our commitments and to respond to international action.
As business, the Climate Change Authority and others have stated,  a combination of five year targets and long-term goals balances the need for flexibility and accountability, while also giving business the long-term signals they need to plan and invest.
Within the first year of a Labor Government, guided by our 2030 and 2050 goals, we will announce an emissions reduction target for 2025.
A target shaped by the best available independent advice from policy experts, scientists and economists.
This will explicitly consider how Australia does its fair share toward the international, bipartisan goal of avoiding 2 degree warming.
Above all, delivering enduring economic and environmental reform depends on an informed discussion with the Australian people.
Because the decision to take action on climate change must be owned by empowered Australians.
This is why Labor will take a thorough and principled approach to managing the economic transition climate change demands.
In a modern, global economy, government cannot row every oar.
But governments do have a responsibility to steer.
To invest in research and science to drive new opportunities.
To offer the right incentives and send the right signals.
To provide certainty for business and investment.
Climate change is upon us.
We cannot wish this moment away, we cannot shrug our shoulders in the face of the responsibilities before us.
There is no security to be gained by stalling for time.
There is no benefit we obtain by deferring our decision for another day.
The consequences of inaction, the dangers of delay are far greater than the risk of failure.
This is the truth.
At the fundamental level this not about our global responsibility, though there is a global duty we owe.
This is not about leadership in the Pacific, though there is a leadership role we hold.
It is a test of our national interest.
Australia engaging with the jobs, trade and opportunity that action on climate change offers.
It’s about being an active player from the beginning, a home for new investment and a headquarters for new industries.
The world will not wait for us, it never has.
We have to step forward and seize this opportunity.
This is the ambition I have for Australia and it is the vision Labor will deliver after the next election.

Coalition's weird climate rhetoric says one thing, its modelling says another

Extract from The Guardian

Post-Abbott, the Coalition is still claiming its own policies can cut emissions with almost no cost while wildly exaggerating the cost of alternatives
wind turbines
Labor has flagged a much tougher greenhouse target than that promised by the Coalition – a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Remember how Malcolm Turnbull promised to respect the intelligence of the Australian people if he became prime minister?
Some of his ministers seem to have missed that memo, because they are now recycling the same discredited Abbott-era claims about the cost of more ambitious climate change action, while ignoring their own up-to-date economic modelling that says deeper emission cuts would come at far lower additional costs.
After Bill Shorten announced that Labor was likely to adopt a much tougher greenhouse target than that promised by the Coalition – a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels – treasurer Scott Morrison immediately dusted off the Coalition’s claim that the independent climate change authority had found such a cut would “cost” the economy $600bn. Education minister Christopher Pyne said it was a “mad” policy that would “smash” the economy.
Environment minister Greg Hunt tweeted his old “$600bn carbon Bill” press release.
But the former head of the Climate Change Authority (CCA), Bernie Fraser, has described that $600bn claim as “weird” and “misleading”. And wrong.
And the government has its own, much more recent, modelling from leading economist Warwick McKibbin, which found that the difference in economic growth between the government’s target and Labor’s target would be far, far lower.
The government first started using the $600bn figure when the former prime minister Tony Abbott unveiled the new goal of reducing emissions by between 26% and 28% on 2005 levels by 2030.
One day before that announcement, the Daily Telegraph revisited modelling done in 2013 for the CCA of a 40% to 60% emissions reduction target, in a front-page story headlined “ALP’s $600bn carbon bill”. The paper argued the cost was attributable to Labor because the party has said it would base its long-term targets on up-to-date advice from the CCA. Labor had at that time not announced its preferred 2030 target.
The CCA tried to correct the record straight away. Fraser, the authority’s chairman and a former Reserve Bank governor, immediately issued a statement saying the claim that CCA modelling showed a 40% to 60% target would cost $600bn was “wrong”.
In an interview with Guardian Australia at the time, he explained why.
“Some people who don’t understand modelling draw inferences that really can’t be drawn,” he said. “This is a good illustration of the difficulties modelling can create when misinterpreted to derive misleading meanings.”
“This $600bn figure is not drawn from any logical process and it becomes weirder and weirder the more that you look at it.
“It compares a scenario where Australia has a 44% target by 2030 and the rest of the world is taking very strong action, with a scenario where Australia has no target and does nothing and the rest of the world does very little, almost nothing at all. It is the inferred cost difference between those two scenarios.
“If you wanted a figure with some logical credibility or relevance you would model the cost of the government’s 26% target and a 40% target for 2030 and look at the difference between those two.”
And in fact the recent McKibbin modelling for the government does exactly that.
It showed the government’s 26% target would shave between 0.2% and 0.4% from continued growth in Australian GDP in 2030, and based on similar assumptions, a 45% target would cut between 0.5% and 0.7% from continued economic growth. That means the difference in the economic cost of the Coalition’s 26% cut and Labor’s 45% cut is about 0.3% of GDP in 2030. The Coalition’s $600bn figure, comparing 45% with doing nothing and then adding up the cumulative costs, finds an extra GDP cost in 2030 of more than 2%.
In a way the “weird and misleading” modelling is a perfect microcosm of the weirdness of the Coalition’s climate rhetoric – pretending its own policies can do the job with almost no cost while wildly exaggerating the cost of alternatives.
Let’s go back to what Malcolm Turnbull said on that day of drama when he launched his leadership bid.
“We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities, explains the challenges and how to seize the opportunities,” he said.
“A style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it. We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.”
Quite. So why is his party ignoring its own up-to-date modelling with relevant assumptions and continuing with exaggerated cost claims?
At this rate we’ll soon be back to the $100 lamb roast. 

Welcome to the wonderful world of climate talks, where less means more

Extract from The Guardian

The numbers look clear. In 1990, Australia emitted 564m tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 2005 that rose to 611m. By 2014-15 that had fallen a bit to 565m. But in 2029-30, the latest published projections say we will emit 724m tonnes.

They have gone up and down and they might not be rising by as much as if we’d never heard the words “climate change”, but in absolute terms our greenhouse emissions are trending up, not down.
And yet over those same decades we will have solemnly given three different national pledges to reduce our emissions and, as the environment minister, Greg Hunt, keeps enthusiastically reminding us, in every case we will “meet and beat” our pledges.
How can it be possible for national emissions to rise over 30 years while a country “meets and beats” successive promises to reduce them? The answer takes us first deep into the complicated and chaotic world of international climate negotiations and then to the dizzying heights of political spin.
We start in 1997 in the Japanese city of Kyoto, where John Howard’s environment minister Robert Hill held out late into the night for a special deal recognising Australia’s reliance on fossil fuel industries.
And in the end he got it. Whereas Europe promised to reduce emissions by 8% by 2012, compared with the base year of 1990, and the US agreed to cut by 7%, Australia was one of three countries allowed to increase emissions – by 8%.
But then, long past the point where most delegates were supposed to have left and many had not slept in days or were passed out on sofas or behind pot plants, Australia insisted on yet another special deal – so particular to our circumstances it was called “the Australia Clause”. It allowed the inclusion of land-use changes in emission calculations in a way that meant restrictions that had already been imposed on large-scale land clearing – especially in Queensland – allowed Australia to rest assured it had achieved its new target before it even signed up to it.
I reported on that meeting for the Australian Financial Review – the dusty boxes of files dredged from the backrooms of the parliamentary library remind of the brinkmanship Australia engaged in, still demanding the Australia Clause changes when the translators had already left the building and the cleaners had started rearranging the room for the next scheduled conference.
When it was done, the European environment spokesman raged that the deal was “wrong and immoral ... and a disgrace” and the then executive director of the Australia Institute, Clive Hamilton, quickly calculated that Australia’s emissions were likely to come in under the new target, without the need to do anything.
Hill got an ovation when he returned to cabinet and John Howard declared the deal to be “splendid”. News Ltd columnist Piers Akerman said those accolades weren’t enough, Hill should “have been greeted by massed brass bands and a 21-gun salute” because he had “saved Australia’s economy from the destructive forces of environmental activism”.
Nevertheless, the Howard government still refused to ratify the treaty, following the lead of George Bush, who by this time had replaced Bill Clinton. Ratification had to wait for the Rudd government to be elected 10 years later. It then delivered precisely the windfall that had been predicted before the ink was dry in Kyoto.
Fast forward to 2009 in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Malcolm Turnbull had just been dumped as Liberal leader because he was determined not to lead a party as committed to climate change as he was, and domestic politics was descending into the six intellectually-arid years of “climate wars”. Nevertheless, Australia’s major parties maintained a bipartisan agreement for a next-stage target – that they should promise to cut emissions by between 5% and 25% (compared with 2000 levels) by 2020.
In the domestic political melee, the target “range” we had promised internationally shrank back down to just the absolute minimum 5% cut, which was originally the amount we were prepared to do even if other countries did nothing at all. Everyone just stopped talking about the higher targets.
By this time, I was reporting on the summit for the Australian, watching Kevin Rudd as he sat through all-night talks with world leaders, only to see the chances of a deal scuttled by China’s stone-walling. (He used the memorable phrase “rat-fucking” to describe that attitude, subsequently reported despite the briefing being off the record.) The meeting ended in chaos after even longer periods of sleeplessness than Kyoto, with then climate change minister Penny Wong looking close to collapse at a 4am press conference. But it did inscribe the various national promises into an accord, which in subsequent meetings was bolted into the UN processes.
And Australia was again able to meet the new minimum 2020 target while doing very little by way of emission-reducing policies. First, because we overshot the first +8% “21-gun salute” target, we got to “carry over” the excess to the second “commitment period”, ending in 2020. Hill’s deal in Kyoto greased the path for Rudd’s in Copenhagen.
Second, lower electricity demand thanks to manufacturing industry closures, the enthusiastic uptake of solar by Australian households, the drought and lower coal exports than expected, mean emissions have fallen without any economy-wide carbon policy.
In 2008, when Rudd was devising the emissions trading scheme, Australia thought it would have to find a way to reduce cumulative greenhouse emissions by 1,335m tonnes by 2020 to get to minus-5%. That forecast has been steadily revised down and this week Hunt announced it was now nothing at all.
This is mainly due to things outside government control. But other factors include: the impact of the renewable energy target and the government’s Direct Action policy; 22m tonnes of free abatement we received in the form of international permits from landfill operators, who ended up with a windfall gain after the abolition of the emissions trading scheme; and 128m tonnes of “carryover” we are counting. Under the accounting rules that means we are indeed already on track to meet our minus-5% target, even though private sector forecasts (the official ones have not been released yet) say actual emissions will rise by 4%.
Hunt described the idea that we should consider actual emissions as “one of the oddest and strangest and I’ve got to say ... desperate arguments” he had heard, and pointed out that the accounting rules had been accepted internationally and by successive Australian governments. Which is true. But when most people hear that Australia is meeting an emissions reduction target, they probably get the impression that our actual emissions are, you know, being reduced.
Now fast forward to the Paris meeting next week, attended by Turnbull on Monday, when all 130 leaders in attendance will give a short statement in two simultaneous speed-speaking sessions. (Turnbull is sandwiched between the leaders of Equatorial Guinea and Norway). Hunt will also be there for the first week and the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, for the second.
Australia is promising to reduce emissions by between 26% and 28% by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The “based on 2005 levels” bit is important, because that calculates our percentage reduction from the highest base year. It’s a lacklustre but not ridiculously low goal when compared with other developed economies.
The aim of Paris is to build a system to review and rachet up these volunteered national commitments, and Australia is playing a constructive role in those negotiations.

Australia is not the only country to have tried to use international rules to its domestic advantage. But Australia’s history of special deals now raises some big domestic policy questions.
First, since the 5% target for 2020 is clearly a doddle, and since the rest of the world is clearly acting, why don’t we take on a higher 2020 target, as we promised?
Second, the factors that have been pushing our emissions down are unwinding. Land clearing is increasing, we are generating more electricity from the dirtiest brown coal since the carbon price repeal and big LNG projects are coming on stream that will also push up our greenhouse gases. Neither major party has yet detailed policies that could turn that around.
And third, the accounting rules may not come to our rescue another time. It is not clear whether we will be able to “carry over” again, although Hunt has indicated we would like to. But the task is now also bigger than any “carry over” could massage.
After decades of fighting and fudging, Australia will have to really do something about its greenhouse emissions this time.

Victorians take to the streets to demand urgent action on climate change

Extract from The Guardian

Thousands of people march through Melbourne’s city centre in one of many climate change protests that will take place across the world this weekend
Protesters gather in front of Melbourne’s state library as part of the climate change march on Friday. Photograph: Melissa Davey for the Guardian

Friday 27 November 2015 19.17 AEDT

Thousands of people were marching through Melbourne’s CBD on Friday evening in what is expected to the largest in a series of climate change protests being held throughout Australia over the weekend.
They gathered in front of the state library and, as the lawns filled with protesters putting finishing touches on their placards, they took to the surrounding roads just in time for peak hour.
Environmentalists, unionists, religious organisations, youth groups, doctors, Indigenous organisations, and people from the aid and development sector were part of the crowd. Police estimates put the crowd numbers by the end of the night at about 40,000, but organisers said 60,000 turned out for the event.
Marching bands and Indigenous dancers weaved among them, undeterred by the blustery weather.
Protesters at the start of the climate rally. Photograph: Melissa Davey for the Guardian

Climate change marches will also take place throughout the world over the weekend, to call for a transition to 100% clean energy and an end to burning fossil fuels, as Paris prepares to host the United Nations climate summit next month.
The climate change campaign manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation, Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, was among the Melbourne protesters and told Guardian Australia the series of marches would prove a crucial moment in the climate movement.
“By coming together in this way, we are showing that we have strong expectations for action, and that we expect more from our leaders, who we believe need to get on to the job of creating a cleaner, better future,” she said.
“The prime minister [Malcolm Turnbull] seems to have recognised opportunities with new clean technologies, but there has been no improvement in government policy. This government has supported one of the largest coal mines in Australia, Adani, to go ahead, and is taking our old and completely inadequate pollution reduction targets to the Paris negotiations.
“We need to see much stronger targets from the government in line with limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees.”
Amelia Telford, the national director of the SEED Indigenous Youth Climate Network, said the fossil fuel industry was devastating Indigenous Australian culture.
“The loss of Aboriginal land, cultures and livelihoods is at the core of the climate crisis, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people forced off our land due to extractive industries that fuel climate change, and increasingly by the devastating impacts of sea level rise, drought and reduced access to clean water,” she said.
It was something Sixta Mambor, from West Papua, had seen Indigenous people in her country suffer from. She joined the Victorian protesters to highlight their plight.
“Papua has among the highest amount of mining in the world,” she said.
The Melbourne rally is the first big one in a weekend of global marches. Photograph: Melissa Davey for the Guardian

“The waste from the mining is going into the rivers and contaminating the water that people use for cooking and daily living, the water that children swim in. Rio Tinto is taking everything, and are giving nothing back to the Indigenous people to compensate.”
On Saturday, marches will be held in the Domain in Queen’s Park in Brisbane from 9.30am, and Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin from 4.30pm On Sunday, people will rally at the Domain in Sydney from 12.30pm, Ester Lipman Gardens in Adelaide from 11am, Wellington Square in Perth from 1pm, Parliament Lawns in Hobart from 1pm and Parliament Lawns in Canberra from noon.
Marches are also being held in dozens of regional and rural areas.
A similar march was held last September during a global campaign where hundreds of thousands of people across 150 countries took part in protests on one weekend.
The president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Professor Nick Talley, urged doctors to join the marches.
The college co-ordinates the group Doctors for Climate Action, a campaign led by physicians that highlights the impact of climate change on health. Many from the group could be seen at the Melbourne rally.
“Physicians want the community and our leaders to recognise that the risks to personal health from climate change are significant, particularly among the vulnerable, including children, the elderly and those suffering with chronic illnesses,” Talley said.

“We are joining with the community at people’s climate marches to call for leaders to commit to real action to combat the health impacts of climate change.”