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Marches send message against global warming Share on Facebook
Thousands of protesters took part in Walk Against Warming in Sydney on Saturday, demanding the Federal Government set strict emission targets when it designs its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

by Fairfax - Monday, 17 November 2008

The scheme is due for release by the end of the year and will set emission targets for the nation's main polluting industries.

About 15,000 protesters took part in the march that was organised by the Nature Conservation Council.

The council's executive director, Cate Faehrmann, said the numbers showed "the community was still very concerned about climate change and they feel the Government needs to do more".

Despite grey skies, a colourful crowd showed up. Some of the protesters were dressed as polar bears; some people wore windmills on their backs.

Others carried placards of penguins with messages that read: "Don't build your home on my home" and "Some like it hot, penguins not."

In Brisbane climate warriors including members of the Greens, Queensland Conservation and the World Wildlife Fund formed a "human map" of Queensland before taking off on Brisbane's Walk against Warming to raise awareness about climate change.

"A good outcome for us would be for the Rudd Government to take a strong role in the lead-up to the UN climate negotiations in Poland," Queensland Conservation spokesman Toby Hutcheon said.

"Mr Rudd was elected for his strong stance on climate change and we'd like to send him a message today to not soften his position."

Greens MP Ronan Lee used the event to brand the State Government as out of touch.

"The State Government didn't send anyone to the biggest climate change awareness event of the year," he said.

Brisbane resident Durrand Ryall said he had marched for his children.

"We came out to make a better future for the kids."

Rally organiser Cassie McMahon said Queenslanders were particularly concerned with the impact of global warming on the Great Barrier Reef and neighbouring Pacific Islands.

"We're asking the Federal Government to set targets that will mean Pacific Islanders will not be inundated due to rising sea levels and that they will be able to have a better chance of adapting to climate change," Ms McMahon said.

The Brisbane rally featured the slogan "Save our Neighbours, Save our Reef".


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From Reuters

Tens of thousands of Australians took part in mass protests around the country on Saturday to call for tough government action on climate change, organisers said.

The demonstrations were held as Australia prepares to set national greenhouse gas emissions targets, expected around the end of this month. Environmentalists accuse industry of pushing for targets that are likely to compromise the environment.

Australia is the world's 16th biggest carbon polluter, producing about 1.5 percent of the world's global emissions. It is the fourth largest emitter per person, with five times the pollution per person of China.

The centre-left government will outline its preferred emissions following public consultations involving global miners such as BHP Billiton and power companies like AGL Energy.

An interim framework in July led to business group accusations that steel, cement and papermaking firms would be forced out of business or to shift operations overseas to Asian bases where emissions costs were lower or non-existent.

To ease concerns, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Treasurer Wayne Swan last month released Treasury modelling that found carbon trading would cut average per capita growth by 0.1 percent a year from introduction in 2010 to 2050, with only a small one-off inflation impact.

The government has also promised proceeds from the auction of emissions permits will be used to compensate poor families and motorists for rises in the cost of fuel and electricity, which is mostly powered by burning coal.

On Saturday, protesters took to the streets of Sydney, Melbourne and other cities, chanting calls for renewable energy and carrying banners with slogans such as "Renew our economy with strong targets" and "Turtles against climate change".

Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales state, said the march came amid a background of pressure from the fossil fuels industry for the government to adopt relatively soft emissions targets.

"When it comes to climate change you just cannot have half measures when it comes to targets," Faehrmann said, adding scientists have urged targets that will limit global average temperature rises to two degrees Celsius.

"There is not enough investment in renewable energy in this country. Job creation can occur there."

Australia was one of the longest holdouts against the Kyoto protocol, which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd finally committed the country to joining following his landslide election win last year, leaving the United States as the only major country not to have joined it.
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