The Queensland government has recently removed long-standing public rights to object to mines.
In shades of the Bjelke-Petersen era, Queensland mines minister Andrew Cripps made fundamental changes one minute before the bill was passed by the Parliament at 11:57pm, just shy of midnight.
The changes broke promises that Cripps had made repeatedly from the outset of public consultation on the bill and during debate in Parliament that public rights to object to large mines would be retained.
The changes sparked blistering criticism. Queensland Country Life described them a “sell out” while broadcaster Alan Jones called the changes “corrupt” and “unbelievable” amidst other colourful language.What objection rights have been lost?
Large mines and other developments in Queensland can be declared a “coordinated project” by a powerful public servant, the Coordinator-General, whose role is to facilitate the economic development of the State.
For many decades in Queensland any person could object against the grant of a mining lease and have their objection heard by an independent court, which then provided a recommendation to the government on the application. The grounds permitted for an objection were very wide and included impacts on the environment and the public interest.
Prior to the changes, any person could also object to an environmental authority and have their objection heard by the Land Court. Again, the grounds permitted for an objection were very wide and included things like the harm a mine would cause to groundwater and biodiversity as well as noise and dust impacts.
In the past, objection rights were only constrained by not allowing challenges to the conditions recommended by the Coordinator-General. However, neighbouring landholders and others could argue the mine should be refused due to its impacts on groundwater or other matters.
In practice, few objections proceeded to a full hearing in the Land Court and those that did each year could normally be counted on two hands. For most landholders and other members of the community, the objection process is intimidating and too costly. Objections by landholders and others are invariably a David vs Goliath affair with massive mining companies out-resourcing locals.
However, in one recent case involving the massive Alpha Coal Mine proposed by Gina Rinehart’s company and GVK, local graziers and other objectors succeeded in having the Land Court make a primary recommendation that the mine be rejected due to uncertainty about groundwater impacts. This was in spite of the Coordinator-General’s recommendation to approve the mine and federal government approval of it.Broken promises
In early 2014 the Queensland government proposed to confine the objections and notifications process for a mining lease to people owning land within the proposed lease. However, the government said it proposed to continue to allow objections to an environmental authority for large, high risk mines to be made by neighbours and others.
In June the government introduced these proposed changes to Parliament in the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014.
The Bill was debated and passed by Parliament on Tuesday September 9.
At 11:56pm, one minute before the Bill was passed, the Mines Minister moved a series of amendments. These included inserting a new section 47D into the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 controlled by the Coordinator-General.
The last-minute changes mean that the Coordinator-General can prevent any objections to the environmental authority for a coordinated project from being heard by the Land Court. When combined with the severe restrictions on objections to mining leases, very few people can now challenge matters such as impacts on groundwater of large mines that are declared a coordinated project.
A case like the recently successful objection by neighbouring graziers and others to the groundwater impacts of the massive Alpha Coal Mine can not be brought under the new system. None of the objectors in that case owned land on the mining lease or shared a boundary with it. Their main concerns were about regional impacts on groundwater.
The Minister did not explain the significance of the changes or state that the changes would reverse earlier assurances to the Parliament. In fact, he repeatedly assured the Parliament that neighbours and the general public would still be able to object to large mines.
The government’s assurances that the Coordinator-General can be trusted to make a proper assessment of any environmental impacts are difficult to swallow in the light of obvious lack of independence, bias for economic development, and the poor track record in this regard.
A well-known example of where the Coordinator-General botched the assessment of a large project is the Traveston Crossing Dam. The Coordinator-General recommended approval of the dam in 2009 but that recommendation was rejected by the Federal Environment Minister who refused to approve the dam due to likely unacceptable impacts on nationally threatened species.
In 2013 ABC Four Corners aired an interview with a whistleblower, Simone Marsh, who was employed in early 2010 in the Coordinator-General’s office conducting the environmental impact assessment for large coal seam gas projects. She was stunned when she was told that there was not going to be an assessment of groundwater impacts in the Coordinator-General’s report recommending approval of one of the largest projects. This was apparently done to meet tight timeframes imposed by the proponents.
As mentioned earlier, in 2014 the Land Court made a primary recommendation that the massive Alpha Coal Mine be rejected due to uncertainty about groundwater impacts. This was in spite of the Coordinator-General’s recommendation to approve the mine.Links to federal one-stop shop
The Coordinator-General is fast becoming an almost supremely powerful czar for large projects in Queensland, subject only to the political whims of the state government.
Rob McCreath, who owns a farm on Queensland’s eastern Darling Downs, summarised the effect of these changes well:
It feels as if there’s been a takeover of the Government by the mining industry. It’s a bit like a coup - it’s not a military coup, it’s a minerals coup.
More widely, the changes reflect Tony Fitzgerald’s recent comment that power in Queensland has been transferred to “a small, cynical, political class”.
Chris McGrath acted pro bono as a barrister for an objector in the Alpha Coal Mine case discussed in this article. He is currently acting in several mining objections and related proceedings for community groups. He is also acting as a barrister for the Queensland Government in an unrelated proceeding.
As heads of state gather in New York for tomorrow’s United Nations climate summit, a new report on the state of the world’s carbon budget tells them that greenhouse emissions hit a new record last year, and are still growing.
It shows that global emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production reached a new record of 36 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2013, and are predicted to grow by a further 2.5% in 2014, bringing the total CO2 emissions from all sources to more than 40 billion tonnes. This is about 65% more fossil-fuel emission than in 1990, when international negotiations to reduce emissions to address climate change began.
Meanwhile, deforestation now accounts for just 8% of total emissions, a fraction that has been declining for several decades.
The growth of global emissions since 2009 has been slower than in the prior period of 2000-08. However, projections based on forecast growth in global gross domestic product (GDP) and continuance of improving trends in carbon intensity (emissions per unit of GDP) suggest a continuation of rapid emissions growth over the coming five years.
Global emissions continue to track the most carbon-intensive range among more than a thousand scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If continued, this situation would lead to global average temperatures between 3.2C and 5.4C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
There have been other striking changes in emissions profiles since climate negotiations began. In 1990, about two-thirds of CO2 emissions came from developed countries including the United States, Japan, Russia and the European Union (EU) nations. Today, only one-third of world emissions are from these countries; the rest come from the emerging economies and less-developed countries that account for 80% of the global population, suggesting a large potential further emissions growth.
Continuation of current trends over the next five years alone will lead to a new world order on greenhouse gas emissions, with China emitting as much as the United States, Europe and India together.Country emission profiles
There are several ways to explore countries' respective contributions to climate change. These include current emissions, per capita emissions, and cumulative emissions since the industrial revolution.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and cement production for five regions. Cumulative emissions, production emissions (emissions generated in the region where goods and services are produced), consumption emissions (emissions generated in the region where goods and services are consumed), population, and GDP. 2012 is the most recent year for which all data are available. CDIAC, Global Carbon Project 2014
The largest emitters in 2013 were China, the United States, the 28 EU countries (considered as a single bloc), and India. Together, they account for 58% of global emissions and 80% of the emissions growth in 2013 (with the majority the growth coming from China, whereas the EU cut its emissions overall).
Here’s how the major emitters fared in 2013.
Emissions grew at 4.2%, the lowest level since the 2008 global financial crisis, because of weaker economic growth and improvements in the carbon intensity of the economy. Per capita emissions in China (7.2 tonnes of CO2 per person) overtook those in Europe (6.8 tonnes per person).
A large part of China’s high per capita emissions is due to industries that provide services and products to the developed world, not for China’s domestic use. China’s cumulative emissions are still only 11% of the total since pre-industrial times.
Emissions increased by 2.9% because of a rebound in coal consumption, reversing a declining trend in emissions since 2008. Emissions are projected to remain steady until 2019 in the absence of more stringent climate policies, with improvements in the energy and carbon intensity of the economy being offset by growth in GDP and population. The United States remains the biggest contributor of cumulative emissions with 26% of the total.
Emissions fell by 1.8% on the back of a weak economy, although reductions in some countries were offset by a return to coal led by Poland, Germany and Finland. However, the long-term decrease in EU emissions does not factor in the emissions linked to imported goods and services. When accounting for these “consumption” emissions, EU emissions have merely stabilised, rather than decreased.
Emissions grew by 5.1%, driven by robust economic growth and an increase in the carbon intensity of the economy. Per capita emissions were still well below the global average, at 1.9 tonnes of CO2 per person, although India’s total emissions are projected to overtake those in the EU by 2019 (albeit for a population nearly three times as large). Cumulative emissions account for only 3% of the total.
Emissions from fossil fuels declined in 2013, largely driven by a 5% decline of emissions in the electricity sector over the previous year (as shown by the Australian National Greenhouse Gas Accounts). Fossil fuel emissions per person remain high at 14.6 tonnes of CO2.
Despite this apparently imminent event, economic models can still come up with scenarios in which global warming is kept within 2C by 2100, while both population and per capita wealth continue to grow. Are these models playing tricks on us?
Most models invoke two things that will be crucial to stabilising the climate at safer levels. The first is immediate global action to develop carbon markets, with prices rapidly growing to over US$100 per tonne of CO2.
The second is the deployment of “negative emissions” technologies during the second half of this century, which will be needed to mop up the overshoot of emissions between now and mid-century. This will involve removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in safe places such as saline aquifers.
These technologies are largely unavailable at present. The most likely candidate is the production of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, a combination of existing technologies with high costs and with environmental and socio-economic implications that are untested at the required scales.
There are no easy pathways to climate stabilization, and certainly no magic bullets. It is still open to us to choose whether we halt our CO2 emissions completely this century – as required for a safe, stable climate – or try instead to adapt to significantly greater impacts of climate change.
What we have no choice about is the fact that the longer emissions continue to grow at rates of 2% per year or more, the harder it will be to tame our climate.
Pep Canadell received support from the Australian Climate Change Science Program.
Michael Raupach has previously received funding from the Australian Climate Change Science Program, but does not do so now.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Mel Evans
Thousands flocked to New York on Sunday to join the People’s Climate March, billed as the largest climate march in history. The rally wove its way through midtown Manhattan as a call to action for leaders to curb carbon emissions and to protest stalled action on a climate treaty. Two days after the march, world leaders will meet at the United Nations in a summit to come up with a global framework for how to combat the climate crisis.
— 350 dot org (@350) September 21, 2014
— People's Climate (@Peoples_Climate) September 21, 2014
— Nick Pinto (@macfathom) September 21, 2014
— BetterFutureProject (@BetterFuturePro) September 21, 2014
Solidarity events were also planned in 166 countries:
— Kees van der Leun (@Sustainable2050) September 21, 2014
— Greenpeace Suomi (@GreenpeaceSuomi) September 21, 2014
— Hannah McKinnon (@mckinnon_hannah) September 21, 2014
The post PHOTOS: Thousands March In Biggest Climate Change Rally Ever appeared first on ThinkProgress.
- Tens of thousands of people across 150 countries are taking to the streets to march for action on climate change
- Dubbed the Peoples Climate March, it has been flagged as the biggest global call-to-action on climate change in history
- People are demanding world leaders take action on climate change as they prepare for a United Nations summit in New York on Monday
- Are you taking part? Share your photos and videos via GuardianWitness
Some more pics from Bibi van der Zee in central London, whos been talking to marchers.
Mother and daughter Maureen and Adaesi have come to the march together. My children are around somewhere too, says Adaesi. Weve come because something has to be done, says Maureen firmly. The government has to take action, and we have to take responsibility too - to buy less and live down a little.
Damian Carrington writes:
Victoria Bamford, a 66-year old gardener from Wales, who left her home at 6am to join the London march. We are on a knife edge now in every way. She has noticed changes in the climate in her work. You cannot rely on the seasons any more, and plants are getting stressed and ill. Im no bloody expert, but we have to tackle the fossil fuel business. But I dont think the government is doing anything.
Karl Mathiesen in Paris says the march is around 1.5km. Police are putting the number of marchers at around 3,000 though organisers believe it may be higher.
Paris police estimate 3000 people marching in Paris. Organisers say it could be more. pic.twitter.com/QqhxVshrjT
Brussels has been busy too, albeit if not on the same scale as London. Our European environment correspondent, Arthur Neslen, has been down to a march there:
About 2,000 people braved heavy rain in downtown Brussels to fire off a message for urgent climate action to world leaders at the New York summit. The protest was smaller than expected after police instructed organisers to postpone it for 24 hours because of traffic concerns. That synched it with Brussels annual car-free day but also, the dramatic end to a Belgian indian summer. Even so, a mostly young and energetic crowd danced in the downpour behind a samba fanfare all the way from the Palais de Justice to the Belgian finance ministry.
Heres the audio of the Bishop of Londons speech, courtesy of James Randerson:
We are living on an Earth in an interconnected world, we live on an ark... the people in the first class cabins will not long remain impervious to the impact on poorer people in steerage, its just one world in which we inhabit
Karl Mathiesen in Paris writes:
Maryk Reesink and her daughter are Parisians who are anxious to see a global agreement struck in their city next year. Reesink says action on climate change is very important but she is pessimistic. The politics in France is not occupied with this question. Thats why Im here. I hope it can change things. I find it a nice idea to make many manifestations around the world. That it is something global that is moving.
Speeches have begun in London, starting with the Bishop of London.
In Berlin, three marches are converging on the Brandenburg Gate. Here are a couple of marchers:
One of our Australian bloggers, Alexander White, has written a post on the todays marches and the tipping point that he believes climate campaigners are approaching:
This global event is an amazing confluence of international civic action, a full twenty-four hours of people power calling for the de-carbonisation of our world. The fact that it can happen at all is a reason to be a climate optimist.
The front of the London march has reached Parliament Square - but other marchers say they are still stuck all the way back at Temple...
There are still two and a half hours until the New York march, but preparations are well underway:
London is far from the only capital with impressive crowds. Karl Mathiesen, our man in Paris, says there are thousands of people out on the streets there.
Drummers shaking the streets in Paris. It's bloody loud! pic.twitter.com/kbJifp2bon
Wow, Thompson is having a busy day, and fast becoming the de facto spokeswoman for the London march. Unless were carbon-free by 2030 the world is buggered, she tells the Guardians James Randerson. Listen to the full interview here:
Sky News has just been interviewing Emma Thompson as she walks the final few minutes to parliament.
Whilst Ive been aware of climate change for many years, seeing the effects of climate change written so clearly on that exquisite landscape [on my trip to the Arctic] put a rocket up my arse. Ive been being lazy. Ive been working in poverty reduction but this issue affects everything.
News outlets and fourth estate are very much controlled. Im not suggesting theres a conspiracy, but theres a great deal of control over what kind of news goes out in what way. Those of who want to know whats going on in the world have to explore quite carefully and forensically about whats going on.
I think what it is is we dont make the connections. Climate change is connected to all events, in particular war.
Its quite hard to get a handle on the size of the crowds in London. A Metropolitan police spokesman couldnt give me an estimate on numbers but said a proportionate policing plan is in place. Avaaz, one of the organisers, told me previously that they were expecting potentially north of 10,000.
The green NGOs and Green party are out in force in London today, as youd expect. There are also some well-known campaigners, such as gay rights activist Peter Tatchell:
At the London march, Bibi van der Zee sounds the alarm at Brands apparent no-show (see 09.28)
People streaming down nearby roads to join the demo. It is going to be an extremely good turn out. No sign of Russell Brand yet though. Some concern he may have overslept.
Karl Mathiesen has been talking to some of the participants at the Paris march. He writes:
We are here to push the negotiations to understand that you cannot speak about climate without speaking about the ocean, says Catherine Chabaud, the French sailor and journalist who twice circumnavigated the globe solo twice and is now an adviser to the French government on ocean health.
Chabaud will tell the crowd at todays Paris march that the oceans organisms are responsible for supplying half of the worlds oxygen and that the health of the sea is vital to combatting climate change.
The London march has set off from Temple towards parliament, with some of the celebrities at the front:
Were calling for leaders to step up on Tuesday in New York and start making serious pledges to emissions cuts,Alex Wilks, campaign director at Avaaz, one of the London marchs organisers, tells James Randerson.
Here the full interview here:
The marches are getting ready to set off towards parliament in London:
In London, speeches are scheduled to start around 2pm. First up is the Bishop of London, and there will also be addresses by the designer Vivienne Westwood and Alice Hooker-Stroud of the Centre for Alternative Technology (which was celebrating its 50th anniversary recently, and of which we have a very nice feature on here).
Some more colourful marchers and fun placards in London:
Spoke to 500 people in DC 2night and 400 are headed 4 the #PeoplesClimate march. Starting 2 think this is going 2 b huge!
In Manchester, Friends of the Earth is organising an anti-fracking march outside the Labour party conference. Apparently theyve created a huge puppet called Mr Frackhead - Ill look out for photos later.
The groups head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, says:
The UKs environmental credibility has been sinking for years. The government has been bending over backwards to develop fracking and extract more dirty gas and oil, instead of investing in the UKs huge renewable power potential and a cleaner future for us all.
James Randerson, the Guardians science and environment news editor, is down in London. Hes been talking to Oxfams campaign director, Ben Phillips, who says climate change is not just about nature, its about human beings.
You can listen to his interview in full here:
UCL claims to be one of the greenest universities in the world yet has millions in fossil fuels, say students, staging a demonstration in the UCL quad to demand divestment from fossil fuels by UCL and other institutions, reports Bibi van der Zee in London. This institution is supposed to be about the future of the world but is profiting from its destruction, they say.
A large banner reads UCL put your money where your mouth is - divest from fossil fuels.
In Paris, organisers are hoping for thousands of people to turn out, despite poor weather (which also affected Perth, Australia).
The Guardians Karl Mathiesen reports:
Avaaz campaigners in Paris expect several thousands at least at the march starting at 2pm local time at la Place de la République. The Facebook page for the Paris march has 5,500 people signed up to attend. 30,000 people turned up in Melbourne, said one Avaaz employee, so we hope it can be big here too. But organisers say it will depend on the weather which looks like it is clearing up after heavy showers this morning.
Crowds are building up in Manchester, where it looks like the march is benefiting from the decent weather forecast across most of the UK today:
On the subject of world leaders, heres the French president, François Hollande, pictured on Saturday receiving a petition from campaigners Avaaz, which has been signed by over 2m and calls for the urgent forging of realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050.
The BBC has more on Ban Ki-moons unusual step of joining the New York march later today (as our correspondent Fiona Harvey noted earlier in the week, high-ranking officials do not normally attend mass public protests).
Mary Robinson, former UN special envoy, told the BBC:
I think the Secretary General recognises that this is for everyone, and it is important that in every country civil society comes out and puts pressure on their leaders to make the changes necessary so that we will have a safe world.
He doesnt see the marchers as them and the insiders as being an us, rather he sees the two as part of building a momentum, it is civil society asking their leaders to be more ambitious.
The leaders of China, India, Australia, Russia and Canada wont be here. Observers believe the meeting can still achieve political momentum. After all, there will be more leaders in New York than in Copenhagen in 2009 when hopes of a last minute deal were dashed in confused and rancorous discussions.
Protesters have recreated an oil spill in front of a BP-sponsored exhibition at Londons British Museum, the Guardians Bibi van der Zee tells me. She writes:
Last month a US judget found BP guilt of gross negligence and bore clear responsibility for the Deepwater oil spill four years ago. The protesters, a group called BP or not BP, unrolled a long strip of black material and dressed up as dying pelicans, dolphins, turtles and out-of-work fishermen, in order, they said, to highlight the ongoing costs of the oil spill.
London students: there are plenty of demonstrations taking place outside universities right now, including at LSE and UCL, calling for divestment from fossil fuels. Timings and locations here.
Time for another photo roundup, from Genoa in Italy...
Around 250 people attended.
Sent via GuardianWitness
21 September 2014, 10:41
Climate action banner on the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, Australia.
Sent via GuardianWitness
21 September 2014, 2:01
The Adelaide march nears its destination.
Sent via GuardianWitness
20 September 2014, 15:10
Naomi Klein, the activist and author whose new book is about climate change and capitalism, writes in a comment article for the Guardian that the true leaders on climate change are not those at the UN summit on Tuesday but those in the streets today.
Is it a stunt? Well, sure, all protests are. But the mere act of expressing our collective sense of climate urgency goes beyond symbolism. What is most terrifying about the threat of climate disruption is not the unending procession of scientific reports about rapidly melting ice sheets, crop failures and rising seas. Its the combination of trying to absorb that information while watching our so-called leaders behave as if the global emergency is no immediate concern. As if every alarm in our collective house were not going off simultaneously.
Sundays climate march will serve many purposes for its many participants: meet up, boost morale, exert political pressure. But sounding the alarm together will help us bring our actions in line with our emotions. So many of us are scared of what is happening to the world around us; for one day, we will come together and show it. Yes, we will be showing that sense of existential urgency to our politicians. But we will be showing one another.
By sounding this peoples alarm, we will also be saying that we are no longer waiting for politicians to declare climate disruption an emergency and respond accordingly. We are going to declare the emergency ourselves, from below, just as social movements have always done.
Can you be arsed? Do you risk being disappointed again? Or do you sit this one out? I mean, climate change is a bit old-hat now, isnt it? And some people say it doesnt even exist people like ... Nigel Lawson.
As responsible citizens of the world sisters and brothers of one family, the human family, Gods family we have a duty to persuade our leaders to lead us in a new direction: to help us abandon our collective addiction to fossil fuels, starting this week in New York at the United Nations Climate Summit. Reducing our carbon footprint is not just a technical scientific necessity; it has also emerged as the human rights challenge of our time.
In the UK, the Manchester march gets going in just under an hour at Piccadilly Gardens in the town centre.
There are also marches in Edinburgh (1.30pm), Sheffield (from 1pm), in Stroud (12pm) and in Dudley (2pm). More details here.
Separate to the main London march, at 2.30pm activists from the group No Dash for Gas / Reclaim the Power will be outside Conservative central office at what they perceive as the partys problem with climate change denial.
In a statement, the groups Jo Martin said:
Climate change is slipping down the agenda at an alarming rate. Today thousands of people are marching across the world and they demand that their voices are heard. By denying climate change, these MPs are denying our children their right to a safe and sustainable future. We need to see decisive action taken on climate from our representatives, rather than repeated denial and ignorance.
Emma Thompson, who has recently returned from a trip to the Arctic with Greenpeace, has been talking to Andrew Marr on the BBC.
Marr asks what concerns her most about climate change. Ill tell you exactly what it was, its the water marks left by the glacial mess the sides of the valleys where they were once great... You forget that glaciers retreat but they also lose mass, she says.
Its a very strange position to take because as we note the weather changing, all of the violent storms, the flooding, all of the very clear and concrete data that we now have... the fact the last IPCC report which was thousands of scientists from around the world has said without a shadow of a doubt a) global warming is occurring, b) its happening much faster than predicted and c) its been caused by human beings and our burning of fossil fuels.
The moment for that denial is over. Weve tipped over that point. Whats interesting is that now that the Arctic ice is melting and we are able to get to places we couldnt get before and drill before, were drilling for the stuff that melted the Arctic ice in the first place...the cycle is speeding up. The Arctic is at it were the canary in the mine.
Go on the march, Ill be there and speaking. Inform yourself. And understand the fact that although were up against huge difficulties - because fossil fuels are a very, very difficult thing to give up. But we now understand that we cannot afford to use them any more, its as simple as that, the day for those fuels is over. I want Cameron to very much step back away from coal, because thats the worst one of the lot.
This weekends events range from huge to modest. Petra Granholm emails from the remote Åland islands in Finland with this photograph of their climate march on Saturday, where she says 80 people turned out. In the background is their local dairys biogas plant and a biofuel bus that apparently runs on fish trimmings.
We believe the solution to the energy crisis does not come in one single package, but in many small alternative solutions. The islands also have a good chance of becoming self.sufficient on wind energy in the near future.
Celebs due down at the London march include actor Emma Thompson, musician Peter Gabriel and the comedian Russel Brand, whos going to be down at Temple Place at 12.30. Heres Brand on climate change, replete with reels of Fox News churning out climate change denial (read more on Fox News climate coverage in this post by our blogger Dana Nuccitelli).
Bill McKibben, the US environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org, has been telling New Yorker magazine about the genesis of the marches.
Everyone in this movement who heard Ban Ki-moons call for world leaders to come to New York City had the same thought: These guys are going to come and do the same thing they always dooffer a few fine speeches and head home having accomplished nothing. We figured we would invite ourselves to come along and try to press them harder than theyve been pressed before. We dont expect this will have immediate results here in New York, but we think building a big movement is the only way to get them off the dime.
I know how much carbon we can have in the atmosphere, but I dont know the exact number we need in the streets. It strikes me that the more we have, the better our chances.
While Im sifting through the news coverage of the marches and Tuesdays UN climate summit, heres a little photo roundup to give a sense of the breadth of the Australian events.
The crowds in Melbourne, Australia, where todays rolling marches kicked off, were even bigger than the 20,000 that organisers had earlier suggested, according to the Australian Associated Press. The AAP is reporting that around 30,000 people attended the march to call for action on climate change.
GetUp! campaigns chief of staff Erin McCallum told the agency:
This is a clear testament that Australians want climate action regardless of what Tony Abbott and his government are doing right now.
The key message today is were doing what he wont, were standing up, were taking action as consumers, as citizens, as Australians around the world and all around Australia today.
Adam Vaughan here, taking over the live blog from Melissa Davey in Australia. Good morning from London, where thousands of people are expected to turn out on the streets today to lobby world leaders to take bold action on climate change.
The Guardians reporting team will be on the ground in several European cities today, including Arthur Neslen in Brussels and Karl Mathiesen in Paris. In London, where people will be meeting at Temple Place at 12.30pm before marching on parliament, Bibi van der Zee, Damian Carrington and James Randerson will be reporting as events unfold. John Vidal will be reporting from Chester, and Ill be doing my best to follow other marches around the UK.
Thanks for reading the Australian coverage of the Peoples Climate March. Well be handing over to our colleagues in the UK and US, so keep following this blog for updates as those events begin to unfold shortly.
Around 200 people rallied for action on climate change in Darwin. It seems human signs are popular among climate activists.
Its a sea of umbrellas at the march in Perth.
Around 4,000 people formed a human sign spelling out the message Beyond Coal and Gas in Sydney this morning.
The community group Our Land, Water, Future organised the event and captured the result using a drone.
Heres what the Peoples Climate March looked like in Delhi:
In a few hours, campaigners will march through central London as part of the global action there.
They will be joined by celebrities including actress Emma Thompson and musician Peter Gabriel, and church bells will ring to mark the march through Westminster to parliament, where speeches and a rally will be held.
There is little time left to prevent the worst excesses of climate change, yet our world leaders continue to stall.
Ive witnessed the impact climate change is already having on the melting Arctic and on poverty-stricken communities in the developing world. We cant go on pretending nothings happening. Ill be at the march, and I hope I see you all there.
An editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the public will be watching more closely than ever when world leaders meet in New York on Monday for the UNs emergency Climate Change Summit. [Australian prime minister Tony Abbott will not be attending]
The global Peoples Climate March is aimed at gathering momentum and political will in anticipation of the New York summit, and also ahead of UN talks on a binding climate protocol next year, the Post-Gazette says.
Climate activists have a lot to be agitated about. The United States has yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, developed in 1997, which would have committed this nation to binding reductions in carbon emissions.
President Barack Obama announced ahead of the climate summit that he has negotiated voluntary agreements with companies to reduce their emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, a potent pollutant.
The Perth Peoples Climate March is set to begin, with organisers hoping cold and wet weather wont keep too many people away.
Many people are reporting they didnt know about the Peoples Climate March events being held around Australia until today. Some said because the event seems to have been publicised largely online through social media, people not engaged with those mediums missed out.
From our live blog commenters:
One Question to the organisers of this march.
To bring the people to your march you must tell the people you are having a march.
...first I heard of it was this morning..
...social media is generally great..
for those under 40...
The Peoples Climate March in Canberra had more of a festival atmosphere, with musicians playing on the lawns of the Australian National University where the main event was held.
Meanwhile in Adelaide, people met in Rundle Park before marching through the streets.
For myself and 13,000 other solar workers around Australia, this industry is our livelihood. We go to work each morning knowing were doing something to make the climate a little bit safer for our kids.
With this government in power, our entire industry is at risk with this review of the renewable energy target.
Thousands of people attended the Peoples Climate March in Brisbane, Fairfax reports.
Kirsty Albion from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition told the Brisbane Times:
Its my generations future on the line, thats why were here in Brisbane calling on our leaders to protect our future, by moving Australia beyond coal and gas and investing in renewable energy.
Professor of Public Health at the University of Melbourne, Rob Moodie, has told attendees at the Peoples Climate March in Melbourne that food shortages and outbreaks of disease will increase if governments dont act to cut carbon emissions.
The impact of climate change will be universal and cant be limited by quarantine. It will be unpredictable and if we leave it too late, we wont be able to adapt.
We wont be able to rely on miraculous cures or a simple vaccine. Act now or pay later. We all know prevention is better than cure. Responding to climate change is the ultimate test of prevention. Effective climate control is good health.
In Bendigo, people are campaigning for global climate action by holding a picnic.
Guardian Australia reporter Nick Evershed has stumbled across the Peoples Climate March unfolding in Glebe.
The police [push]bike squad in Cairns are keeping an eye on climate marchers.
Police on bicycles keep an eye on climate protesters at the G20 meeting in Cairns, Australia pic.twitter.com/yP7w1XN6NE
Back to the Peoples Climate March unfolding in Melbourne. Guardian Australia reporter Oliver Milman is on the ground and tweeting updates here.
Ben and Jerrys undeterred by calls from Queensland environment minister Andrew Powell to boycott the ice-cream company because he claims their calls to protect the reef had jeopardised jobs and tourism dollars turned up at Melbournes rally.
If you talk to a lot of conservative engineers, the older ones who plan the grid, they can say its not going to stay like it is now for the next 50 years. They say other countries around the world will leapfrog us, with countries like India and Africa set to leapfrog us in their renewable energy efforts.
Here are some comments from Guardian readers watching our live coverage of the Peoples Climate March. Keep your thoughts coming.
Pressure must be brought on to the Abbott government from every possible source to take meaningful action against climate change.
The Abbott government is under the narrow special interests of the fossil fuel industry.
Action is the word. No more procrastination. Reduce massive energy consumption and waste. Nature is not in the habit of waiting.
Good on you!!!!
I am marching in Perth - hottest September day for ~ 90 years yesterday, rain and wind today (we need the rain!) but I am going!
Meanwhile, heres a lovely picture from the climate march on the Sunshine Coast Gubbi Gubbi Dancers on the beach, courtesy of Reece Proudfoot.
In around 12 hours time, people will take to the streets in New York for the Peoples Climate March event there, with Leonardo DiCaprio, former US vice president Al Gore, UN secretary general Ban ki-moon and mayor Bill de Blasio set to take part.
Organisers predict as many as 100,000 people will march through midtown Manhattan, which would make it the biggest climate rally in history.
Here are pictures from Peoples Climate March events happening around the world as people spring to action across different time zones.
People asking terrifying tony abbott why he hates the GB Reef. Man inside costume squeaks 'who needs a bloody reef' pic.twitter.com/7Ukz6P24YZ
Professor Tim Flannery, head of the Climate Council, motivated the Melbourne crowd, telling them they were creating positive change. He said the time for questioning the science on climate change was over.
I want to remind you of whats at stake here. This is an issue where the science is very, very clear. We know that burning fossil fuels in this country adds about $2.6bn to our health bill every year. We know that hundreds of people die from the very tiny particles that are emitted when burning fossil fuels. We know that we can do things better.
People want change, and we need to send a very strong message to the world that Australia does care about this and we want better action from our government. This is not a time for despairing. This is a time for determined, resolute action. I can tell you if we dont take action this year, next year, and the year after, it may be too late.
The stage has been crashed at the Melbourne rally, Guardian Australia reporter Oliver Milman says.
American man jumps on stage, grabs the mic and says he's speaking on behalf of Leonardo di Caprio. He's bundled away pic.twitter.com/m7wX5gNctt
Greens leader Christine Milne told attendees at the Peoples Climate March in Melbourne that the key message of the day was action not words.
We dont need to start a conversation, we need to take action. We want no more delays. Climate change is real, it is accelerating, we are on a trajectory for four degrees of warming which is an unliveable planet and we wont stand for it. That is what we have to convey to Tony Abbott and leaders around the world.
The reign of fossil fuels is over. What we now have to do is end the reign of the fossil fools who keep it going.
A strong crowd has gathered for the Peoples Climate March at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne.
Were here because of the fact that Australia is now dragging its heels weve gone from being one of the world leaders on climate change to going backwards.
Guardian Australia reporter Oliver Milman is at a press conference being held by Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler ahead of the start of the Melbourne climate march.
Butler criticised Australian prime minister Tony Abbott for refusing to join world leaders on Monday at the United Nations conference in New York, Milman reports.
Both major parties had strong commitments to carbon pollution reduction based on a range of conditions. Its not clear whether those conditions have been satisfied. We havent got a position [on post-2020] yet. Thats the serious work Australia should be doing now but instead the Abbott government is busy dismantling the good work weve done to date.
People are already gathering in Cairns this photograph is courtesy of Andrew Picone.
Some people are going to great heights to get the climate action message out there. Online activist group GetUp! has posted this picture on Twitter of a banner strung up on the Three Sisters rock formation in the Blue Mountains of NSW.
Here are the Peoples Climate March events happening around Australia today.
Melbourne from 11am - State Library of Victoria
The Adelaide event took place yesterday heres a pic of that march from 350.org founder and environmentalist Bill McKibben:
On the march in Adelaide, down under pic.twitter.com/eLN9dQe0yC
The flagship Australian Peoples Climate March is set to begin in Melbourne at 11am. Guardian Australia reporter Oliver Milman will be on the ground covering it for us.
Speakers will include environmentalist Professor Tim Flannery, Greens party leader Senator Christine Milne and Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler.
Good morning and welcome to live blog coverage of the biggest global march for action on climate change in history the Peoples Climate March.
Events are happening all over the world and well bring you coverage of as many of them as we can, with our reporters covering events in Australia, London and New York.
Climate change a threat to health & security. It's in Aust's national interest to act so why isn't Tony Abbott attending @UN climate summit?
Action on climate change is urgent. The more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and in money. I will link arms with those marching for climate action. We stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future.
On the eve of the Peoples Climate March, the outdoor-gear retailer takes a public stand on climate change. But most big businesses remain silent on the issue
Why were going on the biggest climate march in history
Climate march set to attract thousands around the world
Naomi Klein: Climate change is a global emergency
Activists promise biggest climate march in history
The silence on climate change is deafening. Its time for us to get loud
I recently had lunch with Mary Wenzel, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo who directs the banks environmental projects. The banks efforts are laudable: it intends to finance business opportunities that protect the environment to the tune of $30bn by 2020, its making its offices more efficient, its a big-time supporter of a nonprofit called Grid Alternatives that delivers solar power to low-income people, and so on.
But when I asked Mary whether Wells Fargo has declared itself to be in favor of a carbon tax or a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, she told me that, no, thats a step the bank has not yet been willing to take.
It is the work of this generation to make clear we reject the status quo a race toward the destruction of our planet and the wild places we play in and love. We cannot sit idly by while large special interests destroy the planet for profit without regard for our children and grandchildren.
We have to keep the pressure on. That means being loud and visible in the streets, in town halls and our capitals, and most important, in our elections voting for candidates who understand we are facing a climate crisis.Continue reading...
For some filmmakers, climate change is now the equivalent of the nuclear scares of the mid-20th century
As we have begun to see the effects of climate change more severely, more frequently and closer to home, so too have film-makers been spurred to address the consequences of an irrevocably damaged environment in new ways. In both fiction and non-fiction, climate change is no longer depicted as the eventual cause of future calamity, but a reality affecting everyday life.
On the heels of documentaries that hoped to raise awareness by laying out the facts about climate change have come new ones showing the consequences of our behavior through spectacular images of an increasingly inhospitable environment.Continue reading...
We are almost out of time to build a zero carbon future, and the devastating impacts of global warming will only become worse if our leaders do nothing. Tens of thousands of people in Australia and many thousands more around the world marched today to send this message to delegates in New York for the United Nations climate summit.
Alexander White (@alexanderwhite) September 21, 2014
Alexander White (@alexanderwhite) September 21, 2014
Avaaz (@Avaaz) September 21, 2014Continue reading...
Tens of thousands of people take part in the first leg of a global wave of protests ahead of the UN climate summit in New York
Tens of thousands of people have attended climate change rallies across Australia, in the first leg of a global wave of protests calling for tougher action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN climate summit in New York next week.
The main Peoples Climate March rally was held in Melbourne on Sunday, with Victoria police estimating at least 10,000 attended. Organisers put the figure closer to 20,000, with families, young people and the elderly making the most of the sunshine to urge the prime minister, Tony Abbott, to do more to tackle climate change.
Rich nations should make the deepest emission cuts and provide most money if countries are to share fairly the responsibility of preventing catastrophic climate change, says a major new study.
Calculations by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) scientists and Friends of the Earth suggest the UK would need to make cuts of up to 75% on 1990 emission levels by 2025 and would also need to transfer $49bn (£30bn) to developing countries. The US would have to cut slightly less, but transfer up to $634bn to make a fair contribution.Continue reading...
It started — The People’s Climate Mobilisation is happening all over the world!
Just get a sense of what its looking like:
Rallies in Lisbon and Delhi, marches in Istanbul, Manila, Cape Town, Majuro and Papua New Guinea, concerts in Johannesburg — this is true people powered movement: enormous, powerful, diverse and beautiful. People from all backgrounds acting locally, mobilising their communities, shaping the future of our planet. And this is just the first day — tomorrow there’ll be even more in places like London, Rio, Melbourne and Jakarta.
Now it’s time to show these stunning organising images to world leaders — literally. We are collecting photos and videos from actions all over the world, and we will display them on huge screens in New York City so heads of state coming to the city for the climate summit wont miss them.
Please share your images with us — let’s show what Action, Not Words looks like!
- Submit your photos and videos: send them to us following the instructions here. We’ll make sure we’ll display them on screens during the People’s Climate March in New York. We’ll also feature some of them on People’s Climate website.
- Share on social media: You can also share images on social media using the hashtag #PeoplesClimate. We will be tracking and featuring these posts on the People’s Climate Mobilisation website and at the march in New York City — and re-sharing on social media too!
All of us, everywhere, together, demanding Actions, Not Words on climate — and in pictures. There’s no way heads of state will miss that.
Eduardo, Hoda, Mahir, Payal, and Will for the whole 350.org team
PS: If you want to join another People’s Climate Mobilisation action tomorrow (or if you could not make it today) you may still find another action nearby — search for another event here.
Desmond Tutu: climate change is our global enemy
World leaders must commit themselves to holding current rises in global temperatures to 2C. That is the stark message of experts and campaigners in the runup to the United Nations climate summit that will be held in New York later this week.
They say that 2C is the maximum temperature increase that the world can tolerate without causing environmental mayhem, and they insist that politicians attending the meeting, including Barack Obama and David Cameron, must agree to that upper limit.Continue reading...
Desmond Tutu: climate change is our global enemy
Desmond Tutu, the Nobel peace prize winner and activist, has called for an international campaign to boycott mining companies, oil corporations and other businesses involved in the trade of fossil fuels. Writing exclusively in the Observer prior to this week's UN climate summit in New York, Tutu says the same approach that was taken by the 1980s anti-apartheid campaign, of which he was a leader, should now be adopted in the battle to halt global warming.
"The most devastating effects of climate change deadly storms, heat waves, droughts, rising food prices and the advent of climate refugees are being visited on the world's poor," he states. "Those who have no involvement in creating the problem are the most affected, while those with the capacity to arrest the slide dither. Africans, who emit far less carbon than the people of any other continent, will pay the steepest price. It is a deep injustice."Continue reading...
Never before in history have human beings been called on to act collectively in defence of the Earth. As a species, we have endured world wars, epidemics, famine, slavery, apartheid and many other hideous consequences of religious, class, race, gender and ideological intolerance. People are extraordinarily resilient. The Earth has proven pretty resilient, too. It's managed to absorb most of what's been thrown at it since the industrial revolution and the invention of the internal combustion engine.
Until now, that is. Because the science is clear: the sponge that cushions and sustains us, our environment, is already saturated with carbon. If we don't limit global warming to two degrees or less we are doomed to a period of unprecedented instability, insecurity and loss of species. Fossil fuels have powered human endeavour since our ancestors developed the skills to make and manage fire. Coal, gas and oil warm our homes, fuel our industries and enable our movements. We have allowed ourselves to become totally dependent, and are guilty of ignoring the warning signs of pending disaster. It is time to act.Continue reading...
This week, I will witness a key test of whether we will betray our children, grandchildren and future generations through a lack of ambition and will. I will be at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York on Thursday to listen to David Cameron, Barack Obama and more than 120 other political leaders outline how they intend to tackle the growing risks from climate change.
The summit has been called by the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to try to build high-level support for efforts to reach an international agreement to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, which is due to be signed in Paris in December 2015.Continue reading...
Most of us have never met in person. For months, we’ve seen each other’s names on emails and petitions; we’ve made plans and spoken on the phone.
But this weekend, all of that changes.
Right now, on this Saturday morning, you might be reading this post from one of the 500 buses driving from Minnesota, Colorado, or Massachusetts. Or you are on your way to the hundreds of side events happening this weekend in NYC, such as the Student Convergence or the Community Divestment Meet-up, both happening now. But on September 21, 2014 at the People’s Climate March, everyone will be together to meet, to march, to change the course of our future.
Where will divestment be?
Tthis is the most diverse climate march in history. The motto, “to change everything we need everyone,” aims to unite us all in this fight - indigenous peoples, women, elders, student and youth, musicians, beekeepers, veterans, parents, community leaders, and more. Over 1,500 partner organizations are coming together in a march that truly belongs to us all, so how does divestment fit in? As people march with their communities and schools, their tribes and faith groups, divestment might not clearly stand out from the crowd.
But that’s because divestment is present in nearly every block of the march, overlapping with issues from across the climate change movement.
In the “We Can Build the Future” contingent, there will be wide banners held by students pronouncing “Youth Choose Climate Justice.” Standing behind these banners march student divestment groups from Yale, Bowdin, Swathmore, the UC schools, and American University, among many many others. “In the We Have Solutions” section of the march, the NYC and DC Fossil Free campaigns will carry large checks calling on their state comptrollers for pension fund divestment. In the fourth section of the march, “We Know Who Is Responsible,” the NY state divestment group will march next to the fracking group, both fighting for a shift away from fossil fuels. In section five, “The Debate is Over,” faith groups from across the religious spectrum who have called on their congregations to divest will march united. And in the final wave of the march, “To Change Everything We Need Everyone,” community, city, and state divestment groups will rally together for divesting their pension funds. Some of these groups number in the hundreds, such as 350MA who is sending over 30 buses of people; other groups will be a few representatives for their friends and family who are supporting the movement from far away in Hawaii, Alaska, Minnesota, or even New Zealand.
There won’t be one divestment section, and if you look at the march plan below, you won’t see any mention of Fossil Free. But that’s because in this world of currencies and climate change, divestment is present in any and every group. So march with the beekeepers and the musicians, the pastors and the monks, march with the students and the fracking coalition, march wherever you plan to march.
And know that everywhere you are marching, divestment marches with you.
For more details and to RSVP for the People’s Climate March, visit here.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
The new U.S. director of the Office of Management and Budget used his first speech to talk about the dangers not acting on climate change poses to the federal budget.
Shaun Donovan, head of the OMB, said in a speech at the Center for American Progress Friday that acting on climate change is “tremendously important” to him and that it’s “critical to our ability to operate and fund the government in a responsible manner.”
“From where I sit, climate action is a must do; climate inaction is a can’t do; and climate denial scores – and I don’t mean scoring points on the board,” Donovan said. “I mean that it scores in the budget. Climate denial will cost us billions of dollars.”
Donovan noted that climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, and singled out Superstorm Sandy as a storm that caused huge amounts of damage — $65 billion in all, making it the second most expensive weather disaster in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina. According to a Center for American Progress report from 2013, the U.S. was hit by 14 extreme weather events that created at least $1 billion in damage in 2011, and 11 billion-dollar disasters in 2012. Added up, the disasters from these two years created up to $188 billion in total damage.
Donovan also pointed to wildfires as a major drain on the federal economy. Spending money fighting wildfires during the U.S. fire season — which climate change has already made longer and more intense — uses up the money that the U.S. Forest Service could use on forest management, he said. In 2013, the Forest Service ran out of money to fight forest fires, and had to divert $600 million in funding from timber and other areas in order to continue battling wildfires. It was the sixth year since 2002 that the Forest Service was forced to divert funds from other areas in order to continue fighting fires.
“So we spend what we have to in order to put out the fires, and then we under-invest in the tools that can help mitigate them, only leading to higher costs in the future,” Donovan said.
Drought, too, has been a major expense in the past. The 2012 drought, which hit states like Kansas and Indiana worst of all and decimated corn and soybean crops, cost the U.S. a record $14 billion. And this year’s western drought will likely cost California $2.2 billion and put about 17,000 agricultural workers out of a job.
Two recent studies back up Donovan’s fiscally-driven push to act on climate change: a report from the New Climate Economy Project and a working paper from the International Monetary Fund. Both found that cutting greenhouse gases may actually lead to faster economic growth, and the IMF noted that the co-benefits of cutting carbon emissions — which will come largely in the form of improvements to public health, such as decreased asthma and other respiratory illnesses and attacks — will help drive down medical costs.
Donovan’s speech comes days before President Obama speaks at the United Nation’s climate summit in New York on Tuesday. The summit will come after what organizers are calling the “largest climate march in history,” which could attract more than 100,000 people who will march through Manhattan to show their support for climate action. Lawmakers have introduced bills on climate change leading up to the events in New York — on Friday, 10 senators introduced a bill targeting “super pollutants” such as methane and soot, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a bill that aims at helping the U.S. prepare for the health impacts of climate change.
The post U.S. Budget Director Warns: ‘Climate Denial Will Cost Us Billions Of Dollars’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.
'Anyone who lives in New York will see it 100 times a day': meet Milton Glaser, the creator of the 'I love NY' logo video
Glaser created the logo in 1976, when New York wasn't the tourist haven it is today. "The place itself had become so difficult to live in," he told the Guardian's Ana Terra Athayde.
"I wanted to say 'I'm gonna stay, I love this place, I'm not gonna be defeated, I'm going to make it better'."
Now 85, Glaser runs a studio in Manhattan and has a body of work which includes Brooklyn Brewery logo and a poster for Bob Dylan's greatest hits album that has made him a legend in his field.
His latest project is his most ambitious yet in collaboration with New York's School of Visual Arts, he has launched the campaign 'It's not warming, it's dying', in a bid to raise awareness of climate change. Continue reading...
50 Canadian climate researchers speak out in support of the People's Climate March | Dana Nuccitelli
Canada is failing to meet its carbon pollution reduction targets, and its climate researchers are calling for a change
The Canadian government is hell-bent on exploiting the Alberta tar sands to the fullest extent possible, even at the expense of the global climate. Canada simply cannot meet its carbon pollution reduction pledges if it continues to expand tar sands operations.
While the American government has finally begun to take the threat of climate change seriously and do something about it, the Canadian government has merely played lip service to the problem. 50 Canadian climate researchers have reached the point where they feel the need to speak out, using the Peoples Climate March on September 21st as a catalyst to call for action. To that end, they penned the following letter.
On September 21st more than a thousand events are planned around the world to demand stronger action on climate change, echoing New Yorks People Climate March. As Canadian researchers who study Climate Change and Sustainability, we strongly support this global mobilization.
Canada is running a sustainability deficit. Unlike budgetary deficits, it does not seem to preoccupy our politicians. Canada has repeatedly missed its own climate change emission reduction targets. Last January, Environment Canada acknowledged that Canada wont meet its least ambitious target to date, proposed in 2009 as part of international climate negotiations coined the Copenhagen Accord.Continue reading...