Families and children turned out in numbers for Melbourne’s climate rally held on Sunday as part of the People’s Climate Mobilisation Australia.
Around 30,000 people gathered in Melbourne, while huge crowds also converged in other cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, and Canberra. Organised by GetUp! and 350.org, the rallies were held in conjunction with People’s Climate March organised in major cities worldwide – a prelude to the UN Climate Summit which will kick off on Sept. 23.
The rallies and the UN summit call for an agenda to cut carbon emissions and a shift to renewables.
In Melbourne, professor Tim Flannery spoke before the crowd, standing side by side with Greens Senator Christine Milne. Both thanked supporters and urged the Tony Abbott government to save the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The RET pushes for 20 percent of Australia’s energy that comes from renewables. Prime Minister Abbott has already abolished the carbon tax in July to encourage businesses, including investment in the mining sector. The RET is now on the chopping board awaiting its fate.
Unlike most rallies, families with children stole the show in Melbourne. Children marched alongside their parents and little ones rode in prams. A banner flashed, “I am here for my kids!” while kids were also carrying a sign, “Use crayons, not coal!”
The UN climate summit aims to galvanise a new international treaty to cut carbon emissions beyond 2020. The final stages of the agreement will be sealed at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris next year.
About 125 leaders are expected to attend, but Australia’s prime minister chose to snub the meeting. He will join Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Xi Jinping of China, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among those who will not show up for the event.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will represent Australia in lieu of Abbott at the climate conference.
See more photos at The Green Journal AU Gallery