Australians Walk Against Warming

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November 11, 2007.

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THOUSANDS of people have marched through Australia’s streets today for the second annual Walk Against Warming, calling for greater action on climate change and renewable energy targets.

In Sydney, organisers said crowd marshals counted more than 28,000 people in the city’s Domain and on a round-trip walk through the city.

Nature Conservation Council’s Cate Faehrmann said early estimates suggested as many as 150,000 people had marched in similar protests across the country.

“It’s clear that there is a lot of support out there. Much more needs to be done and that’s what the community said today on climate change,” she said.

“It’s a big message that’s being sent to the next government to get more serious on climate change and give us more than what we’ve seen today.”

Ms Faehrmann called on the next elected government for a short-term target to reduce greenhouse pollution by at least 30 per cent by 2020.

Asked whether, in light of today’s rallies, the Government would further reduce green house gas emissions, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer today said diplomacy was the solution to an international issue.

“The key to success in terms of climate change is diplomacy,” he said in the Adelaide Hills town of Stirling.

Mr Downer said it was important the international community negotiate “a serious convention which will stabilise and reduce global green house gas emissions” over the next couple of years, starting at the meeting of the United Nations’ framework convention on climate change in Bali next month.

“We should negotiate a proper and a serious convention which will stabilise and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it’s not going to work and not going to be meaningful if developing countries and the US aren’t prepared to participate,” he said.

Earlier during the protest, federal Labor environment spokesman Peter Garrett was met with boos but Ms Faehrmann said the crowd was merely frustrated by the lack of progress on climate change.

“It’s action in the next few years that counts. That’s why people are getting frustrated, they have seen delays, they have seen decisions which will increase our greenhouse emissions,” she said.

The boisterous crowd included many young children and the odd dog. Some marchers were dressed for the occasion as pollution emitting stacks and others in dog costumes.
Ms Faehrmann said she was disappointed that federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull had not turned up despite being invited.In Adelaide, thousands also took to the streets.Among those marching down the city’s King William Street from Victoria Square to Elder Park were Greens Senate candidate for SA Sarah Hanson-Young.

“The huge momentum of today’s Walk Against Warming rallies across the country is an indication of the concern in the community for the future of our planet and future generations,” she said in a statement.

Organisers had predicted some 25,000 people would participate in the Adelaide event and the number came close to that, said Greens spokeswoman Gemma Clark.