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Australia's Climate Action Summit

More than 500 people from around the country gathered in Canberra to produce a national, unified set of objectives for the community campaign of climate action for the crucial year ahead.

During the summit,  the Community Climate Action Groups agreed to campaign on the following:

• prevent the carbon pollution reduction scheme (the CPRS) from becoming law, as it will fail to make emission cuts necessary to stop the climate emergency.
• build community-wide action to demand green jobs, a just transition for fossil fuel industry workers and 100% renewable energy by 2020.
• aim for stabilisation at 300ppm CO2 and strong international agreement in line with what science and global justice demands.

There are images from the event here.

report back

National Climate Summit rejects Rudd's flawed  Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

'The absurd thing is, under Rudd's scheme you would do more for the planet by buying a tonne of carbon directly from Alcoa and burning it in your backyard than you would by making your home 100% carbon neutral,' were the words that came from Richard Dennis, of the Australia Institute, while conducting his workshop on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme at Australia's Climate Action Summit.

It is this stark reality that drove much of the discussion, decision-making and action at Australia's Climate Action Summit in Canberra.

From January 31 to February 3, 2009, over 150 community based climate action groups and more than 500 people came together in Canberra to talk, debate, strategise and take action on climate change at Australia's Climate Action Summit.

This national grassroots based summit was the first of its kind in Australia. Created by and for the community based climate campaign to build and strengthen what is shaping up to be one of the biggest and most diverse movements we have seen. The variety of people who travelled to Canberra for the four days was astounding. In attendance were CSIRO scientists, stay at home mums, ex-coal workers, members of think tanks, civil servants, union members, teachers and people who were coming along to represent their community climate action group at the summit.

The discussions and decisions made at this summit were astounding in their depth of analysis, knowledge of the politics of the day and the acknowledgement of urgency with which we need to come together to act on climate change. The opening plenary of the summit featured David Spratt, co-author of Climate Code Red, explaining the emergence of new weather patterns in the Arctic, the unheralded lack of Arctic summer sea ice and the increase in extreme weather patterns driven by anthropogenic climate change experienced in the past year.

With this slap in the face, as to the extent to which we are already experiencing dangerous climate change, summit participants went off to their respective workshops, strategy and network development streams and fellow action group representatives. After three days of crunching information, opinions, strategy and votes three core campaign objectives for the national grassroots climate campaign were decided upon.
In 2009, the united Community Climate Action Groups will campaign to:
• Prevent the CPRS from becoming law, as it will fail to make emission
cuts necessary to stop the climate emergency.
• Build community-wide action to demand green jobs, a just transition
for fossil fuel industry workers and 100% renewable energy by 2020. 
• Aim for stabilisation at 300ppm CO2 and strong international
agreement in line with what science and global justice demands. 

It is with this unified set of objectives and a set of dates of community based action on climate change for 2009 that people wrapped up the cerebral part of the summit in readiness for the finale of Australia's Climate Action Summit…a human chain encircling Parliament House for the first sitting day of 2009.

There were a few minor obstacles we had to overcome in pulling this action of, one of which was the government's refusal to give the people of Australia permission to stand around the perimeter of federal parliament holding hands…so we did it anyway.

Knowing that we faced the risk of being moved on by the Australian Federal Police, and possible arrest, two and a half thousand people wearing red came to federal parliament in Canberra to hold hands. Showing Australians are united in making climate change the top ticket in the political and social agenda in Australia.

Together we encircled parliament house holding each other's hands. Knowing that with the number we had we could move past the police lines, move past the governments refusal to support our action and show that the people of Australia will drive the decisive and brave action on climate change that is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

 "I want my kids to inherit a safe and clean environment," said Jenny Curtis from Climate Change Balmain Rozelle one of the thousands who made the journey to Canberra for the summit and day of action. "Like many other groups taking part in the Summit, our climate action group began in response to our Government's failure to take leadership on the climate challenge."

The challenge we face in 2009 is to bring more and more people together to build and strengthen this inspired and intelligent climate movement that will power forward from Australia's Climate Action Summit 2009.

Australia's Climate Action Summit was sponsored by Friends of the Earth, Australia and Greenpeace Australia.

background information

One year into the Rudd Government we
still haven't seen strong action for a safe climate. Current policies
doom the Great Barrier Reef to extinction. Time is running out. 2009 is
a critical year for an international agreement on climate change, so
join with thousands of other Australians in demanding urgent action
from our Government!

In February, community climate action groups from across the
continent and other concerned Australians are joining together for
Australia's Climate Action Summit in Canberra, the weekend before the
first day of the 2009 Federal Parliament: 31st January – 2nd February

At the Summit, ordinary Australians will send a powerful message to
the Rudd Government on the eve of its second year that sets the agenda
for urgent climate action in 2009.

What will happen at Australia's Climate Action Summit?

Australia' Climate Action Summit will be two days of facilitated
meetings and workshops. There will be an open public program for anyone
to join, and a restricted program for people from climate change
groups, who will create a strategic national climate campaign and form
a national grassroots network.

The weekend will be followed on the Monday by one day of dynamic
training in climate campaigning skills for taking action, facilitating
climate action groups, effective lobbying and more.

On Tuesday 3rd February, the first day of the 2009 Federal
Parliament, we will hold a peaceful, community action of thousands of
ordinary Australians demanding immediate political action for a safe
climate. On the same day, the grassroots climate network will launch
our national campaign at Parliament House.

get involved!

We need you and your climate change group in Canberra in February to
formulate a strong and strategic national campaign and network. We need
you to be part of putting climate change at the very top of the Rudd
Government’s agenda. We need to make 2009 the year Australian people
turned the tide of history; pushing government, industry, and the globe
toward a safe and just climate future.

This gathering is being organised by people from Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle, Clean Energy for Eternity
Bega, Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Sydney, Greenpeace, GetUp,
Australian Student Environment Network, Climate Action Pittwater. We would welcome your involvement:

Details can be found here.

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