Global protests call for climate change action


Thousands of people have rallied in cities across Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines calling for action on climate change ahead of a Paris summit.

Thousands of people have rallied in Brisbane calling for action on climate change, echoing similar protests held across Australia and around the world. 

It comes ahead of two weeks of talks in Paris where world leaders will try to strike a deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissons.

The Peoples Climate March in Brisbane was one of several being held around the world ahead of a United Nations climate summit, which begins in Paris next week.

Climate and Health Alliance spokeswoman Sue Cooke said climate change will be devastating for the health of the whole planet.

"It will affect us directly, it will affect is indirectly and it will affect us in all the social and ecological determinants of health.

"But actually taking action for climate change to disinvest from dirty coal and fossil fuels and and investing in clean renewable energy will prevent millions of early deaths from air pollution and obesity and all those lifestyle diseases." 


Australian Greens Deputy Leader Larissa Waters said Queenslanders are particularly passionate about shifting away from fossil fuels, aware of the job opportunities that come from transitioning to a clean energy economy.

Senator Waters said safeguards are also crucial to protect the natural environment.

"The message is clear to both the federal government and the state government, ahead of this Paris conference, is lift our climate ambition. The Australian government has now got the worst targets of any developed nation in the world and we are going to the Paris talks, where Malcolm Turnbull needs to do more than just not be Tony Abbott," she said. 

"He needs to come out with an announcement, that either increases our targets, ideally, or at the very least, commits some serious funding to climate finance to help developing nations, particularly those in our region adapt to and mitigate climate impacts."

The Climate Change Authority - the body that advises the government - says Australia has the highest per capita emissions, ahead of Canada, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Thousands march in NZ for climate action

At least 3000 marched down Auckland's Queen Street and an estimated 7000 marched in Wellington, according to reports.

"Instead of seizing the opportunities from moving to a low-carbon future, the New Zealand government is lagging behind its people and the world by taking a weak target to Paris and refusing to take real action on climate change," says Auckland march convenor Kristin Gilles.

New Zealand could do a lot more, she said.

The People's Climate March NZ 2015 has the backing of 27 groups, including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Unicef NZ, environmentalist groups and unions.

New Zealand is taking a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 to the Paris talks.

2500 march in Philippines

Religious clergy, students and activists marched through the Philippine capital calling for a sharp reduction in emissions to limit the impact of climate change, which is blamed for a spike in typhoons and extreme weather that has hit the region. 

Police said the march attracted 2,500 people. Similar events were held across the country.

The Philippines has been identified as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

Demonstrators carried placards with slogans including: "Protect our common home," and "climate justice".

"We want to send a message to the rest of the world, especially the world leaders at the climate talks, to say that our survival is not negotiable," Denise Fontanilla, spokeswoman for the Asian People's Movement on Debt and Development, told AFP news agency.

Greenpeace said the Philippines' has a moral ascendancy to hold top carbon emitting countries accountable in the Paris Climate Conference, being one of the countries most vulnerable to global warming.

It says the Philippines is a poster child for the impact of climate change, manifested in changing weather patterns and intensifying storms. The country was not prepared for the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Greenpeace has launched a climate justice campaign, demanding top carbon-emitting companies including oil and gas firms, to be accountable for their role in climate change.

The organization has filed a case with the Commission on Human Rights calling on the largest carbon emitters in the Philippines to reveal how long they have known about climate change and what actions have already been taken, and will be taken, to address the threat.

"Countries like the Philippines, specific island countries that bear the brunt of extreme weather events, and we're now taking a step further -- going beyond just waiting for world leaders to agree on a binding agreement in these negotiations by taking the actions into our own hands and going after the big carbon polluters that are historically responsible for their contributions to climate change," climate justice campaigner for Greenpeace, Anna Abad, said.

The Philippines has committed to a 70 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, on condition of receiving technological and financial assistance from developed countries for adaptation to climate change and mitigation of its impact.

Source AFP, Reuters, SBS News

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