Climate emergency rally Melbourne July 5 2008

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The rally in Melbourne's city square
The rally in Melbourne's city square

The Climate emergency rally and human sign event was held on Saturday July 5, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia. The rally was organised and attended by more than 50 community groups concerned about lack of government action on climate change. About 5,000 people attended.

The rally followed yesterday's release of economist Ross Garnaut's draft report on climate change that warned Australia risked losing natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu if it didn't act now to combat global warning.

Climate code red for sale
Climate code red for sale



The rally was addressed by America Cross, Senator Bob Brown, climate change policy analyst David Spratt.

America Cross, who left the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu five years ago in search of a better life in Australia, said climate change was seriously affecting island communities.

"With the rising sea levels we've got salt water seeping through and it's actually killing off the natural agriculture, she said.
"We need to import produce so then it becomes a problem with pollution. It also becomes a health crisis for our people, let alone the possibilities of migrating around the world.

Ms Cross, who has a five-year-old son, said it was a "mother's responsibility to teach the children about what they stand to lose.

"It is today that we have to do something for our families and our friends both here and abroad.

Bob Brown, leader of the Greens, told today's protesters Australia couldn't wait for other countries, including China and India, to act on climate change.

"We are one of the most vulnerable nations in the world, he told the rally.
"Climate change is a disaster which is on our doorstep. We, in this wealthy lucky nation, must take a lead for the rest of the world to follow.
"By 2050 we need a reduction in greenhouse gases by 90 per cent if not a totally carbon-neutral economy.

David Spratt, author of Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action, said governments were refusing to act on climate change with the speed and commitment needed.

"Today, we actually have the economic and technical capacity to make this change if we have the so-called political will," he said.
"The idea of emergency action with as many resources as is necessary is no longer a radical idea, it's simply a necessary idea.


Federal and state Labor governments were criticised for approving and supporting recent projects and legislation that will increase carbon emissions such as:

  • The Wonthaggi desalination plant
  • More road tunnels and freeway links as proposed in the Eddington report
  • The Rudd Government's disastrous means test on the solar panel rebate
  • The Brumby government's pathetic feed-in tariff legislation which doesn't provide effective incentives or rewards for people to install solar panels on their homes
  • The bay dredging project in Melbourne's Port Phillip bay, which is polluting the bay with toxic sediments and will increase both shipping and road traffic for containers
  • The ongoing destruction of Australian native forests, which is creating carbon emissions and reducing city and rural water supplies.
  • Support for coal-related projects that will not deliver clean energy and are wasting money and time in the race to address climate change.

Speakers called for:

  • more investment in renewable energy such as wind and solar
  • improved public transport
  • creating 3 million green collar jobs for the future, to replace those that will be phased out over time in fossil fuel industries.

After walking down Swanston Street, attendees then formed a 140-metre-long human 'sign' spelling Climate Emergency in Alexandra Gardens.


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