An estimated 45,000 people attended rallies in support of “climate action”, saying Yes to a price on carbon, around Australia on Sunday.
Rallies were held in most capital cities. It was frigid in Canberra with temperatures around 10°C and wind gusts up to 45km/hr, but thousands marched up to Parliament House to tell politicians to “Say Yes” to “an ambitious price on carbon, and investment in renewable energies.” Ralliers came from all walks of life and included children on scooters and rugged up in prams, many people on bikes, and even a number of dogs.
“We need leadership to challenge the extreme views. We need leadership to challenge the scare campaign that’s being mounted, being led in fact by one of my ex-staff members,” ex Liberal party leader, John Hewson told the Canberra ralliers, referring to the current opposition leader, Tony Abbott.
Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Don Henry told reporters “We think momentum is building, people-power is building, because Australians want action on climate change.”
“We’ve got to ramp up people power because in the next three months our Parliament is going to decide whether we take action or not,” he told the Melbourne rally of an estimated 10,000.
The Say Yes campaign, supported by Get Up!, The World Wildlife Fund and independent think-tank The Climate Institute among others, coincides with two new Australian Government reports on the reality of global warming. A federal government report titled ‘Risk to Coastal Settlements and Communities’ predicts the loss of thousands of buildings and transport infrastructure in Australia by the end of the century if sea levels rise by 1.1 metres, while a recent Climate Commission report claims we are now in the “critical decade” for effective action on climate change.