Extinction Rebellion ACT (XRACT) rebels were out in force in Canberra city last Friday to highlight Australia’s increasing isolation on climate action as the international community marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement.
A theatrical tableau of of fossil fuel industry lobby groups drew attention to their dangerous actions in infiltrating public climate policy with the promotion of the weakening of greenhouse gas emissions targets, the watering down of clean energy policy, using renewable energy funding for non-renewables, and opposing ambitious State-level renewable energy targets.
“This ‘state capture’ has seen our political leaders promoting vested interests over climate science and the environmental, social and economic security of Australian citizens,” XRACT spokesperson, Mr Karlo Paasonen, said.
“Our short-sighted Federal policy makers have been captured by these fossil fuel interests – Australia is now the world’s third largest exporter of fossil fuels and the October Budget was a gas industry ‘wish-list’.”
”People and companies who make money from the fossil fuel industry should not be advising governments on climate policy - the Federal Government needs to get out of bed with its big business fossil fuel mates.”
Other speakers at the XRACT action included Jill King from Knitting Nannas, Astrid Simmons from School Strike for Climate, Kamrul Khan from the Bangladesh Environment Network, and economist Dan Nahum. They called out Australia’s industry groups as some of the world’s most damaging lobbyists on climate action - with correlations between their political influence and Australia’s poor record on meeting its international climate commitments.
“We need our politicians to make decisions in the public interest. XR has a plan for this,” Mr Paasonen said.
“Along with demands for zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2025 in line with climate science, XR has called on the Government to create and be led by a Citizens’ Assembly on the climate and ecological emergency.”
“Citizens’ Assemblies have been established in other countries such as the UK and France. They bring together representatives of key sectors of the population to chart a way through difficult issues without the influence of lobbyists, vested interests and conservative ‘group think’.”
“It's time for our Federal Government to catch up with the rest of the world and act with courage and vision for the benefit of all Australians. It needs to tell the truth about the climate science, declare a climate emergency and act now to achieve zero emissions by 2025”, Mr Paasonen said.