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The international climate negotiations that begin in just a few short weeks may be in trouble, but that's not stopping activists around the globe from showing their leaders that they demand strong action. This was evident today in Australia after police arrested approximately 150 climate protesters taking part in a sit-in at Federal Parliament.The activists demanded that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd commit his country to at least a 40 percent reduction in global warming emissions. The cut would be in line with what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:
"This has been a true expression of the deep sense of betrayal many Australians feel about Kevin Rudd's lack of effective action on climate change," said Georgina Woods, spokesperson for the demonstration. "We voted for this government so they would stand up to the big polluters, and lead the world on dealing with the impending climate crisis."
"Instead, Kevin Rudd has perfected a marvellous line in greenwash, the polluters are getting taxpayer handouts and under the legislation currently before the Senate, Australia will not have to cut domestic emissions one jot."
"People have come to Canberra from around Australia today to take a stand for climate protection. We call on Kevin Rudd to do the same. Australia must commit to strong pollution targets, and no carbon offsets at the Copenhagen climate talks in two weeks. If he fails, mass arrests will continue as Australian's take climate action into their own hands."
Recently, Australia joined with other members of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation group to back off their pledge to cut emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Their new language reads: "We believe that global emissions will need to peak over the next few years, and be substantially reduced by 2050, recognizing that the timeframe for peaking will be longer in developing economies."
The Parliament is now debating a carbon trading scheme and its passage remains unclear.
More on Kevin Rudd:
Is Kevin Rudd The Climate Hero We've Been Looking For?
A Democracy at Work: Australia Votes on Climate Change* :