Before my wife Therese and I left Sydney to commence our ‘treechange’ here on the Mid North Coast, Therese had been very active in the then fledgling Climate Action Coogee (CAC)group. We are now members of the local group here, Climate Change Australia – Hastings, one of many grassroots groups united under the Climate Change Australia banner.
So it is with some pride that I’m able to report what has been happening with Climate Change Australia, and where they are at.
Commencing in Coogee in November 2006, Climate Action Coogee has
grown into a 200-strong group of climate activists, with a core who
actively plan CAC events and campaigns.
The group’s current crowning achievement is the Climate Protection
Bill, written by it’s members in February – March 2007 and now endorsed
by 65 climate action groups nationwide as well as 1000 individuals
including three climatologists. This document is now in the Australian
Parliamentary drafters’ office being turned into a bill, and
Independent Parliamentary Member Tony Windsor has agreed to table it in the Australian Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill. Penny Wong,
the Federal Minister for Climate Change, has now agreed to meet with
the group about the Bill, after previously rejecting a similar request
for a meeting 6 months ago.
The Bill sets out comprehensively the current consensus of what is
Australia’s roadmap to preventing our continued contribution to
catastrophic global climate change. A copy of the current 19 points can
be found here.
The group plan to enter another consultative process once the Bill
emerges from the drafter’s office, to ensure it meets the current
wishes of its endorsers.
The draft Australian Bill has been inspired by the UK Climate Change Bill
which was developed by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern
Ireland, where local climate groups lobbied their own MP’s to sign
their support for the Bill before the 2005 UK election. 130,000 people
contacted their local MP, and 400 MP’s voted for the Bill, which led to
the development of a draft Climate Change Bill in early 2007 and set
the UK in line to become the first country to propose legislation
setting binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The complete
Australian Bill in it’s current form can be viewed here.
Prior to the Australian 2007 Federal election, Climate Action Groups
met with their local members (and Climate Action Coogee met with Peter Garrett and Malcolm Turnbull,
local candidates) to seek their support for the Bill. This push, whilst
unsuccessful in introducing the Bill into parliament, was a huge step
in raising awareness of the Bill and notifying politicians of the sort
of actions the community was demanding on climate change. These actions
were all occurring in a climate of denial by the incumbent government,
namely the Prime Minister, who has since declared that he misread the
community mood on this issue.
To publicise the Bill CAC has initiated an exciting new event being
a “Climate Ride”, where climate action groups, bicycle user groups and
individuals around the country can ride their bikes to Canberra, the
national capital, on 1 September 2008. Called Cycle 4 Climate Protection,
the intention is to deliver 10,000 signed postcards in support of the
Climate Protection Bill into the hands of the Members of Parliament!
For details of how you can support this initiative, like starting a petition, contacting your local Member of Parliament and media, or indeed joining the ‘Climate Ride’ go to Support The Climate Bill. You can even download the postcard here.
WHAT DO WE WANT, AND WHEN DO WE WANT IT???