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News > World

Australia: Students Protest Gov't Lack of Climate Policies

  • Thousands of students gathered to demand actions to mitigate climate change in Sydney on Australia, Nov. 30, 2018.

    Thousands of students gathered to demand actions to mitigate climate change in Sydney on Australia, Nov. 30, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 30 November 2018

Australian students protested against Prime Minister Scott Morrison' breach of international commitments related to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Thousands of students, of all ages, gathered Friday to demand that the Australian Government express more commitment to climate-change policies. This unprecedented mobilization was organized after the release of the United Nations 2018 Emissions Gap Report.

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According to scientific research, Australia is one of the G-20 countries that will not fulfill its agreed commitment to reduce polluting gases by 2030. On current trends, Australia is unlikely to meet even a reduction target of 26-28 percent.

"We know why we are here, to ask politicians to take immediate action against climate change,"  student Jean Hichliffe said, adding that "energy should be one hundred percent renewable."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison commented that "more learning in schools and less activism" is needed, in reference to the planned school protests.

"If people in Parliament listened to science and took action," Hitchliffe stressed, "we would not have to take actions like this."

In other cities such as Melbourne or Adelaide, hundreds of students also gathered in front of public buildings with placards which read "do not burn our future" while chanting "respect our future."

Australian Resources Minister, Matt Cavanan, said that "what you learn best when you protest is how to join the ranks of unemployment," explaining that he wants children to be taught "how to build mines... and how to drill to extract oil." 

Climate change is a thorny issue in Australia, where administrations have been undone by energy policies, one of which sought to eliminate taxes on polluting gases.

However, despite the social discontent, right-wing politicians have been trying to continue fossil fuel exploitation, arguing that alternative energies would raise electricity prices. 

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