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Climate strike: global protest kicks off in Australia and Pacific – live updates Climate strike: global climate change protest kicks off in Australia and Pacific – live updates
(about 3 hours later)
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish student who inspired this entire movement, has recorded a new short film for today’s strike. Esther in Byron Bay has interviewed her fellow strikers. Must watch
In it, she and Guardian columnist George Monbiot talk about the importance of natural solutions. These are low-cost, effective initiatives like growing trees. Esther Plummer (13 years old) interviews fellow climate strikerJasper (15 years old) about why he is attending the #ClimateStrike in Byron Bay. pic.twitter.com/YTrFpOJrC3
And, for a bit of a blast from the past, you can read Thunberg’s opinion piece from November 2018 written specifically for Australia –when we became one of the first countries to hold nationwide student strikes. First images in from Hobart.
I'm striking from school to protest inaction on climate change you should too | Greta Thunberg A huge crowd has gathered on Hobart’s Parliament Lawns for the #ClimateStrike #politas pic.twitter.com/ySfzAD2TCR
“In the Pacific we don’t go on strike, but we do other things,” says Patricia Mallam, a Fijian climate activist from 350.org. Over the course of the day, children and students from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Tonga, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea will participate in events to mark the global climate strikes, through events like poetry performances, silent protests, sporting events, BBQs and intergenerational discussions about the effects of climate change in the region. 1000s here in Hobart #ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/L8aM36LRrR
These events, rather than traditional protests and street marches make more sense for the Pacific, says Mallam, because it is such a community-driven region “and we all know that the problem is not within the community.” Sydney’s strike is scheduled to start at noon.
#ClimateStrike events will kick off (appropriately) in the Pacific.“It is a day for the polluters, they need to quickly understand what’s going on," says Patricia Mallam from @350Pacific. "But the Pacific is at the frontline of the impacts, it’s important for us to speak up.” pic.twitter.com/wXeYz7mKJk Huge crowds are still making their way to the city. This could take some time and is looking immense.
“For instance, you don’t have any coal mines in the Pacific, so we can’t have people striking outside coal mines; the problems are not being caused here. But in countries where there are coal mines or banks financing the fossil fuel industry, it makes sense for people to go on strike, so they’re voicing their distaste for what’s going on to keep their economies afloat,” she says over the phone from Fiji.“We all know that the problem is not being caused here in the Pacific, but we’re facing the full brunt of the climate crisis,” she says.The Pacific is estimated to contribute just 0.03% of global emissions despite making up 0.12% of the world’s population, but is at the frontline of the climate emergency, with countries facing rising sea levels, coastal erosion, the destruction of crucial reefs, inundations and warming seas that lead to more frequent and more severe cyclones all threaten the region.“It is a day, especially for the polluters, they need to quickly understand what’s going on,” says Mallam of Friday’s strikes. “But at the same time, in the Pacific we feel that because we’re at the frontline of the impacts, it’s important for us to speak up and have other nations hear what’s happening.” Massive crowds heading to Sydney Domain for the #climatestrike #schoolsstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/NoEdvBq5KU
Preparations are underway in the Solomon Islands already Massive crowds building in #Sydney #ClimateStrike @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/Vhy1PI6d40
Riding the waves of change, youth are arriving now via boat in Marovo in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands ready for their #climatestrike #MatagiMalohi event today..#pacificpawa pic.twitter.com/ytwnX8k7cg Some footage from Thailand:
And Kate Lyons spoke to some of the activists across the Pacific ahead of today’s big day. #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrikeThailand #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/MC7dB0wLnc
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s strikes, as collated by my colleague Lisa Cox. Continuing our Q&A series is Labor’s spokesman on climate change and energy, Mark Butler.
There are more than 100 locations, and the strikes have support from 30 unions, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and more than 1,000 businesses including Atlassian, Future Super and KeepCup. Frewoini Baume, 18, from Lismore asks:
Climate strike in Australia: everything you need to know about Friday's protest Permanent destruction for temporary economic gain is not a sustainable or stable economy. Why are you supporting the coal industry when it has been scientifically proven to be unsustainable? Yes, the economy may temporarily suffer but the longer you wait the more severe the impact. So why not act now?
And, in news from this morning more than 250 academics have also signed on in support. Mark Butler:
Hundreds of Australian academics declare support for climate rebellion The Labor party remains deeply committed to taking climate action to make sure that we comply with the commitments to future generations in the Paris agreement to keep global warming way below 2 degrees and to pursue efforts around 1.5 degrees to make sure that we are at net zero emissions by the middle of the century.
Morning everyone. Today, the global climate strikes start in Australia and the Pacific. The Guardian Australia team will be following it all. There is no denying that Australia needs to drastically reduce its carbon emissions, but after coming down by more than 10% when Labor was last in office, emissions have been rising ever since the election of Tony Abbott, and the government’s own data shows they will keep rising all the way to 2030.
We have a huge day of coverage planned. The Australian strikes will be in full swing from 11am or noon (local time) and, before that in New Zealand and the Pacific. Australia doesn’t have a national climate policy. That is why we need to keep pressuring the Liberal government to take serious climate action.”
Our correspondents are standing by, and cartoonist First Dog on the Moon is on duty he’ll be sketching throughout the day. Some more charts, this time Australia-specific from our data editor, Nick Evershed:
And because today is really about the students, we’ve organised to receive on-the-ground updates from participants themselves. Here they are in a (non-exhaustive) list: This first shows warming in Australia, measuring how different the temperature is in a given year against the long-term average. Put simply, it demonstrates how things are getting hotter, and 2018 was the third-hottest year:
Narii-Hamill Salmon, 15, Gold Coast QLD This second shows Australia’s quarterly emissions over time. The bars need to be under the two lines (assuming a linear rate of reduction to meet the target) if we are going to meet various emissions targets.
Frewoini Baume, 18, Lismore NSW The pink line shows the trajectory to a 28% reduction in emissions, based on 2005 levels, by 2030. This is the more ambitious of Australia’s possible reduction targets under the Paris agreement.
Josh O’Callaghan, 15, Adelaide SA The purple line is the trajectory proposed by the Climate Change Authority based on the best available science to ensure Australia makes a meaningful contribution towards keeping global temperature increases under 2C.
Amelia Neylon, 16, Hobart TAS Ideally the bars should be below both lines.
Esther Plummer, 13, Byron Bay NSW And some early data from Twitter:
Iestyn (13) and Owynn (11) Harries, Brisbane QLD #ClimateStrike is trending #1 in Australia and has been for the past two hours
Dakota Barret-Perry, 15, Melbourne VIC #schoolstrike4climate is at #2 and #friday4future is at #5
They have also been given the opportunity to ask a question directly of federal politicians and prominent business leaders from the energy minister to EnergyAustralia. Australian cities where #climatestrike is trending:
We’ll be publishing the questions and their answers throughout the day. Adelaide #2
Stay with us. Darwin #1
For the next 24 hours, the Guardian will be reporting in real time on the wave of climate strikes as they ripple around the world, starting in the Asia-Pacific region and continuing through Europe and Africa before culminating in the Americas. Millions of young people are expected to turn out in more than 3,000 events worldwide, in this latest edition of the Fridays For Future strikes. On this occasion, adults have been invited to join in and companies, organisations, trade unions, even churches are expected to join the fray. Our correspondents on the ground will be feeding in with live updates from the world’s major metropolises, and we’ll be pausing for breath every now and then to consider the bigger picture, the state we’re in, the scale of the challenge. The strike kicks off a big week for environmental activism with a major Climate Action Summit at the UN next week and another round of Friday strikes on the 27th. The Guardian will be at these events too. Melbourne #1
Perth #1
Sydney #1
#EXCLUSIVE: The first #climatestrike data is in! This is how the school strike conversation has lit up across Australia over the the last 3 days to now.Follow our #schoolstrike4climate live blog here: https://t.co/rViiPMOgWR Data via @TwitterAU #FridaysForFuture pic.twitter.com/ljPWK4yxQN
An on-the-ground sketch from First Dog on the Moon
You may have noticed the arresting temperature chart at the top of our site this morning – I know I did.
https://t.co/zq9DZH3JOt pic.twitter.com/F7kd5Rj3UA
Our colleagues internationally have also compiled more charts that explain the climate crisis.
Why are people striking? The climate crisis explained in 10 charts
And some slightly better news:
In Lismore Frewoini Baume has interviewed Suhani Sheppeard, 16.
FB: “Why are you striking?”
SS: “I’m striking because I believe it takes one person to change the world. Having that opportunity to be that person is incredibly inspiring and I want to be the one voice to inspire others.
“It feels incredibly empowering to be a part of the community in our global strike, and inspires me to always fight for climate justice.”
Jotham Napat, Vanuatu’s deputy prime minister, delivered his speech in English “because the people who need to hear this, the ones who are causing the problems, are not here”.
According to the Vanuatu Posts’ Dan McGarry, Napat named the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand as the ones who are “to blame for this threat to our survival”.
Earlier Vanuatu’s foreign affairs minister, Ralph Regenvanu, also spoke and criticised Australia. He characterised the discussions at the recent Pacific Islands forum in Tuvalu as a “fight” between Australia and the rest of the Pacific.
Regenvanu, an outspoken Pacific leader, has also promised to take his country’s climate grievance to the International Court of Justice to seek legal redress.
VU FM Ralph Regenvanu takes the gloves off. Describing the standoff in Tuvalu as a 'fight' with Australia, he promises to bring the nation's climate grievances to the ICJ to seek legal redress. #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/tNk5HEHqcC
During the Pacific Islands forum Regenvanu told the Guardian that critical talks almost collapsed twice amid “fierce” clashes between Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and other Pacific leaders.
“Australia is out there – they’re not with us,” Regenvanu said at the time.
Today students in Vanuatu partnered with the Vanuatu climate action network to stage a silent strike. Students wearing traditional dress and holding banners with messages about the climate crisis stood around the capital, Port Vila, as politicians walked around the city viewing the messages, finishing up at the seafront of the city where there were art exhibitions, poetry performances and speeches.