2013: Communique

The following communique was put together from decisions made at the Summit, and from comments people made afterwards. If you have comments, please add them to the comments area at the bottom of the page.

Communiqué of the 5th Australian Climate Action Summit, 2013

About 400 people including scientists, engineers, health and other professionals, politicians, representatives from about 100 climate groups across Australia, and other concerned members of the public attended the Community Climate Network’s 5th Australian Climate Action Summit in Sydney from 21to 23 June 2013. They called for all governments and federal election candidates to support urgent action to mitigate dangerous climate change.

The Summit heard reports confirming climate science warnings that urgent action needs to be taken now, that the earth is already too hot, and our carbon budget for a safe climate is zero. Attendees heard that the Earth has been warming by the equivalent of 4 Hiroshima bombs per second for several decades. We need 100% renewable energy and all fossil fuels to stay in the ground. If all levels of government along with governments of other leading polluting nations do not move with emergency speed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, billions of people’s lives are at risk.

The Summit resolved to widen community engagement by:

  • Taking urgent action to bring climate change back into the public/political discourse by connecting more with what people care about and thereby gaining support from State and Territory Governments, Federal election candidates and industry to make an emergency transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Action will include non violent direct action as well as the use of appropriate media and legal avenues in order to minimise the extreme climate dangers facing the planet.
  • Calling upon the media to accurately report the climate science and the urgency of the situation
  • Campaigning to ensure that voters are fully aware of the different shortcomings of political parties on climate change policy, and campaigning to prevent climate change deniers controlling the parliament, especially the Senate.
  • Working to ‘connect the dots’ between extreme weather, our growth economy and human induced climate change and building understanding of local and wider impacts of our changing climate
  • Promoting discussion on the transition from the current “Growth Economy” to a “Steady State Economy”, recognising that infinite growth is not possible in a finite world, the complex nature of the necessary transition and the need for equity, both within nations and between nations, as this goal is achieved
  • Calling on society to acknowledge that population growth, over-consumption and the endless growth economy are all key drivers of the climate crisis that need  to be addressed and not denied
  • Continuing pressure to end the estimated $10 to15 billion of Australian taxpayers’ money used to subsidise the fossil fuel industry each year and using this money to fund clean renewable energy projects
  • Raising awareness of the severe impact of coal and coal seam gas industries on climate, health, land, water and air, and the benefits of moving to clean renewable energy
  • Leading strong community activism against the fossil fuel industry and against ecologically unsustainable growth, consumption and waste; and towards the pursuit of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) and human well-being
  • Raising awareness about the need to transfer investments, including superannuation from companies which support climate destructive activities such as fossil fuel extraction and native tree forestry, into sustainable climate friendly investment such as clean renewable energy projects.

The summit concluded that:

  • Science and ethics dictate that we must leave coal and gas in the ground, and instead urgently invest in large scale renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport and zero waste projects.
  • The cost of the necessary urgent investment is no excuse for inaction, given the enormous cost of climate damage we face. Indeed Sir Nicholas Stern has estimated that the annual cost of action on climate change to be around 2% of GDP compared to the cost of inaction projected at 5-20% of GDP by 2050. With climate danger now shown to be worse than predicted when these estimates were made, costs of both action and inaction continue to rise.
  • Inaction is thus uneconomic and inexcusable. If Government, business and community make the right choices now, together, we can limit climate change damage.

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