Blog from Day 2 of CJF
Today was a nice day in the warm Australia Sun outside Parliament House in Canberra. Kamrul Khan, the director of the Bangladesh Environment Network Australian chapter, came down and fasted for the day in solidarity with us, and kept us amazed with stories of fighting for independence and being a political prisoner as a youth in Bangladesh. We are all inspired, and full of hope.
(The following is a statement the Canberra CJF participants prepared together for the media)
Today marks the end of the Barcelona climate negotiations, and the beginning of Climate Justice Fast!- Climate Justice Fast! is an international hunger strike for responsible, just action on climate change. Founded in Australia, it now involves over 80 people from 14 nations all around the world.
Our hunger strike is calling for world leaders to commit to stabilising atmospheric greenhouse gasses at below 350 ppm, and to provide at least $160 bn dollars per year to the developing world to adapt to climate change. We will end our fast if these demands are achieved. Climate change is a global emergency. Every leading scientific body on earth is warning us that if we don’t drastically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gasses, we will bring about an irreversible catastrophe.
This will not only be a tragedy, but it will be an enormous injustice. It will mean the world’s most vulnerable people, and our very own children, forced to suffer terrible consequences from a problem which they did not cause.
Currently, our political leaders are failing us on climate change. By refusing to act on the advice of climate scientists to safeguard our future, they are on track to be complicit with one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history. This is why 55 African nations walked out of the Barcelona climate negotiations this week. Africans are already dying because of climate change, while their entire continent, with its 680 million people, produces only 3% of global greenhouse emissions.
This is a gross injustice. And in Barcelona, Mr Lumamba Di-Aping, a lead negotiator from the African group, named our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, as one of the worst perpetrators of this injustice. Australia is the western world’s largest per capita greenhouse polluter, and the world’s largest exporter of coal. And our emissions reductions target of 5% by 2020 under the CPRS legislation are completely inadequate to halt and reverse climate change.
Referring to our targets, Mr Di-Aping said, ‘they need to be 40% minimum by 2020’. That is what the science demands, that is what developing countries demand, that is what our planet needs, and that is what we in Climate Justice Fast! are putting our bodies on the line for.
Mr Rudd, we are pleading with you. Please do not let this injustice occur. Please do not let us go down in history as a nation that refused to do what was necessary to protect the lives of billions.
Australians are a moral people. We believe in a fair go, and when the world has called for our help in the past, we have always been there. Australians want to do what is necessary to stop climate change before it’s too late. Mr Rudd, please listen to your conscience. We owe it to our fellow human beings everywhere, and we owe it to our children.
This issue will be your legacy, and all of ours as well. We are resorting to a hunger strike because we want to make a stand for what is right while we still can. We want to be able to look our children in the eye and honestly tell them that we are doing everything we can to protect their future.
Hunger striking is a morally appropriate response to the absolute urgency of addressing climate change. As the saying says, ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’.