XR Brisbane says - we’re out of time
Extinction Rebellion Australia, 20 Mar 2023
Blinky the giant burning koala was the centrepiece of XR Brisbane's climate protest, held in the lead-up to the Senate debate on a law supposed to reduce emissions and the last IPCC report to be released while it is still feasible – only just – to stay within 1.5°C.
Blinky is a confronting representation of the estimated three billion native animals lost in the bushfires of 2019-2020. Even our iconic koalas are endangered as a result of drought, floods, and fire catastrophes brought on by the climate crisis.
The howling animatronic puppet moved from King George Square to Brisbane's Parliament House, where the Queensland Legislative Assembly was sitting. The march was led by a troupe of Red Rebels representing the collective grief, sorrow and blood of all the species on Earth.
The march was joined by some of the XR Brisbane members who were charged with 'disturbing the legislature' after they temporarily halted question time by unfurling banners over the public gallery balcony while chanting "stop coal, stop gas".
Other marchers carried banners, including: "Anastasia: Follow the science, then we'll be silent", "We're out of time. No new coal. No new gas.", "Stop in the name of Love", "Stop burning our future", "Climate Action: Failure not an option" and "Labor: Promoting Fossil Fuelled Climate Chaos". Protesters chanted demands that the government take decisive action to deal with the climate crisis and stop expanding the fossil fuel industry.
XR Brisbane activist Lee Coaldrake said: "Despite the pleas of climate scientists, despite the IPCC report into climate change, despite the strident warnings of Antonio Guterres (Secretary General of the United Nations) our governments continue to support, subsidise, and encourage new developments by fossil fuel industries.
"Two years ago, the international energy agency said that to have any hope of staying below 1.5°C. The world must stop opening, new coal, oil or gas infrastructure.
"Our governments are betraying us, but more importantly, they are betraying our children and grandchildren. They are selling their futures. The fossil fuel industry has captured our governments at all levels."
On the Monday following the march, an open letter was published from more than fifty environmental and climate organisations calling on the Australian Government to listen to scientific evidence on climate change and prevent new fossil fuel projects and expansions.
In support of the letter, Professor Fiona Stanley, former Australian of the year and epidemiologist, said: "To ignore the science of climate change is reckless and irresponsible. Fossil fuel expansion drives climate change, threatening human health and the future of our kids and grandkids. Despite the global complexity of our environments, of our living systems and the huge variability of how we live on the planet, science has been remarkable. We must heed the warning."
The crossbench of federal parliament has raised concerns that the Safeguards Mechanism legislation, as it stands, will do nothing to prevent the expansion and creation of more than 100 new gas and coal projects across Australia.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and scientists globally have all called for an end to new gas and coal projects.
The final instalment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world’s leading climate scientists, is the summary report, drawing together the key findings of the preceding instalments.
The findings included warnings that the world is approaching "irreversible" levels of global heating, with catastrophic impacts rapidly becoming inevitable; and that it was "now or never" to take drastic action to avoid disaster.
We're running out of time to stop coal and gas. Extinction Rebellion believes that when faced with extinction, the only logical action is to peacefully rebel against a government that is failing to act to prevent the end of life as we know it on the planet.