Media Releases | 16th Dec, 2009

Australians to send clear message to Rudd in Copenhagen

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Australians will send a clear message to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Copenhagen today: ‘Bring back a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate change treaty from Copenhagen’.

Last weekend 90,000 Australians took part in the Walk Against Warming – the biggest day of climate action Australia has ever seen. Everyday Australians came together to send an important message to the PM: ‘Don’t come back to Australia without a binding safe climate deal targeting 350 parts per million (ppm) or less and an international climate fund for developing nations’.

Today, messages from Walk Against Warming participants will be handed directly to Kevin Rudd before his keynote address at the UN Climate Negotiations.

Piers Verstegen, Director of the Conservation Council Western Australia is representing the Conservation Councils of Australia and their members at the Copenhagen climate negotiations. Mr Verstegen will hand the Prime Minister photographs of the Walk Against Warming events in Australia and messages from participants at a breakfast meeting.

“It is clear there is overwhelming support from Australians for the Rudd government to take a leadership role on climate change internationally, and for strong action to back that up at home,” Mr Verstegen said.

“Australia is the largest coal exporter in the world, and has close to the highest greenhouse emissions per capita in the world. This means Australia has a particular responsibility to take a leadership position at Copenhagen.

“Despite what the federal opposition is saying, Australians are expecting Kevin Rudd to bring back a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty that will stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at 350 parts per million (ppm) or less.

“At present, the commitments that have been put on the table by countries including Australia fall well short of what we know is required.

“In addition to Australia’s weak 5 percent emissions reduction target, Australia is supporting a proposal to ‘cook the books’ on carbon emissions from forestry and agriculture which could see a massive loophole created in the carbon accounts of developed countries.

“Kevin Rudd has a rare opportunity this week to really make a difference by taking the leadership role on climate change expected by the overwhelming majority of Australians.”


Piers Verstegen (in Copenhagen) +61 411 557 892

Kelly O’Shanassy – Environment Victoria (in Victoria) 0421 054 402

Photographs of the handover with the Prime Minister will be available soon.

Download Melbourne Walk Against Warming photos

Visit Piers Verstegen’s Copenhagen blog

The Conservation Councils of Australia are: Conservation Council Western Australia, Queensland Conservation Council, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Environment Tasmania, Environment Centre Northern Territory, Conservation Council of South Australia and Environment Victoria.