On 15 November 2014 world leaders flocked to Brisbane. They came to talk about the future of the global economy. As the host nation, Australia was tasked with setting the agenda of the meeting.
Our government actively neglected to include climate change, reducing it to a token sentence. We, like many of the G20 leaders, thought it made sense to talk about the environment the economy is dependent on.
So with a bunch of like-minded groups we hatched a plan to put climate change on the agenda of the G20.
Despite the Australian government’s attempts to silence the elephant in the room, it roared, stomped and charged onto the G20 stage.
Across our sunburnt continent over 120 events were hosted by the ACF community and Climate Reality Leaders. From Cairns to Swansea, from Canning Vale to Wollongong – citizens came together to show the world that climate change is on our agenda.
Climate change is the defining issue of our times, therefore it is only natural that the G20 leaders should focus on this.
– United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
We had animated conversations about how to encourage bi-partisan support for clean energy, we brainstormed ideas about how to positively affect public opinion, we cried tears of laughter and frustration, and held signs declaring why action on climate is on our agenda.
We screened hopeful stories from around the globe of citizens, companies and communities moving forward into a clean energy future – inspiring examples of leadership and innovation from China, South Africa, Kenya and India highlight that opportunities for change are abundant and accessible.
Together we are stronger, so we worked with collaboration partners for the #onmyagenda campaign. A huge thanks to WWF for taking the lead, and also to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Oxfam, Getup, 350 Australia, One Million Women, Greenpeace and Earth Hour.
Our hashtag #onmyagenda flared up all over Twitter and Facebook – appearing over 40,000 times.
G20 leaders were targeted in 16 different languages. Passionate citizens, former political leaders, clean energy champions and local and national media all harnessed this crucial moment to show our politicians and the international community that cutting pollution and tackling climate change is on our agenda.
Australians used all of the tools available to them to make it known that problems don’t just go away because you ignore them.
From burying their heads in the sand in an hilarious ode to emus, to a crowd-funded campaign to have our banned billboard featuring grape farmer David Bruer seen at Brisbane airport, we showed the world that we want to tackle our climate challenges head on.
On the runway to the G20, China and the USA announced bold plans to cut pollution and reign in their contribution to climate change.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, singled out climate change as our biggest collective challenge. Over the course of the G20, David Cameron reiterated his commitment to the United Kingdom’s climate change legislation, Turkey’s Prime Minister stated his intentions to tackle the issue, as did the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
Japan, Germany, the US and China have all pledged billions to the green climate fund designed to assist developing countries transition to clean energy economies. Yet still our PM turned his back on the issue, declaring his commitment to burning more and more fossil fuels.
“Here in the Asia-Pacific nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change”
– US President, Barack Obama
Our government has said over and over they will act when the world does. That means they must act now. The world is moving and we don’t want to be left behind.
We’re not going to watch this opportunity pass us by.
We’re not going to be dragged into the dark ages when we have a choice. This mammoth effort from the tip to the tail of Australia is only the beginning.
We’re ready for an economy that doesn’t work at the expense of the environment. We’re ready to tell the big polluters that we won’t stand by and let them hijack our democracy and gut our environment for their bottom line.
In fact, we’re already doing it.
Not until climate change is put squarely on our government’s agenda – with ambitious pollution reduction targets, meaningful international commitments and rock-solid, independent and scientifically evidenced policy, we will rally, we will organise, we will shout out and we will continue to stand up for a safe climate for all Australians.