Transitioning to a new climate campaign


Climate campaign


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With disappointments after a lacklustre Copenhagen climate conference, environment experts are urging people to support a movement called the Transition Decade.

More than 1,200 concerned citizens attended a public gathering held in Melbourne, which saw the launch of the campaign, which aims to build an informed, collaborative movement big enough to restore a safe climate in the next 10 years.

"The Transition Decade Alliance is about working together because tackling climate change is a bigger job than anyone can do by themselves," said Phil Sutton, co-founder of Safe Climate Australia.

The way we handle the issue of climate change over the next 10 years will decide whether irreversible destruction has been done to our environment, experts warn.

Scientific data recognises that we are approaching a climate emergency. For example, coral reefs need 10 years to recover after each bleaching so this could result in the loss of 70-80 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef if the rate of global warming is not slowed.

According to Professor Will Steffen, from ANU Climate Change Institute, "The data is telling us that climate systems are moving faster than we had expected and we are starting to see the impacts. If nothing changes in the next decade, I expect we could see an increase in atmospheric temperature of 2.5 to 3 degrees Celsius."

The Transition Decade emerged from a Victorian sustainability movement of people fed up with the complacency created by three decades of dire warnings about the severity of climate change. It is coordinated by an alliance of groups, which include Climate Emergency Network, Friends of the Earth Australia, Sustainable Living Foundation and Beyond Zero Emissions.

The Melbourne gathering showcased leading work by these groups, members of the corporate sector and politicians who have committed to the 10 year action plan to restore a safe climate. Mark Ogge from Beyond Zero Emissions presented the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Project, a detailed blueprint outlining a 10-year transition to a 100 per cent renewable energy to be released by July 2010.

"We have used only real world, commercially available renewable energy technology," said Ogge.

The next two years will see the campaign building from within the wider community and engaging advocates and supporters. The next step is to secure government commitment in preparation for a large scale rollout of renewable energy infrastructure, the end goal being to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 300ppm (parts per million) as needed to achieve a safe climate.

"We have run out of time for half-measures," Sutton said. "History tells us that significant changes can occur in short periods of time. We can deliver incredible economic change if people have a shared plan and commit to what they're doing."