Australian schoolchildren cut classes to renew climate protest – fr

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Australian schoolchildren cut classes to renew climate protest – fr


Sydney (AFP)

Thousands of Australians demonstrated in nationwide climate protests on Friday, with many schoolchildren skipping classes to express their anger over a massive new gas project and the government lagging behind emissions targets.

At events from Perth to Brisbane, protesters urged the Conservative government to do more to tackle climate change, which is already hitting Australia hard.

The vast island continent is one of the world’s largest producers of coal and natural gas, but has also suffered in recent years from droughts, floods and bushfires that exacerbate extreme climate change.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week dismissed the International Energy Agency’s warning that key emissions targets would be missed if more fossil fuel projects were built.

His government announced on Tuesday that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars would be used to build a new gas-fired power station near Sydney.

The facility will be built in scenic Hunter Valley, where residents will go to the polls in a state by-election on Saturday.

“The Morrison government could protect our climate, our land and our waters, and create thousands of new jobs by expanding the renewable energy sector in Australia,” said Nabilah Chowdhury, 17, who demonstrated in Sydney.

“Instead, they are lining the pockets of multinational gas companies, which are fueling the climate crisis.”

# photo1 In Melbourne, where around 5,000 people gathered, protesters held signs reading “Coal is History” and “Funding Our Future”.

The government says the Hunter Valley gas plant is needed to keep electricity prices low. Critics say this is a costly political mess.

“This will bring in some 600 new jobs during the peak construction period there and 1,200 indirect jobs statewide,” Morrison said. “Importantly, this will keep the pressure on electricity prices across New South Wales. “

Despite the protests, Morrison faces little domestic political pressure to change his climate policy. The opposition Labor Party also supports coal mines and coal-fired power plants.

But Australia is under increasing international pressure to follow other developed economies and set a target date to become carbon neutral.

So far, Morrison has refused, but diplomatic pressure is mounting ahead of a major international climate summit in Glasgow later this year.

# photo2 Friday’s protests, which organizers say took place in 50 locations, were the latest in a string of strikes inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

The 18-year-old Swedish activist began campaigning for climate change action in 2018, spending Fridays sitting in front of the Swedish parliament with a sign titled ‘Schools strike for the climate’.

Thunberg tweeted his support for the Australian strikes on Friday. “Huge climate strikes today across Australia,” she said. “Soon the rest of the world will join in …”

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