This blogpost explains Extinction Rebellion’s second demand, which targets one of the key mechanisms we have for avoiding a planetary catastrophe.

That our Government enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions in Australia to net zero by 2025, and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Climate change is an emergency and we must act accordingly. This is why the XR demand has to be for a real and urgent move to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. If our house was on fire we wouldn’t put in place a plan for the fire service to attend in several weeks.

Nowhere in the world has there been a genuine government-led commitment to address the climate catastrophe. Instead our politicians place short-term economic and political gains at the top of a priority hierarchy that has intergenerational equity at the bottom.

The planet has a precarious future and the next generation will inherit an impossible challenge if governments fail to take immediate and decisive action. The climate catastrophe has become embroiled in bureaucratic double speak. Climate-based policies are empty and meaningless because their timelines are stretched too far to have any chance of reversing the escalating destruction. Politicians of all persuasion play to the crowd while pandering to entrenched privilege, and nothing changes.

Environmental policy has become another (minor) arm of the dominant business model. Jobs and the economy continue to be the rhetorical and substantive preference of the political class. However, the voice of youth is loud and clear. There are no jobs on a dead planet. Let’s work towards jobs that are sustainable on a planet that has a future. Jobs such as those emerging in the solar thermal plant at Port Augusta, or in solar battery production at the old Holden factory in Elizabeth.

We will hear all sorts of pushback on our demand for legally binding policies that have capacity to reduce carbon emissions in Australia to net zero by 2025. The same words will be sung to the same tune: ‘There is no point in Australia acting when the rest of the world is not. We’re a small player and can make no difference’. Australian lifestyles consume four times our carbon budget, and so we are one of the nations that must move first and go hardest, to ensure a liveable planet.

The solution is visible but continues to be illusory because the voice of the people has not yet been loud enough. XR South Australia is here to make it as loud as it needs to be. We are working with others all around the world in an effort to have environmental policy placed at the top of the political priority hierarchy. Our planet depends on it.

Annie, Media and Messaging, XRSA