Four hundred thousand people in New York, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and tens of thousands across 100 locations in Australia. That’s how many people have taken to the streets for the People’s Climate March, with actions still underway in the lead up to the UN’s Emergency Summit of World Leaders in New York on 23 September, which Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declined to attend.

  • See latest photos and updates at People’s Climate March website,  here
Rockhampton, Queensland
Maules Creek
Townsville, from @JimHarris
Bunbury, WA

Australia’s marches over the weekend were the first of 2808 solidarity events across 166 countries registered as part of the global mobilisation. The Guardian reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the 400,000-strong crowd that marched in New York.

Friends of the Earth Australia spokesman Cam Walker said the turnout in Australia over the weekend was “fantastic, especially in the context of the number of marches that have been held over the last year”.

“We thought there might have been some mobilisation fatigue, but there wasn’t,” Mr Walker said.

One of the most outstanding aspects of the weekend’s collective action, he said, was the number of regional gatherings, with more than 100 held across Australia. Many of these also drew quite significant crowds given the “conservative” nature of communities such as Kyneton (about 400 people), Castlemaine (many hundreds) and Geelong (more than 1000) in Victoria.

More than 100 people also gathered outside the G20 Finance Meeting in Cairns, Queensland.

In the major capital cities, Melbourne’s crowd was estimated at over 30,000 people; Sydney attracted over 1000; Brisbane more than 1500; Adelaide “several thousand,” according to one source; Canberra more than 1000; and at Hobart about 500 people rallied at MONA.

The marches come as the Global Carbon Project releases data showing that emissions reached their highest level ever in 2013. Key findings of the Global Carbon Budget include:

  • Global CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuel and cement production grew 2.3 per cent to a record high of 36 billion tonnes CO2 in 2013. Emissions from deforestation remain low in comparison, at 3.3 billion tonnes CO2 in 2013, accounting for eight per cent of total emissions.
  • Fossil fuel CO2 emissions are projected to increase 2.5 per cent in 2014, bringing the total CO2 emissions from all sources above 40 billion tonnes CO2.
  • To meet a warming limit of 2oC with 50 per cent chance of success, average global rates of emissions reduction over the next several decades typically need to be over 5 per cent per year, accounting for the need to turn around presently growing emissions and not including possible negative emissions later in the 21st century.
  • The present growth rates of emissions and the size of the remaining CO2 emissions quota to avoid exceeding two degrees requires urgent and wide spread implementation of mitigation implying a rapid decoupling of GDP growth from CO2 emission growth, in order to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The full Global Carbon Budget reports and data can be accessed here.

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