Call for grass roots action on climate - UNSW public forum and book launch

Dr Mark Diesendorf
Wednesday, 19 August, 2009
Dan Gaffney

Citizens should demand greater action by federal and state governments that are failing to enact effective climate change reduction policies, according to Mark Diesendorf, a UNSW academic and author of a newly published book titled Climate Action: A Campaign Manual for Greenhouse Solutions.

Climate Action draws on case studies of successful grass-roots social action movements and presents a "menu of strategies" for activists and citizens who want to pressure governments and businesses to accelerate significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Dr Diesendorf, who is Deputy Director of UNSW's Institute of Environmental Studies (IES), in Sydney Australia. "The dismal record of achievement on climate change policies by Rudd and Howard Government's demonstrates that citizens have to demand real, substantial action if we want to avoid the catastrophic impacts of global warming," says Dr Diesendorf.

In a recent opinion piece published in New Matilda, he argued that pressure from the "Greenhouse Mafia" - his term for a loose coalition of big industry greenhouse gas emitters and exporters - is limiting the growth of the renewable energy industry and protecting fossil-fuel based industries. This pressure, he argues, has led to failures by the Rudd Government to honour several 2007 election commitments on the Renewable Energy Fund, the Energy Innovation Fund, the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and its response to the Garnaut Climate Change Review.

"While it is possible that most of the 2007 promises will be implemented in some form in the near future, the long delay indicates that the Government is unwilling to treat climate change as an urgent issue and give strong support for renewable energy, despite its rhetoric," says Diesendorf. "The need for a growing climate action movement is clear."

The Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne has welcomed the new book: "Since the Rudd Government has made it clear that it will not voluntary do what it takes to protect the climate, the time has now come for the community to demand it of them. Mark Diesendorf's new book is a welcome call to action on the climate crisis," she says.

Public symposium and book launch

The IES will host a free public symposium and book launch on Wednesday 26 August from 6 to 8pm at UNSW. ABC science journalist and broadcaster Robyn Williams will chair the symposium. Symposium speakers will be: Senator Christine Milne (Australian Greens), Dr Sarah Maddison (School of Social Sciences & International Studies, UNSW) and Dr Mark Diesendorf (Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW)


WHENWednesday 26 August, 6.00-8.00 pm
WHEREKeith Burrows Theatre, UNSW, Kensington, Map J14
BOOKINGSFree, no bookings required, all welcome
TRANSPORTBuses to UNSW Anzac Parade entrance; parking station entrance in Barker St (N18).
INFORMATIONSarah Terkes 02-9385 5759,

Book details

Climate Action: A campaign manual for greenhouse solutions by Mark Diesendorf
9781742230184, UNSW Press, July 2009, 256pp, PB, 234x153mm

Media contacts
Mark Diesendorf, 0402 940 892
Dan Gaffney, UNSW Media, 0411 156 015
Tim Hollo, for Senator Christine Milne, 0437 587 562