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350.Aotearoa in Christchurch: Campaigners gather Support

25 August 2013

350.Aotearoa in Christchurch: Campaigners gather Support

Climate change campaigners in Christchurch at the weekend were pleased with the support they received from the public.

“People were great,” said Anthony Field, spokesperson for the group 350.Aotearoa in Christchurch. “A lot of people supported us in our cause and many thanked us for taking a stand. Most people seemed to be looking for more genuine action from the government on climate change and people were horrified to find that the government actually subsidises fossil fuel companies.”

Campaigners set themselves up outside various petrol stations at different times during the weekend. They handed out mock $10 notes to passing motorists to signify the money that the government gives to big international oil companies every year.

“This year, the Key government gave $46 million in subsidies to big international oil companies,” said Field. “That equates to about $10 from each and every one of us.”

The 350.Aotearoa campaign encourages people to think about other ways to spend the money. “Rather than giving cash to some of the most profitable corporations in the world, the government should be spending money to help ordinary New Zealanders. We need money for welfare, for health and education, for renewables and for conservation.”

Many of the people who spoke to campaigners wanted serious action to tackle climate change. “The public seems to understand that we all need to be moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Fields. “So it makes no sense at all to subsidise the companies that contribute most to climate change.”

350.Aotearoa is part of an international movement which campaigns to get action to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels down to 350 parts per million. That’s the level that scientists tell us is necessary to maintain a stable and safe climate. Currently the level is at around 400ppm and it is still rising because governments have not yet made strong commitments to end our reliance on fossil fuels.

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