Climate emergency: Activists scale Sydney Harbour Bridge in protest

SYDNEY, Sept. 24, 2018 (Xinhua) -- The multi-exposure photo taken on Sept. 23, 2018 shows the moon above the Sydney Harbour Bridge before the Mid-Autumn Festival in Sydney, Australia. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei/IANS)
A file photo shows the moon above the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Photo: IANS

Sydney: Greenpeace activists on Tuesday scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge demanding that the Australian government declare a climate emergency.

Before sunrise, three activists were found abseiling from the bridge holding placards which read '100% Renewables' while on the ground, the activists were accompanied by a group of people who have been affected by disasters caused by climate change, reports Efe news.

"Climate damage is happening right now. Australia is facing a climate emergency right now. Our political leaders must listen to those already affected by climate disaster and act," Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Ritter, said in a statement.

"Burning coal is the number one cause of climate change in Australia - but politicians from both major parties have no plan for making coal history, even though they know it puts our health, our homes and our families at risk."

The protesters included residents of the city of Townsville, which at the beginning of the year was affected by the worst floods in decades.

The New South Wales Police said that it had arrested 13 people, including the three professional climbers who were abseiling from the bridge in a sea and land operation that lasted more than three hours.

Climate change is one of the main issues of debate in the upcoming federal elections in Australia on Saturday.

A group of indigenous Torres Strait islanders lodged a formal complaint against the Australian government at the UN on Monday, claiming that their climate inaction violated their basic human rights.

The Australian government has pledged to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 with respect to 2005 levels, a target that the independent Climate Council says will not be achieved.