About 200 environmental activists marched through the streets in Sydney and blockaded the Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd's office claiming the government was not doing enough for protecting the climate.
The protest comes just before a government legislation on the carbon-emission trading scheme (CTS) is to appear before the Senate later this month, which the activists seek to block. After being approved by the Australian parliament, the introduction of the scheme is planned to be delayed till 2011 to allow the global economy to recover, a delay criticised by the activists.
Protesters, comprising families, children and the elderly, in all numbering 6,000, dressed in red, also demonstrated in the country's state capitals and Canberra to deliver their green message. They carried banners with slogan like ''climate action now" and "human need, not corporate greed".
The rallies saw participation from environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society, demanding the dropping of the carbon emission scheme and its substitution by a "Plan B" that calls for de-commissioning of coal-fired power stations. Another demand is for a goal to shift completely to renewable energy by 2020.
The alternative ''Plan B'' has been mooted by groups representing over 400,000 Australian citizens. (See: Environmentalists moot alternative to Australia's environmental trading scheme)
Australian Greens climate change spokeswoman Christine Milne, is aiming to block CTS, under fire for not being ambitious enough, unless there was a commitment to 40 per cent cuts by 2020.
New South Wales Greens upper house MP Lee Rhiannon addressed the crowd at Sydney with the message that the government's scheme would continue its reliance on fossil fuels, and called for urgent action to tackle runaway climate change. She reportedly called the carbon scheme a "scam".
On the other hand, Australian industry would like to see a delay in the implementation of the scheme. The Business Council of Australia said it wanted to see certain issues pertaining to the effect of the scheme on miners, power generators and emission heavy industries resolved before it became official.
Climate change minister Penny Wong came to the defense of the government, saying, "The best way to take action on climate change is for senators to pass these laws that will for the first time reduce Australia's carbon pollution."
Australian National University earth sciences visiting fellow Andrew Glikson sympathised with the protests saying government emissions targets were not adequate and lamented the absence of scientists as government advisors.
The Australian federal police, under the climate laws, would be required to take action against under-reporting of carbon emissions and bogus carbon offset schemes as the carbon market becomes lucrative.
The UN is due to hold climate change talks at Copenhagen in December 2009 and the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labour Party has promised carbon cuts of 25 per cent by 2020 if the talks end up with an ambitious agreement.