Thousands of Australian students protested today against the government's policy on climate change, after the UN pointed out that Australia is one of the countries that will not fulfill its agreed commitment to reduce polluting gases by 2030.
"We know why we are here, to ask politicians to take immediate action against climate change," said Jean Hichliffe, 14, before the crowd of high school students in the city of Sydney, remarking that he wants the energy is "one hundred percent renewable".
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "more learning in schools and less activism" is needed, in reference to these planned school protests.
The same Morrison, while holding the position of head of the Treasury, took in February 2017 to the Parliament a piece of coal saying "do not be afraid, it will not hurt you".
"If people in Parliament listened to science and took action, we would not have to take actions like this," he said during the Hitchliffe demonstration, according to the images released by the SBS network.
In other cities such as Melbourne or Adelaide, hundreds of students also gathered in front of government buildings with placards reading "do not burn our future" and singing "respect our future."
The demonstration "Strike for Climate Action" is inspired by the Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who called for action against climate change in the context of her country's elections last September.
For his part, the Australian Minister of Resources, Matt Cavanan, insisted on Friday that "what you learn best when you go to protest is how to join the ranks of unemployment," commenting that he wants children to be instructed in " how to build mines, geology and how to drill to extract oil and gas. "
Australia pledged to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, but a recent UN report indicates that "there has been no improvement in Australia's climate policy since 2017."
"The latest projections published by the government show that emissions will remain at high levels instead of being reduced in line with the 2030 targets," the document says.
Climate change is one of the thorny issues in Australia, which has seen several of its governments fall for policies regarding the removal of pollutant gas taxes or the national energy plan.
This responds to a strong conservative political sector that seeks to maintain the exploitation of fossil fuels, arguing that alternative energies or measures to mitigate climate change raise electricity rates.