After spray painting slogans like “climate duty of care” on walls outside of both buildings, as well as setting a pram on fire on Tuesday morning, eight Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested.
Three men and two women were arrested at Parliament House and another three men were arrested at The Lodge.
The group said that their actions were an appropriate response to a government “that fails to protect its citizens and abandons future generations to the hell of climate breakdown.”
“We take responsibility for our actions and are willing to face the consequences, unlike our politicians who won’t even acknowledge they have a duty of care to the children of this country,” a member of Extinction Rebellion said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vandalism seen at the capital was not “the Australian way.”
“I don’t associate in any way, shape, or form that foolishness with the good-hearted nature of Australians who care deeply about this issue, as I do,” he told reporters.
“They have no part with that foolishness today, any more than we have seen in other selfish protests around this country.”
Tuesday’s protest comes after the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first instalment of its Sixth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.”
For those receptive to the report, it delivers a message about the serious consequences of climate change and the need to end fossil fuel use. Those who are skeptical pointed to the failure of the IPCC in predicting climate change in past reports.
The report, authored by hundreds of scientists from across the world, predicts global temperature increases are almost certain to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, surpassing the 1.5 degrees C target set by the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.
“This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” said António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, in a statement. “There must be no new coal plants built after 2021.”
Guterres’ proclamation comes amid increasing uncertainty around Australia’s future energy security after the government’s Energy Security Board warned the prime minister and state premiers that Australia may face blackouts and price spikes if the rapid renewables rollout isn’t backed by a complete overhaul to the nation’s energy grid.
Over the last three months alone, unplanned outages forced Australasia’s largest aluminium smelter in NSW to power down five times in two weeks, left 400,000 Queenslanders without power, and propelled average household energy across most of Australia to three times that of last year.
Morrison did not make any new emissions reduction commitments on Tuesday and reiterated the need to deal with the issue through technology, not taxes.
“I won’t be signing a blank cheque on behalf of Australians to targets without plans,” he said.
Daniel Khmelev and Nathan Worcester contributed to this report.