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Australian groups launch global wave of climate protests

Protests timed to build climate change action ahead of summit, slated for September 12

By Reuters - Sep 08,2018 - Last updated at Sep 08,2018

This photo shows a tall ship displaying banners as it sails on Sydney Harbour in Australia, on Saturday, as part of global climate change protests across 95 countries organised by the New York-based lobby group 350.org (Reuters photo)

SYDNEY — Tall ships carrying climate change banners sailed into Australia's Sydney Harbour on Saturday launching a wave of protest across 95 countries organised by New York-based lobby group 350.org.

Climate change is of great concern in the Pacific region with Pacific Island nations declaring on Friday that it is their "single greatest threat" and urging Washington to return to the Paris Agreement on climate.

350.org, which had revenue of $16.8 million according to its 2017 financial statements, has co-ordinated 850 events around the world by linking local organisations, which in Australia included Get Up!, Greenpeace and the Climate Action Network.

The protests have been timed to build climate change action ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, 350.org said in a statement, where political, business and entertainment leaders including Hungary President Janos Ader, Ikea Group Chief Executive Jesper Brodin and actor Harrison Ford are scheduled to speak.

The summit, whose sponsors include Google, Facebook, the United Nations and Bloomberg Philanthropies, is planned for September 12 to 14 in California, less than 60 days before the US mid-term elections where climate is expected to be an issue.

US based lobby watchdog InfluenceWatch.org says on its website that 350.org's closely related entity 350.org Action Fund almost exclusively supports Democratic politicians in US elections. 

Chief Executive of 350.org Australia Blair Palese said her organisation does not engage in party-political lobbying.

"We really just call for action on climate across all parties and all countries... just calling for the public to ask all candidates what their positions are on climate and what kind of action they're taking," she told Reuters by telephone on Saturday.

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