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More than 370,000 sign e-petition for climate emergency declaration

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“The result of these changes will be catastrophic for future generations, and so we must act now to minimise both human and environmental destruction.”

As an official parliamentary e-petition, the signatures theoretically carry more weight than other online petitions by organisations such as Change.org that do not require signatories to confirm they are residents or citizens of Australia.

But while the tampon tax was eventually axed in January this year, six months after the 104,185-signature e-petition was submitted to Parliament, it’s unclear whether the petition to declare a climate emergency will have the same success.

On Tuesday, the government voted down a motion by Greens MP Adam Bandt, supported by Labor and the crossbench, to declare a climate emergency.

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When asked how the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor planned to respond to the petition, a spokesman forwarded his speech to Parliament on Tuesday in which he described the proposed declaration as an “absolutely empty gesture” from Labor and the Greens.

“Labor is making a huge song and dance about declaring a climate emergency, yet refuses to commit to a single policy in this area from the last election,” Mr Taylor said on Tuesday.

Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler said it was “no surprise” that the government voted against debating the motion, “considering emissions have been rising ever since 2014 and given the government’s own data projects emissions continuing to rise all the way to 2030.

“Parliaments in the UK, Canada and several other nations have already passed resolutions recognising climate change as an emergency and it is time that our Parliament did the same,” he said.

While the petition to declare a climate emergency is the biggest e-petition to be put to Parliament, it falls short of at least two pen and paper petitions since signatures were first recorded in 1988.

In 2014, a petition concerning the funding of community pharmacies became the biggest put to Parliament, with a total of 1,210,471 signatures. The second-largest petition, with 792,985 signatures, was presented in December 2000 over the GST on beer.

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