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Australians Save Shuttered Climate Council By Crowdfunding AUD $800K in Three Days

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 30 2013

Australia gets hotter and drier (ed 37 ~~ / Flickr)

Australian citizens were outraged after Australia's new prime minister Tony Abbot shuttered the government-funded Climate Commission, which conducts independent studies on the effects of climate change. Instead of merely expressing their anger and disappointment, however, citizens have put their money where their mouths are, funding the “new” nonprofit organization Climate Council in less than a week through an impressive crowdfunding effort.

Abbot once called evidence for climate change “absolute crap.” Meanwhile a report has found that Australia suffers more from climate change symptoms than any other country with a major economy, except for China. Temperatures there are rising faster while water resources are deteriorating.

According to the Council's Facebook page, 20,000 Australians contributed more than AUD $800,000 in only three days.

The new Climate Council is led by the exact same board members as the now defunct Climate Commission, led by Professor Tim Flannery.

Flannery has said that Environment Minister Greg Hunt did not say why the Commission was shut down, although in a statement Hunt explained that it was “part of the Coalition's plans to streamline government processes and avoid duplication of services, [and] the commission's function to provide independent advice and analysis on climate change will be continued by the Department of the Environment.”

That didn't go down so well with many Australian citizens. Flannery says he and the other commissioners were “deluged” by emails offering financial support so they could continue their work.

He told The Guardian:

The people who contacted us feel very strongly that they don't want to be left in the dark over climate change. We've had hundreds of people get in touch from, I must say, across the political spectrum, from hardcore libertarians to the deepest greenies. You would be astonished to know who is supporting us.

Australian citizens took a matter of importance into their own hands. When governments make decisions that don't reflect the values and desires of their citizens, is crowdfunding the answer?

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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