Thousands of youth are walking out of school to participate in anti-climate change rallies across Australia. Up to 50,000 students are expected to join “School Strike 4 Climate”, a campaign led by young people to push action on the issue of the climate crisis. The country has faced criticisms for not setting more ambitious emission targets. Youth protesters are calling out the government to halt the opening of new coal, oil, and gas projects in Australia. Protesters are also pushing to transition away from using fossil fuels and into using 100% renewable energy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire for his climate policies and is pressured to increase efforts to reduce pollution. At a global climate summit held last month, Morrison rejected demands to set more ambitious carbon emission goals, even as other major nations pledged to reduce more emissions. Australia is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world on a per capita basis. According to the country’s science and weather agencies, the temperature rose by 1.4 degrees Celsius on average since national records began in 1910. This led to extreme weather conditions and increased forest fires. The government has vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through technology and is leaning on a gas-led transition across the country. But critics and youth protesters argue that the government should invest in renewable energy resources instead of gas. “Simply put, gas doesn’t make economic sense in Australia anymore… it increases emissions at a time when the rest of the world is reducing emissions, and it creates very few jobs,” Nicki Hutley said, an economist at the Climate Council.