CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A bid by environmentalists to confront world leaders with a digital billboard highlighting climate change has been thwarted by Brisbane airport authorities who deemed the message too political.
Brisbane Airport will be the Australian gateway for leaders of 20 economies when they gather in the Queensland state capital next week for the annual G20 summit.
Dermot O'Gorman, chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund, said Monday he was surprised that the Brisbane Airport Corp. had refused to allow the climate change message in the international arrivals hall as part of the #onmyagenda campaign.
The campaign is supported by nine environment groups and encourages people to tweet G20 leaders asking them to include climate change as a stand-alone item on the G20 agenda, as it was on the previous eight G20 summits.
"The reality is climate change is a global problem affecting economies, societies and environments all around the world, we can't afford to sweep it under the carpet," O'Gorman said in a statement.
The ad was to feature Australian farmer David Bruer with the caption: "Action on climate change is #onmyagenda. Please put it on yours."
Airport spokeswoman Leonie Vandeven said the corporation's policy was to refuse advertising that "has political intent."
"The examples in this particular case were deemed to have political intent as they were designed to generate a political response on a specific policy issue," Vandeven said in a statement, referring to similar ads featuring a farmer and firefighter.
Australia is chairing the G20 summit and has resisted pressure from countries including the United States to include climate change on the economic forum's agenda.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's 14-month-old government has been widely criticized for repealing a carbon tax which had been paid by 350 of Australia's worst greenhouse gas polluters for two years.
WWF on Monday launched a similar billboard ad in a Brisbane street close to the G20 venue featuring a firefighter, WWF spokesman Mark Symons said.