Climate Change Summit: Global rallies demand action

September 22, 2014 6:38 PM |

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon Street protests demanding urgent action on climate change have attracted hundreds of thousands of marchers in about 2,000 locations worldwide. Similar protests have been held in about 160 countries around the world, so far.

The New York rally was part of a global protest that included events in 156 countries - Afghanistan, UK, Italy and Brazil were also among them. Following are some of the highlights of the protests at several locations.

  • In London, the protest march attracted about 40,000 people, including actress Emma Thompson, who had  linked the threat of climate change to a Martian invasion
  • Some 30,000 people marched in Melbourne, Australia. Demonstrators urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to take concrete action in the direction, citing fears that climate change could lead to more bushfires and droughts
  • Organisers have said that more than 25,000 marched in Paris for the cause
  • About 15,000 people marched in Berlin. Organisers urged world leaders to recognise climate change as a pressing problem
  • In Rio de Janeiro, some 5,000 marchers turned out on the roads. Environmental slogans and a green heart were projected onto the famed statue of Christ the Redeemer, overlooking the city
  • Smaller protests, attracting numbers in the hundreds or low thousands,  were also seen in the cities such as Bogota, Barcelona, Jakarta and Delhi

On Tuesday, the UN will host a Climate Summit at its headquarters in New York, which will be attended by 125 heads of states and governments. This is the first such gathering since the unsuccessful climate conference held in Copenhagen in 2009.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon hopes that through this Summit, leaders can progress towards a universal agreement that is to be signed by all nations at the end of 2015. The People's Climate March is campaigning for curbs on carbon emissions, ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday. In Manhattan, organisers said some 310,000 people joined a march that was also attended by Ban Ki-moon.New York hosted the largest of Sunday's protests, drawing more than half of the 600,000 marchers estimated by organisers to have taken part in rallies around the world.

Another protest, another climate conference - Will this time be any different?

Well, this protest march has brought many people on to the streets than ever before, partly thanks to the organisational power of the e-campaign group Avaaz. The climate talks will also be influenced by technology, as it was reported this week that the sun and wind can often generate power as cheaply as gas in Texas.

UN's Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, hopes that he can make a fresh start in the climate talks. World leaders are due to show up in Paris in 2015 to settle a global climate deal based on open co-operative offers of action to tackle a shared problem and not on a bitterly-contested chiselling negotiation in the middle of the night.

Ban has invited leaders to New York to make their offers public. Some small nations will undoubtedly make new contributions to the carbon contraction effort, as they realise the vulnerability of their own economies to a hotter world. However, some big players may continue the game of climate poker, holding back their offers until they see what else is on the table.

Though there is no guarantee that Ban's idea will work but at least for weary climate politics watchers it will be a change.






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