The climate march was 6 times bigger than the previous ones!
Hundreds of thousands of people walked the streets all over the world on September Sunday 21st “Marching for the Climate”, a historical march in New York, with the goal to put pressure on the UN summit dedicated to climate change that took place yesterday.
The meeting gathering Heads of State at the UN Headquarters is not officially held in the context of the UN negotiations on climate that are to be held in Paris in 2015 during the COP 21, but stands as an icebreaker and allow more than 125 Heads of State to walk on the path towards an agreement.
And it is not starting well: the major polluters of the planet refused to participate, or for some, even show up. While China is, since 2008 the number one emitter of carbon dioxide, its President Xi Jinping did not greet the meeting with his presence. Even though they will be present in New York, the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (whose country occupies the 3rd place in terms of emissions) stayed away from the discussion on the climate. Vladimir Putin, the Russian President (4th) has had other priorities lately, and Japan (5th) has shown little cooperation since the Fukushima turmoil which greatly damaged the support to nuclear power.
Demonstrations all over the world
Two hours before the start, thousands of people were gathered along Central Park, holding huge cardboard sunflowers, some messages hostile to “dirty energies” or T-shirts condemning climate related starvation. Indian Americans also came in traditional outfits.
A UN Summit on Climate gathered more than 120 Heads of State and Government
The goal of this march was to push political leaders to ambitious and concrete actions against climate change, and commit before the International Conference of Parties to be held in Paris at the end of 2015.
Demonstration were organized everywhere in the world, among other cities New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Rome, Madrid, New Delhi, Melbourne or Rio de Janeiro.
According to the organizers, a total of more than 2 700 events were planned in 158 countries. Tens of thousands of people have indeed walked the streets of London. Among which were the victims of the floods in England last winter as well as the actress Emma Thompson, who is coming back from an expedition in the Arctic Circle with Greenpeace to raise awareness on the issue of ice-melting in this region.
Close to 5000 people demonstrated in Paris, in a very family friendly environment. “Yesterday, we could say that we didn’t know. Today, we know. Climate change is already a reality”, underlined Nicolas Hulot, special correspondent of the French President for the protection of the planet.
In New York, the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, freshly appointed “peace messenger” for the UN, the General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, former Vice-President Al Gore and New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the March, as well as French Foreign Office Minister Laurent Fabius and Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal.
More than 1400 groups were associated with the New York’s march, labor unions, environmentalists, scientists, students coming from 320 American campuses, artists, religious groups, hurricane Sandy’s victims. Some demonstrators were coming all the way from India, Zimbabwe, Senegal or the Marshall Islands, threatened of being swallowed by the Pacific Ocean.
After a moment of silence to pay a tribute to the victims of climate change, marchers were invited to “sound the alarm on climate” by making a maximum of noise with trumpets, vuvuzelas, percussions, bells and whitles. More than 32 marching bands were there to help.
Some figures to better understand this march
Carbon dioxide emissions have reach 35.1 billion tons in 2013, an all time record, in progression by 29% over 10 years. On a yearly basis, China, that amounts for 358 million tons, has seen an increase superior to that of all the other countries united, and it represents on its own 24.8% of the emissions produced over the past 5 years. Over the same period, 57.5% of the world’s CO2 emissions came from emerging countries.