Thousands of people will take to the streets in New York on Sunday, joining hundreds of thousands more around the world, to demand action to stop climate change, as world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations.
In the global ‘People’s Climate’ march, people in more than 160 countries will join more than 2,800 peaceful events and rallies, calling for commitment at the first UN climate negotiations since the failed Copenhagen conference in 2009. From Kathmandu to Adelaide, hundreds of thousands of people have already taken part.
The main event will take place in New York at 11:30am, when over 100,000 people are expected to march, but the international nature of the protests reflects the scale of the climate problem.
“With hundreds of thousands marching in more than 2,500 protests worldwide, this is by a long way the largest climate mobilisation in history. It’s a wake up call to politicians that climate change is not a green issue anymore, it’s an everybody issue,” said Ricken Patel, executive director of the global civic organisation Avaaz.
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“The public has heard our scientists that everything we love is under threat, and we’re prepared to fight for the only solution – a world powered by 100% safe, clean, sustainable energy.”
“I will link arms with those marching for climate action,” Ban said.
“We stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future.”
Elsewhere, Rio’s famous statue of Christ the Redeemer will be turned green, and protestors in London will gather outside the Conservative party headquarters to demand climate change be pushed up the agenda.
In the Pacific Islands, from Tonga to Tuvalu to Tokelau, people rallied for the future of their threatened homes, while in Tanzania, the Maasai marched for the protection of their traditional lands.
Some 125 world leaders will meet in New York on Tuesday, joined by business and finance leaders and NGOs, in talks convened by Ban to pave the way for success at the crucial 2015 climate summit in Paris.
In those talks, governments must agree on a binding deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below the agreed threshold of 2C from pre-industrial times.
Beyond 2C, scientists fear that irreversible tipping points will be crossed, causing devastation around the world – from rising sea levels to droughts and from famine to war.
Currently, the nations of the world are on track to emit enough carbon to smash through the 2C barrier within the next few decades.
For a live stream of People’s Climate actions around the world, visit http://peoplesclimate.org/
Photo: Rakkhi Samarasekera via Flickr