TheCompensators* are happy about these results: In the run-up to the UN Climate Change conference in New York one week ago, hundreds of thousands of people all around the world protested against climate change. In Berlin protesters danced, in New York they sang against Wall Street capitalists, and in Melbourne 30.000 of them showed their disappointment with Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s unreasonable climate policy. These events were orchestrated by Avaaz, an environmental organisation that is currently collecting signatures for a gradual reduction of CO2 emissions.
“Silent Climate Parade” in Berlin
Watching the protesters from the sidelines must have been amusing: Ten thousand people accompanied the protest by bike or danced towards the Brandenburger Tor, listening to electronic dance music over headphones. “We received instructions via wifi headset“, one of the protesters explained, “suddenly they’d say `Freeze!´ and everyone would stand still. People who didn’t know about this must have thought they’re out of their minds.”
Although the protesters in the various locations addressed the same issue, in every city there were other measures to express it. While the “Silent Climate Parade” intended to denounce the ignorance of those who still deny climate change, protesters in Melbourne mainly criticised Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott. In July he repealed a law that regulates taxes for carbon emissions.
In New York, 300.000 people staged a protest that rather looked like a parade: with costumes, instruments, and whole choirs they expressed their disappointment with current climate protection policy. They sang “we’re not gonna take it anymore” and “shut down Wall Street now”. Youtube channel Acronym TV has captured impressive pictures.
Al Gore: “Political will is a renewable resource”
Celebrities such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, and ex vice US president Al Gore – who likes to talk about “inconvenient truths” – joined the protesters in New York before speaking in front of the representatives of the member states. Not all of their leaders had come: German chancellor Angela Merkel preferred to attend a festive event of the German industrial lobby.
The summit had been convened by Ban Ki-moon. His intention was not to discuss further actions concerning the Kyoto Protocol (which is scheduled for the COP at Paris in 2015) but to remind the UN of the present dangers arising from climate change. Thus, the leaders who came made vigorous speeches. US president Obama said that action must be taken immediately, especially by the worst polluters like the US and China. Germany’s Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks announced that Germany was willing to reduce its emissions by 40% compared to the level of 1990. Furthermore, she promised to withdraw development aid where it enforces coal-fired power stations. Manuel Barroso, president of the EU-commission, presented the EU’s plan to give three billion euros to developing countries during the next seven years to help them establish their sustainable energy programs.
What all these big words really mean will be revealed in Paris in 2015. But the breathtaking mobilization of environmentalists worldwide showed our world leaders that they cannot continue sweeping climate change under the carpet.