LONDON, United Kingdom – Tens of thousands of people are taking to the streets in 150 countries around the world today to demand that their leaders do more to tackle climate change ahead of a United Nations summit on the subject due to begin in New York, USA tomorrow. The ‘People’s Climate March’ is being hailed as “the biggest global call-to-action on climate change in history,” and is already underway in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and New York, amongst hundreds of other locations.
Never willing to let a feel-good bandwagon pass them by, various actors, artists, activists and politicians are taking part by marching and giving rousing speeches, urging more government funding for alternative technologies, higher taxes, more regulation of business and reduced use of cheap carbon fuels.
The London rally, which took place this lunchtime, draw thousands. It began with a “multi-faith gathering” at the Victoria Embankment Gardens, before the ralliers marched to Parliament Square, outside the Palace of Westminster to listen to speeches. At one point the mass of people reached from Parliament Square all the way back to Temple, a distance of about a mile.
“There’s a vast latent constituency of people out there alarmed about climate change,” said Ricken Patel, head of the international Avaaz campaign group which has been instrumental in helping to organise the rallies. “But, for years, nobody has put up a banner that said that ‘this is the time, this is the place, to show that you care’. The People’s Climate March is that banner.”
— Damian Carrington (@dpcarrington) September 21, 2014
Speaking at the rally, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has told the crowd “We are living on an Earth in an interconnected world, we live on an ark. … The people in the first class cabins will not long remain impervious to the impact on poorer people in steerage – it’s just one world in which we inhabit,” adding “This is a moral issue, of course it is”.
Award-winning actress Emma Thompson has gone further, telling the London crowd “Climate change is the moral issue of our times.” Speaking earlier to The Guardian Thompson said “Unless we’re carbon-free by 2030 the world is buggered.” Interviewed by that paper in advance of the event she said “I’ve witnessed the impact climate change is already having on the melting Arctic and on poverty-stricken communities in the developing world. We can’t go on pretending nothing’s happening”.
According to data taken from the Remote Sensing System, a satellite-based monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature dataset, this month marks 18 years of no global warming – the longest continuous period with no warming ever recorded since the satellite system was first launched in 1979, despite the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere increasing significantly over that time.
— Dave Timms (@davetimms) September 21, 2014
James Hansen, a retired Nasa scientist and climate alarmist told the Guardian “The only way that fossil fuel emissions will be phased down rapidly is via an across-the-board fee/tax on carbon emissions. … That is the way to have an enforceable agreement, because border duties woud be collected from countries that do not have the fee, thus providing a strong incentive for them to have their own domestic carbon fee. Therefore I will be marching, along with several grandchildren, with Citizens Climate Lobby, which advocates fee-and-dividend.”
Last year, British households and businesses paid a record-breaking £43 billion in green taxes, according to Treasury figures, soaring by over 30 percent in the last decade. Total green tax revenues in 2013 equated to £1,629 for every household in the UK, and over £500 million was spent on renewable energy projects.
Victoria Bamford, a 66 year old gardener travelled from her home in Wales to attend the London march today. Speaking to The Guardian she said “You cannot rely on the seasons any more, and plants are getting stressed and ill. I’m no bloody expert, but we have to tackle the fossil fuel business. But I don’t think the government is doing anything.”
— Salisbury Greenpeace (@SalGreenpeace) September 21, 2014