Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Photo Yann Levy

Photo Yann Levy

Local residents in 15,000-strong illegal march

Hastings and St Leonards residents – including two who found themselves at the head a 15,000-strong illegal march through the streets of Paris earlier this month – reported back on their experiences of the protests outside the UN climate summit at a meeting in Hastings this Sunday. The event was preceded by an hour-long musical event hosted by protestor Thad Skews.

Five local residents cycled to Paris to take part in the protests, while others travelled by coach and train. Under the current state of emergency in France, any public gathering of three of more people with a political message is illegal. Nonetheless, on 12 December Hastings residents took part in a massive unauthorised demonstration in the Avenue de la Grande Armée – and two even found themselves at the head of an illegal 15,000-strong march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower.

The deal reached in Paris – with its non-binding voluntary pledges by countries to cut carbon emissions and its failure to provide adequate funding for either a transformation to a fossil-free world or adaptation for those at the sharpest ends of climate change – has been condemned as ‘a fraud’ by renowned climate scientist James Hansen.

According to Steffen Kallbekken, director of the Centre for International Climate and Energy Policy, ‘by the time the pledges come into force in 2020, we will probably have used the entire carbon budget consistent with 1.5°C warming’, while temperatures will be set to rise to at least 2.7°C above the pre-industrial average even if all pledges are carried out – well above any conceivable ‘safe’ threshold.

The protests in Paris were organised as a springboard for ‘a wave of historic national and continent-wide mobilisations in 2016 targeting the fossil fuel projects that must be kept in the ground, and backing the energy solutions that will take their place.’

Milan Rai (50) said: ‘I come from Nepal, which hasn’t recovered from this year’s earthquake. Not stopping climate change is like us triggering earthquakes every year throughout the Global South, hitting the poorest people hardest. I want to stand with indigenous people around the world who say: leave fossils fuels in the ground.’

A meeting to discuss setting up a local fossil-fuel divestment campaign will take place at 2-5pm at the Friends Meeting House in South Terrace, Hastings, on Saturday 16 January 2016.

Photo Yann Levy

Photo Yann Levy

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Posted 10:34 Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015 In: Energy Wise

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