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St Leonards residents prepare to set off for Paris

St Leonards residents prepare to set off for Paris

Local cyclists head to Paris protests

At least nine Hastings and St Leonards residents are travelling to Paris this week to attend protests outside the UN Climate Summit (COP21). Four left by bike on Sunday, cycling against 45mph winds, and have now joined up with people from across the UK as part of the Time to Cycle action. You can read about their travels at Yoda In The Green. (The photo was provided by Fossil Free Hastings.)

The peaceful protests in Paris are being organised by Coalition Climat 21 – a network of over 130 civil society groups – and will be taking place despite the recent imposition of a state of emergency following the 13 November atrocities.

Over 130 countries submitted pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions in advance of the summit. However, even if these were all fully implemented, this would still result in 2.7 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, well above the dangerous 2 degrees threshold that even world leaders at the 2009 Climate Summit recognised should not be crossed.

In the non-binding ‘Copenhagen Accord’ issued at the end of the 2009 UN Climate Summit (COP19), ‘The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other
heads of delegation present’ noted that ‘To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius … enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change.’ United Nations Framework for Climate Change.

However, even the 2 degrees ‘target’ now appears to be much more dangerous than was previously believed. The National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Sunday 29 November saw the largest global climate march in history with an estimated 785,000 people taking part in some 2,300 events in 175 countries across the world. In Paris, some 10,000 people joined arms to form a human chain along the 3km route of the banned march. The ongoing protests are being 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.’ 350.org: Get Ready For Bold Action.

A report-back session from Paris will be taking place in Hastings at 7pm on Sunday 20 December at the Observer Building in Cambridge Road, preceded by an hour long music event.

Abby Nicol (30) said: “I’m cycling to Paris for the climate talks to show solidarity with all the people, animals, plants and soils that will be affected by procrastinating politicians and climate change denying lobbyists”.

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”.

Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn join global unions at COP21 event

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is among trade unions meeting at COP21 in Paris to discuss the global climate crisis and the role of unions in addressing it.

Speakers will include social activist and author, Naomi Klein and leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The ITF is co-sponsoring the event as a member of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED).

Chair of the ITF’s climate justice working group, Asbjørn Wahl, is heading up the ITF team at COP21. He said: “This is an opportunity for trade unions and their allies to come together and really thrash out what our next steps are on tackling climate change.

“Massive expansion of public transport is one of the most important measures if we want to avoid the devastating and immediate impact of climate change. More investment in sustainable public transport will not only reduce emissions and pollution, it would also create jobs and promote social equality.

“A solution to climate change isn’t a nice to have. There has to be real progress in this area and quickly.”

Follow coverage on twitter: @ITFglobalunion #COP21 #unions4climate and via the ITF climate change blog

Access more on the work of the ITF and affiliated unions around climate justice.

 

Posted 21:29 Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015 In: Energy Wise

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