Published 26th September 2009 - 4 comments - 2236 views -
On one single day, 2,682 events, in 135 countries, in 5 continents – this is popular mobilisation!
PEOPLE SPOKE OUT
Millions of people around the globe called on their leaders to “WAKE UP!”. Climate change is the most pressing issue facing humanity today. What is needed is political will on a global scale if we are really going to do something about it in Copenhagen, in just 72 days from today.
Tens of thousands of phone calls crashing government lines, unbelievable creativity and diversity of events, directly reaching heads of state and cabinet ministers from Australia to Europe.
The Global Climate Wake Up Call, organised by the campaigning organisation Avaaz, was covered by hundreds of major news outlets and made the evening news everywhere from Germany to New Zealand. Europe's environment chief, Stravos Dimas, praised "the mobilisation of so many people by Avaaz", and the Spanish environment minister, Elena Espinosa, called the action "extraordinary". After a deluge of votes and phone calls from the UK, Prime Minister Gordon Brown became the first major world leader to agree to Avaaz and other NGOs’ demand to go to Copenhagen, taking a phone call personally and saying that with "the pressure that can be brought by organisations like yours... what people think is impossible can become possible".
World leaders heard their citizens.
What happened next morning?
LEADERS JUST OFFERED POETIC WORDS
The following day, on 22 September, world leaders met in New York for an extraordinary climate summit, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, amid concerns that talks due in December are heading for failure.
While many spoke of good intentions, those suffering from famine, drought and flooding now and in future generations need more than words. Other than Japan, who publicly re-affirmed plans to cut carbon emissions by 25 % by 2020, solid proposals from other nations were missing in this high level summit.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN ASAP?
Governments must start tabling genuine commitments that will translate into action.
Basically, the world needs two things to happen: drastic cuts in emissions and substantial cash to help developing countries cope with the devastating climate impacts and reduce their emissions.
Experts say global CO2 emissions must fall at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. If emissions are not cut fast enough, and global warming is allowed to exceed 2°C (average temperature has already risen by almost 0.8°C), the impact on water resources, food production, sea levels, and ecosystems is predicted to be catastrophic for millions of people.
It’s time for heads of state to step up as world leaders and start putting adequate figures on the table.
We do not have the luxury of time with climate change. Too long have these negotiations been treated like trade talks, with countries watching out for their own individual interests.
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