16 December 2015
Local supporters of environmental organisations in Faversham and Canterbury attended events surrounding the conference on climate change (COP21) which concluded on Saturday with a global agreement to tackle climate change.
Tim Valentine of Swale Green Party and Bernie Mothes of Swale Friends of the Earth were in Paris to attend the fringe events taking place at the conference itself and at venues across Paris.
Recent terror attacks in Paris led to the state of emergency, which initially curtailed the demonstrations scheduled to stiffen the resolve of negotiators at the start of the two-week conference. But the state of emergency did not stop activists from all over the world gathering in Paris, to exchange experiences, information and tactics in the struggle to reduce our dependence to coal, oil and gas and promote 100% renewable energy.
The French state lifted the emergency powers for the final day, permitting a demonstration attended by 15,000 people near the Arc de Triomphe. The event marked past and future victims of climate change with a 2 minute silence, and reminded world leaders of the ‘red lines’ that must not be crossed if global warming is to be kept “well below 2°C” as agreed.
Said Bernie: ‘Seeing so many people coming together with the aim of pushing for a meaningful deal was a tremendous experience, and gave me a renewed sense of hope for the future. It is now up to all of us to make sure that the promise that was generated in Paris is fulfilled by our leaders around the world.’
Tim added: ‘It was inspiring to hear first-hand about the campaign victories people have won to ban fracking (for example in New York State), and stop pipelines to export oil (for example the Canadian tar sands). There was a very optimistic mood. The chant at the final demonstration was: “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.” To fulfil the very ambitious promise our Government has made, we need everybody - local people, government and companies - to improve our energy efficiency, switch to renewable energy, and develop local, sustainable food production as soon as possible. The opportunities are huge.”
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