The weekend ahead of the United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) on climate change, now taking place in Paris, the world's major cities saw hundreds of thousands of citizens in 175 countries marching for a clear and binding agreement that will keep global warming below +2o C.
In Europe, London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Frankfurt, Dublin, Copenhagen, Graz, Genova, Kiev, Edinburgh, Stockholm, Oslo, were some of the cities that hosted impressive and imaginative rallies calling for a deal on 100% clean energy for all. The climate rallies in London, Madrid, Rome and Berlin stood out as the most massive, gathering over 100,000 people. In an empty Paris, over 20,000 pairs of shoes filled the Place de la Republique in an iconic still climate march, while hundreds of protesters defying the ban on public protests and rallies clashed with police forces.
Emma Ruby-Sachs, Campaign Director of Avaaz said: "The momentum from this weekend's marches calling on leaders in Paris to commit to a transition to 100% energy is simply unprecedented. Records were broken across the world, from Bangladesh to Britain, with over 785,000 people taking part in the largest ever global climate marches ever.”
“The common march of thousands for climate change was a loud voice, which has been silenced in the chaos of the economic crisis, but is looking for outlets to the noise that needs to be made in order to get politicians to act on the global climate crisis”, commented Dimitris Ibrahim, from Greenpeace Greece, and Theodota Nantsou, from WWF Greece. According to Regine Günther, WWF Germany’s climate and energy policy director, “German citizens clearly stand for more climate protection and the Energiewende energy policy reform. Paris can send to the entire world an important message that the end to the fossil era has come – the final word however lies with the national governments, which must be serious in dealing with the climate crisis.”