“THERE IS NO ‘PLAN B’ AS WE HAVE NO ‘PLANET B’”
Over 500,000 people marched for climate change awareness from around the globe on Sunday in the lead up the United Nations Climate Summit in New York on Sept. 23 (U.S. time).
More than 120 world leaders are expected to attend the summit.
Organisers of the People’s Climate March said events took place in over 2,000 worldwide locations. Marches saw 310,000 gather in New York, 40,000 in London, 30,000 in Melbourne and 25,000 in Paris.
Even a couple hundred of New Zealanders marched down Queen Street — possibly putting the rest of us to shame for being too preoccupied with the frenzy we called an election on Saturday.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who will host the summit, took part in New York’s demonstration alongside the likes of Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist.
"This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live," Ban told reporters at the march. "There is no 'Plan B' because we do not have 'Planet B'."
This is the first time leaders will be meeting since the unsuccessful 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen. However, the purpose of this summit is not negotiations, but rather an opportunity to generate discussion about green initiatives amongst the leaders of the global community. The UN hopes these discussions will aid in the lead up to a scheduled 2015 meeting in Paris — one that hopes to create a formal agreement amongst nations to cut greenhouse gases.
Critics of how effective this summit will be, such as major carbon polluters China, India, Canada and Australia are said not to be attending. New Zealand will be represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, who will also be advocating for NZ’s bid for a seat on the UN security council during his trip.
However, the summit did receive a boost after the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry promised a commitment of making climate change “front and centre of all our diplomatic efforts.”
“While we are confronting [ISIS], and we are confronting terrorism and we are confronting Ebola, this also has an immediacy that people have come to understand,” Kerry said to a recent gathering of foreign ministers. “There is a long list of important issues before all of us, but the grave threat that climate change poses warrants a prominent position on that list.”
Syria is bombed, refugees flee to Turkey border: The U.S. and several allies officially launched their bomb campaign on Syria Monday night (U.S. time) in their efforts to combat the Islamic State — a major escalation in the conflict which was, until now, confined to Iraq. This follows a week of reports stating 130,000 Kurdish Syrians have fled the country into Turkey in recent days due to the continuous advancement of Islamic State territory.
Chad looks to ban homosexuality: As Western countries increasingly look to legalise gay marriage, Chad is in the process of banning same-sex relations through government enforcement. If legislation it passed, it will be become the 37th country in Africa with anti-gay laws. According to Amnesty International, four of the continent’s 54 countries have death penalties in place for homosexuality.
Fiji votes: In midst of New Zealand’s own election, Fiji went to the polls for the first time in eight years since the military coup of 2006. The same man who seized power following the coup, Frank Bainimarama, was elected as prime minister in the democratic election.
Hong Kong students boycott: Thousands of university students boycotted classes and begun demonstrations in a weeklong protest against China’s decision to restrict the democratic elections of Hong Kong’s top official in 2017. Chinese officials announced August citizens will have the opportunity to vote, but only after candidates meet the approval of a pro-Beijing nominating committee.