Beating climate change, either lead or get out of the way

The People’s Climate March in London on Sunday 21 September, is part of a global weekend of action on climate change. More than 2000 events are planned over 6 continents, including huge rallies in New York and London. The march is to show the support for the New York Climate Summit on Tuesday 23 September 2014. The summit, called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, will be attended by more than 120 world leaders including David Cameron and Barack Obama. It will be the largest gathering of world leaders to discuss climate change since the Copenhagen Summit in 2009.

Yesterday, over half a million people in 160 countries across the world marched against climate change. What clearer signal can there be to policy leaders that they need to either lead or get out of the way?

Leading means using tomorrow’s climate summit to show that governments are going to take decisive action towards capping runaway CO2 emissions and stand up to the fossil fuel industry. If they are unable or unwilling to do this they need to get out of the way of the millions of their electorate who see the fatal cracks in the ice. Yesterday’s global act of solidarity adds an exclamation point to the rapidly growing number of people who are demanding that industry be accountable to the planet.

Alongside yesterday’s historic march was the announcement of historic CO2 emissions in 2013. On Sunday a report was released that, with China emitting more per capita than the US and the EU combined, global emissions surged last year to previously unheard of numbers. India and the US were cited as being complicit in this massive blow to our planet, but they are far from alone

In light of this, we are millions who necessarily must not back down. Now is the time, en masse, to be ready to step into the vacuum left behind by our leaders if they continue to shy away from resource-hungry businesses and their desperate cash-grabs.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon’s ask to our world leaders tomorrow is clear: “arrive in New York armed with bold ideas to stem the impact of climate change.”

For us, our mission is clear: at every possible opportunity remind the people who we’ve elected that we want them to put Planet Earth first. This means that, even as the sun set on our fragile globe yesterday, the march does not end there. It continues in our hearts and minds and is expressed through audacious acts to keep climate change at the top of our leaders’ agendas. Whether they discuss economics, health or security, if tackling environmental threats doesn’t figure into their plans, there is no discussion at all.

Join us on October 4th as we again stand up for our planet and take to the streets to remind our leaders about the biggest threat to our planet’s future.

Arin de Hoog is the interim head of news with Greenpeace International

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