Warsaw hosts the UN climate conference this week, an assembly that draws protests both peaceful and ambitious. Despite discouraging news that Japan is beginning to renege on its emission reduction goals and that the government of Australia is on a path to repeal its own climate rules currently in place, marchers today descended upon the Public Square in Warsaw during the United Nations climate conference, which is also referred to as the “Conference of the Parties,” or COP19. Marching and singing, the activists moved past the National Stadium where the COP19 is being held, bearing a banner reading, “”Social Justice and Positive Energy for Everyone,” and hoping to draw attention to the cause of climate change.
The peaceful protest, organized by Poland’s Green Party, attracted activists from around Europe. The director of Greenpeace in Poland, Maciek Muskat, drew attention to the diverse origins of the protestors, stating that, “We hope that the diversity of the groups attending this march is a clear message to the Polish government, as well as the governments of Europe and the world, that further inaction in the light of accelerating climate change is unacceptable for the electorate.” Germans representing the Friends of the Earth rolled a giant globe along the route. Greenpeace drew attention to the ‘Arctic 30’ by holding up the pictures of 30 of their members who were arrested aboard a Greenpeace ship after protesting oil drilling in the Arctic region, calling for their release from the Russian jail in which they are being held. According to Russian authorities, the Arctic 30 will be held for a minimum of three months.
The conference in Warsaw has also drawn its share of protests from those who deny that global warming exists. During an assembly of more than 50,000 people celebrating Poland’s Independence Day, David Rothbard, president of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) warned the assembled that the global warming programs initiated by the UN are a sign that the UN is attempting a “a complete economic transformation of the world.” Together with the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), CFACT will be stationed in Warsaw during the month of November as they host scientific conferences and meetings in order to protest the idea of climate change with what it believes is strong scientific evidence that humans are not responsible for creating a global warming crisis.
The “climate skeptics” also warned the crowd that the programs designed by the United Nations to prevent global warming are limiting options among poor people and taking away the rights of the people.
For the climate change activists protesting during Warsaw’s hosting of the UN Conference, their main goal is that wealthy countries make a strong monetary pledge to assist with climate change reduction and the practical application of it within developing countries. Climate change programs have historically focused on reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power. Also on the agenda is a promise that developed nations will come to the next climate leadership summit in September armed with far-reaching plans to avert climate change through the reduction of emissions.
By Jennifer Pfalz