Climate Conference of Madrid, Spain
We attended the Red Line demonstration in the city of Paris today. In light of the recent Paris attacks, it was unclear whether the event would take place. However, approximately 10,000 people gathered peacefully today to dance, sing, march and chant. The police were in attendance, ensuring the safety of all participants.
The Red Line represents climate injustice. It stretched from the Arc de Triomphe and pointed toward La Défense area, where the major fossil fuel company headquarters are located.
In this blog post, we will highlight some protest signs and the reasons and facts behind them.
This sign calls for a halt on nuclear energy production as a solution to climate change. Nuclear energy does not involve the burning of fossil fuels and in turn limits the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Due to this fact, many people feel an increase in Nuclear energy is a solution to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. However, the opposition question the safety of the plants, where the nuclear waste will be disposed, financial expense and the carbon emissions from building the plants. The organizations backing the idea of putting a halt to nuclear production as a solution to climate change include Amis de la Terre, France Nature Environment, Greenpeace, Heinrich Boll Foundation and Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire.
The current international goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius has been criticized by many climate activists. They argue that the 2-degrees increase is a death sentence for poor and vulnerable countries that are already experiencing the effects of climate change such as harsher droughts and sea-level rise. Instead, they propose limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. The final draft of the Paris agreement commits to “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” However, this draft has not been voted on yet.
Agribusiness refers to large-scale factory farming that is pesticide and fertilizer dependent. According to the Climate Institute, agriculture is responsible for 25% of the greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere, and cites agriculture as being responsible for nearly 1/3 of climate change. Peasant agriculture, on the other hand, signifies small-scale farming. Small scale farms are the antithesis of large, monoculture farms, using minimal or no pesticides and fertilizer, planting many different species and planting crops appropriate for the climate meaning less reliance on irrigation.
Burning fossil fuels releases a lot of greenhouse gases and majorly contributes to anthropogenic climate change. Climate activists view fossil fuels as the root cause of climate change and argue that cutting down on the production and use of fossil fuels is the key to reaching the international goal of limiting warming to below 2°C. Since fossil fuels are removed from the ground through drilling and mining, activists use the slogan "leave it in the ground" implying there should be a complete halt to fossil fuel extraction.
Ecosocialists, especially from the United States and Canada, believe that capitalism is a major driving force of climate change. They argue that environmental degradation and social injustice stems from a for-profit driven model of society. Therefore, ecosocialism promotes working outside the current for-profit economic and political model in order to achieve climate justice. These activists are calling for an end to capitalism, believing that will help halt climate change.