Friday, 27 November 2015

Concise and (hopefully) Interesting History of the People's Climate March

Humans and other affiliated gentlepeople of the internet - something awesome is happening today in Brisbane...


And if you're in Melbourne, sorry that I'm late... I only really care for Brisbane. (Untrue)

But yeah, this is happening. But it's not just happening for no reason. There is a very serious reason why around five to ten thousand people attended the Brisbane rally, and an additional fifty thousand in Melbourne.

You see, in 2009, what was expected to be an amazing step forward in the retaliation against climate change, the Copenhagen Summit, occurred. It was held in mid-December, and was attended by members of the UNFCCC, the UN's official organisation on climate change. However, during the proceedings, there were no binding contracts made - no aims for carbon emission reduction, no concrete decisions made, nothing. In fact, the subsequent documentation of the decisions made in the summit, the Copenhagen Accord, wasn't even passed, but rather, "take[n] note of". 

Thanks to widespread opposition by large countries such as the US, no valid resolution on what could be done in the future was passed. A number of island nations, led by Tuvalu, attempted to pass a more meaningful resolution, allowing for further action instead of simply "noting" the problems. However, the resolution was never enacted.

The Copenhagen Summit was deemed a failure by most who were involved, save for notable praise of the summit by Barack Obama. In fact, the event is looked at with an amount of shame, given that so little was achieved save for the publicity. And this has been the way with so many summits on climate change in the recent past.

However, there is yet another summit to occur. The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference is set to take place in early December in Paris. The aims of the conference are to achieve, for the first time, a binding, universal agreement on climate action from the nations of the world. It is expected to gather all of the members of the UNFCCC, as well as a large number of activists outside the event itself. It will be huge.

So, what does this have to do with Brisbane, or with Melbourne of all places?! (I kid - I love you Melbourne... I do...)

Well, firstly, the aims are those of solidarity. A political action quite unique in a world of political posturing and insincere intimidation is the showing of solidarity. It's when one group of people actively align themselves with a cause, be it another group of people seeking recognition or a cause like climate change. So, for the past few months, people in Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as many other cities around the world, have been preparing to show solidarity with the climate conference and those who want to see it achieve something.

But the real question is this - will it achieve something? Sure, we may say that we've learnt our lessons from Copenhagen, but whether we have or not is still to be seen.


Personally, I hope that the conference prompts real action, but I think that without pressure, nothing will change. I don't know if states will be compliant (likely not), but for states apathetic about the cause of climate change, or with ulterior motives, they will need a push of some sorts to make any meaningful decisions. At the end of the day, climate change is coming, and if we cannot stop it, then the results could be disastrous.

So, thank you all for reading my first blog post (woot) on the history of the People's Climate March and the Paris Summit this December. I hope it wasn't too boring, and catch up for more soon!

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