Protests have been held in Paris, as a reaction to the disappointing climate change agreement adopted during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21).
The peaceful demonstration was led by 350.org, an environmental organization which fights for climate justice and demands that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should be reduced to 350 parts-per-million so as to prevent global warming from escalating past the point of no return.
Thousands of people participated in the protest, which was held close to the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday, December 12. Concomitantly, another similar demonstration took place at Champs de Mars, close to the Eiffel Tower, and was spearheaded by NGOs such as Friends of the Earth.
The events unfolded despite the fact that French authorities have recently prohibited public gatherings throughout the country, following the Paris terrorist attacks which occurred on the evening of November 13.
Representatives from 196 nations participated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and worked together on creating a final draft of the Paris Agreement, to follow the Kyoto Protocol of 1992.
In the document, it is stated that carbon gas emissions should be substantially reduced across the world, so that the rise in global temperatures can be limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, compared to levels measured before the Industrial Revolution.
Ideally, the aim would be for the increase to actually be confined to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), but in order to achieve that more ambitious goal, greenhouse gas emissions which pollute the air and wreak havoc to global climate would have to be eradicated by 2050 at the latest.
However, even these plans that deputies have devised together seem overly lax and insufficient to environmental activists, who gathered around the iconic monument of the Place Charles de Gaulle carrying red tulips, in remembrance of the casualties brought about by climate change
According to Joseph Puruggan, a member of the Filipino non-profit organization Focus on the Global South, the most distressing aspect about the Paris Agreement is that it focuses on actions that should be taken at an individual level, when in fact it’s corporations that are responsible for the most significant damage on the ecosystem.
Furthermore, as he explained, the recently established objective is too weak, when taking into account the already wretched state of our planet.
In the Philippines for instance, global warming has led to devastating tropical storms and typhoons such as Mekkhala, Bavi, Maysak, Noul, Linfa, Soudelor, Goni, Mujigae, Koppu and Melor.
This long string of extreme weather disturbances, which have resulted in mass evacuations, occurred this year only, serving thus as an indication of how severely disrupted climate already is.
Therefore, much more stringent actions should be taken by local governments in order to halt the burning of fossil fuels and keep the situation from becoming even more critical than it obviously is.
Despite the fact that many participants at the Arc de Triomphe demonstration had misgivings regarding the recently established climate change agreement, there were also some that took a more relaxed approach, as if the event was actually some kind of celebration.
For instance, a group of activists from Denmark were disguised as polar bears, while representatives of the Green Warriors of Norway distributed condoms so as to outline the dangers of overpopulation.
Peruvian protesters brought colorful flags, while others carried banners and stretched red ribbons measuring more than 300 feet so as to emphasize that urgent action should be taken against this “climate emergency”.
It remains to be seen if vocal opposition of the general public will have any effect on the ratification of the Paris Agreement.
In order for the treaty to be legally binding, it should be signed by a minimum of 55 nations, responsible for no less than 55% of the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, which generate the greenhouse effect.
Image Source: Tele Sur TV