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50,000 fill London’s streets for The Wave ahead of Copenhagen

5.12.2009   London    
 
Airport campaigners took part energetically in The Wave.      
These are some of our photos.
The BBC report on the march is below.
And report from Stop Climate Chaos at http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/the-wave
 
 

Earlier there was a rally at Speakers’ Corner, organised by the Campaign Against
Climate Change.   The packed rally line-up saw some excellent speeches from:

 

John McDonnell MP (Lab), Simon Hughes MP (Lib Dem), John Stewart (AirportWatch and HACAN), Michael Meacher MP (Lab), Ellie Hopkins (UK Youth Climate Coalition), Tess Riley
(Climate Camp), Caroline Lucas MEP (Leader of the Green Party), Lynne Jones MP
(Lab), Maria Souviron (Bolivian Ambassador), Chris Baugh (Public and Commercial
Services Union), Phil Thornhill (National Coordinator, Campaign against Climate
Change).

 

Videos of the speeches can be seen here.

 

 
 

 

The Wave was organised by Stop Climate Chaos, and it had hoped this climate march
- to mark the start of the Copenhagen talks – would be the largest the UK had
ever seen.   They dreamed of 30,000 people marching through the streets of London.

Today, there were estimated to have been 40,000 people.   That is a resounding
success, and to have so many more than the organisers felt might attend demonstrates
the depth of feeling there is in Britain on climate change.

It is heartening that so many people care enough, and are prepared to make the
effort to come to London, many from far flung parts of the UK, to show the seriousness
and intensity of their concern for future condition of our climate, and the future
welfare of the earth’s people.

The Wave set off, with everyone dressed in blue to greater or lesser degrees,
at around 1.00pm.   It took the best part of two hours for all the crowds to crowd
into, and then out of Grosvenor Square, on their way to surround Parliament at
3pm.   Earlier, at 12 noon, there was a rally at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park,
organised by the Campaign against Climate Change.     The crowds from the rally
then surged across to Grosvenor Square to add their numbers to the Wave.

 

Airport campaigners were there in force.   Some of our photos are below.

 

The BBC is one of the first to report on the march …………. this is their
article on it ………..

5.12.2009   (BBC)

Demonstrations have taken place around the UK to urge action on climate change
ahead of the Copenhagen summit.

Organisers Stop Climate Chaos want world leaders to reach a tough new deal on
cutting emissions.

In London, police say about 20,000 people have been taking part, while about
7,000 turned out in Glasgow. A protest also took place in Belfast.

Gordon Brown praised the protesters for “propelling” leaders to reach the “first
world climate change agreement”.

Meanwhile, some 150 protesters from a different action group – Camp for Climate
Action – have started setting up camp in Trafalgar Square, central London.

Organisers of the camp told the BBC News website they wished to draw attention
to the role of the “political and economic system” in causing climate change.

The Metropolitan Police said they had been told the camp would remain in place
for 48 hours.

“A small neighbourhood style police team will be in place to provide a police
presence around Trafalgar Square,” said a Met spokesman.

‘Flat earth group’

The prime minister, who met some of the demonstrators in Downing Street, said
it was essential that a deal be reached in Copenhagen and leaders had to be “ambitious”.

 


Weather forecaster Michael Fish and Thick of It star Peter Capaldi took part in the march in London

Aidan Harris sent in this picture of weather forecaster Michael Fish and TV star
Peter Capaldi

Mr Brown said he and the “vast majority of people” were convinced by the scientific
evidence for man-made global warming.

He said Copenhagen had to convince everyone of the risks, including the sceptics.

“There’s a flat earth group over the evidence, if I may say so, that exists about
climate change, and we’ve got to show them that the scientific evidence is strong,”
he said.

“The public need to be angry about the extent to which we have not taken action
sufficiently as a world until now, and they’ve got to then see that the first
climate change agreement is not only necessary, it’s absolutely essential.”

Cut emissions

The demonstrators on Saturday made several demands, such as calling on Western
nations to commit to an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050.

A series of events known collectively as The Wave took place in London.

They began with an ecumenical service at Westminster Central Hall, which involved
both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Vincent Nichols,
head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Religious leaders said they were taking part in The Wave because they “recognise
unequivocally that there is a moral imperative to tackle the causes of global
warming”.



For poor people, climate change is not something in the future


Barbara Stocking, Oxfam



At about 1200 GMT, they joined environmental campaigners, aid agencies, trade
unions and organisations including the Women’s Institute for a rally close to
the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, before beginning their march to the Houses
of Parliament.

In Glasgow, demonstrators marched from Bellahouston Park in the south of the
city to Kelvingrove Park for a rally.

Strathclyde Police said about 7,000 had turned out, which is believed to be Scotland’s
largest protest in support of action on climate change.

 


 

Ashok Sinha, from the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said: “We will call on Gordon
Brown to make Copenhagen count by committing rich countries to reduce their emissions
by at least 40% in the next 10 years, finally putting the right sort of money
on the table to help poor countries, and urgently start the process of decarbonising
our energy supply.

“With bold leadership at home, Mr Brown can help inspire a fair, effective and
binding international deal at Copenhagen.”

Mr Brown will join Barack Obama in Copenhagen next week, after the US president
announced that he had changed his plans and would now attend the end of the conference.

Ahead of the summit, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband took part in “the first
ever ministerial mass phone call” on Saturday, after inviting questions from members
of action group 38 Degrees via his website, Ed’s Pledge.

He told the BBC: “We’re going to go all out, the whole of the British government,
over the next two weeks to make sure we get the most ambitious agreement we can.”

Any agreement made at Copenhagen must become a legally-binding treaty “within
months”, he added.

Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam, said world leaders must do more to
help those in developing countries cope with the effects of global warming.

“For poor people, climate change is not something in the future. Climate change
is hitting them now,” she told the BBC.

 

AT THE SCENE
 
By Jack Izzard, BBC News
If volume or excitement are any measure of success, the demo in London is off
to a good start.


 
A sea of people, some dressed head-to-toe in blue, are forming The Wave on the
streets of Westminster.


 
But behind the blue face-paint and carnival atmosphere, the organisers from Stop
Climate Chaos say their message is deadly serious.


 
They want to put pressure on the government ahead of next week’s Copenhagen summit.


 
The coalition is made up of more than 100 groups from the Women’s Institute to
trade unions.


 
All are determined that the summit should avoid a fudge and take concrete steps
to limit global warming.