Other world leaders used their platforms to call for much bolder action. In his speech to the summit on Monday, Bolivian President Evo Morales unequivocally named capitalism as the most environmentally destructive force and introduced a series of solutions written by many of Latin America’s social movements to save “Mother Earth.”
As Boeve explained, the answers are clear, and they come from the activists and advocacy groups that have demonstrated tirelessly in cities around the world to highlight their message of a clean future.
“We must end the use of fossil fuels and fully transition to 100 [percent] renewable energy by 2050,” she said. “Here in Paris, politicians must agree on that North Star and chart a clear course to get there. The hundreds of thousands who took to the streets over the weekend for the Global Climate March expect nothing less.”
Obama acknowledged the U.S.’s part in fueling climate change, as the world’s largest economy and its second-largest emitter, and noted that the 150 leaders attending the summit are under global scrutiny for their decisions in Paris. “Let there be no doubt, the next generation is watching what we do,” he said.
That includes activists on the ground in Paris, who defied a protest ban and, in some cases, faced off with police during a violent crackdown on marches over the weekend. Maxime Combes, an organizer with the advocacy group Attac France, told Common Dreams that the “struggle for climate justice will not stop. We have a duty to stand up and continue to fight for a just and livable planet for all.”
“To be standing in the streets to fight against climate change, whatever is the form, is a resistance against all the fanatical visions of religion that spread terror, against all the scavengers who are propagating hatred and racism, and against all the pseudo democrats who are [undermining] our democracy and who are selling our freedom for nothing,” Combes said.
“We have a duty to stand up and continue to fight for a just and livable planet for all.”
—Maxime Combes, Attac France
Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace U.S., said the president’s remarks “made clear that communities around the world can’t wait any longer for real action on climate. His speech showed that the political leaders and diplomats gathered in Paris need to deliver an ambitious agreement to protect those least responsible yet most affected by climate change.”
“As the world’s second largest emitter and the biggest economy, the U.S. has a key role as a leader in international climate negotiations,” Leonard said. “That leadership entails a huge responsibility to those most affected by the negative impacts of climate change, not only in America but all over the world.”
Indeed, 350.org communications director Jamie Henn said Monday that Obama’s comments ring hollow in light of his environmental track record.
“After he took four years to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, and waited to really start acting on climate until the final years of his Presidency, it’s a bit ironic to hear President Obama warning us that ‘there is such a thing as being too late.’ The President’s own delays, and his years of promoting an ‘all of the above’ strategy, mean that we have an even larger hole to climb out of when it comes to climate,” Henn said in an email to Common Dreams. “It makes it all the more urgent the President builds on his rhetoric and starts keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.