Activists: Climate not far-off problem

2014-09-18 18:19

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Pretoria - Activists concerned about climate change gathered at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday to deliver a petition on "climate justice demands" to government officials.

The gathering was ahead of the upcoming United Nations climate summit to be held in New York next week.

Climate and energy campaigners of groups such as local climate movement 350Africa, Greenpeace, and civil rights organisation Right2Know danced and waved placards containing the slogans "We fight climate change", "No more coal", and "Clean energy now".

Ferrial Adam of climate movement 350Africa said people were tired of "talk shops" and wanted to see real action.

"Climate change is here. It is happening to us now. It is not something that is going to affect us in the future.

Real consequences on people's lives

"That's why we gathered here today. With this petition we want our leaders to listen to the people and not to palookas when they attend the summit in New York," Adam said.

She said most people thought climate change was a far-off problem.

"It is happening with us now and is having very real consequences on people's lives."

Penny-Jane Cooke of Greenpeace said her organisation supported the petition because "we want government to invest in renewable energy and to start listening to people and do what is right".

Bongani Xezwi of the Right2Know Campaign said politicians should stop thinking about profits and start thinking about people.

Among the demands in the petition were that government stop burning fossil fuels and releasing CO2; to move away from the current energy choices of coal, nuclear, and fracking; and to choose cleaner solar and wind energy as alternatives for a safer and healthier environment.

The international meeting, to be held at the UN's New York headquarters on 23 September, will be the first time heads of state have gathered to discuss global warming since the 2009 UN climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Read more on:    un  |  climate change

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