Tens of thousands of people gathered in New York City on Sunday to demand increased action against climate change. The rally took place just days before the opening of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and aimed to put pressure on world leaders to address the urgent issue of climate change.
The demonstration, which featured protesters from around 700 organizations and activist groups, filled multiple city blocks. Holding signs reading “Biden, end fossil fuels” and “Fossil fuels are killing us,” protesters sought to draw attention to the need for immediate action against climate change.
One of the protesters’ main demands was that the Biden administration declare a climate emergency. Analilia Mejía, director of the activist group Center for Popular Democracy, said: “We must wake up and take immediate action.” The urgency is due to a recent UN climate report, which set a 2025 deadline for global greenhouse gas emissions to peak and decline sharply in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Although the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, has been successful in boosting climate action, more needs to be done. To achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it will be necessary to phase out the burning of all fossil fuels that cannot be captured or offset.
The demonstration also highlighted the devastating impact of climate change through recent extreme weather events, such as the fires in Canada, Hawaii and Greece, as well as the floods in Libya. Activists called climate change an “existential crisis” that threatens lives and urged political leaders to experience the consequences firsthand.
Although President Joe Biden has made efforts to promote green manufacturing and invest in clean energy projects, some young activists argue he has not gone far enough to wean the United States off fossil fuels. In line with this, California filed a lawsuit against five of the world’s major oil companies, accusing them of causing significant harm and minimizing the risks associated with fossil fuels.
The rally in New York takes place ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which aims to accelerate global efforts to counter climate change. At the summit, government officials, private sector organizations and financial institutions will come together to discuss and implement climate solutions.
Protesters hope world leaders will take bold action at the summit to address the climate crisis. Mejía stated: “History will remember his action, or inaction.” The urgency of the situation demands immediate and significant steps towards a sustainable future.
– UN General Assembly Climate Ambition Summit
– UN climate report
– Paris Agreement
– California lawsuit against major oil companies