Climate change marches: hundreds of thousands demand action
Protesters including politicians and celebrities warn climate change is 'biggest threat humanity has faced'
Protests calling on leaders to take action on climate change have attracted hundreds of thousands of people at more than 2,000 locations worldwide.
The People's Climate March took place in 156 countries across the globe on the eve of the UN Climate Summit in New York, where the largest demonstration took place.
Over 310,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan, including environmental activists, celebrities such as actor Leonardo Di Caprio who was recently appointed as the UN's representative on climate change, and politicians including the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and Al Gore.
"This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live," Ban Ki-Moon told the crowds. "There is no 'Plan B' because we don't have a 'Planet B'".
Archbishop Desmond Tutu accused government and industry leaders of putting "short-term economic and political goals ahead of our collective long-term survival."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the threat of climate change should be taken as seriously as that posed by Islamic State and Ebola, according to the Guardian. "There is a long list of important issues before all of us, but the grave threat that climate change poses warrants a prominent position on that list."
In London, over 40,000 people took to the streets, including actress Emma Thompson and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Thompson urged the crowds to come together and "use our power to tackle the biggest threat humanity has ever faced."
This week, the UN will host its climate summit, where 125 heads of state will meet to work towards creating a global agreement on climate change that will be signed by the end of 2015. Countries are expected to publicise their proposals on how they plan to cut the greenhouse gas emissions.
Ban Ki-Moon is hoping the latest round of talks will bring an end to the "blame-your-neighbour" attitude that prevails when global powers discuss climate change, writes the BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin. However, he warns that there is "no guarantee that Ban's idea will work" as "some big players may continue the game of climate poker, holding back their offers until they see what else is on the table."
Campaigners say they will continue to put pressure on politicians to act. Ben Phillips, Oxfam's campaign director, said: "If you ask the suffragettes, the civil rights movement or the India freedom movement just 10 years in, 20 years in, ‘what have you achieved?’, they’d say: ‘Well we’ll keep on fighting until we win’, and so will we."