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September 22, 2014
Civil Action Grows to Unprecedented Heights. So Do Emissions.
    by Robert Kropp

Upwards of 400,000 people take to the streets of New York City to demand meaningful action on climate change, and scientists report that greenhouse gas emissions reached record levels in 2013

In a stunning rebuke to governments for their failure to deal with the crisis of climate change, 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan yesterday, demanding that world leaders scheduled to meet at the United Nations tomorrow finally start doing something meaningful.

On the same day as the People's Climate March, Earth System Science Data (ESSD) reported that global emissions grew 2.3% to a record high of 36 billion tons CO2 in 2013, and are likely to reach 40 billion tons in 2014.

“We are nowhere near the commitments necessary to stay below 2°C of climate change,” Professor Corinne Le Quéré said.

At the start of the climate march, jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove—one of the leading performers on his instrument for the past quarter-century—led a Trumpet Ensemble whose fanfare echoed throughout the area of 6th Avenue and Central Park South. The organizations represented at the march numbered in the thousands. The marchers stopped for a minute of silence at 12:58 PM and then erupted into a pandemonium of noise to express the urgency of reversing a course that has only accelerated since the dawn of the Industrial Age.

A New York City Police spokesperson reported that as of 3 PM no arrests of demonstrators had been made. It seems less likely that that will be the case today, as associates of the Occupy Movement have promised to Flood Wall Street with “a massive sit-in to disrupt business as usual.”

“Two years ago, Superstorm Sandy literally flooded New York’s Financial District — but it didn’t faze Wall Street and their drive for the short term profits that flow from the cooking of the planet,” Naomi Klein, author of the recently published This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, said. “Which is why we’re going to flood them again.”

According to USA Today, 120 world leaders—excluding, most notably, those of China, India, and Russia—will be joined at the Climate Summit by businesses, investors, and nongovernmental organizations. Issues on the table, the article reports, include pledges to source palm oil and other products sustainably to slow the global rate of deforestation and to reduce methane leaks in fossil fuel production, as well as consideration of putting a price on carbon.

Last week, a coalition of 348 institutional investors representing some $24 trillion in assets under management called for meaningful climate policies that include a price on carbon.

The involvement of businesses and investors in the talks led Mindy Lubber of Ceres to state, “This is very different. It's not just policy leaders.”

And US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern—who has led the contingent that has left climate negotiations empty-handed, and which has often thrown up roadblocks to accommodating the just requirements of developing nations—said at a recent White House briefing, “Business is increasingly focused on trying to, in some cases, be part of the clean energy revolution.”

It’s noteworthy to some extent that fossil fuel companies are finally planning to do something about leaking methane, an environmentally destructive byproduct of production that could have been corrected years ago, and at reasonable cost. But here’s a suggestion for the industry: if you want to contribute, immediately stop all unconventional fossil fuel production activities. That includes hydraulic fracturing, deepwater drilling, tar sands, and mountaintop removal.

In fact, why not a moratorium, effective immediately, on exploration as well? The reserves already on your books, if burned, doom the planet to the worst effects of climate change anyway.


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