Sunday, December 4

Thousands of people march in Madrid for climate justice: “We have time to change things”

Despite the rain and strong wind, thousands of people -5,000, according to the organizers- have marched this Saturday on the Paseo del Prado to Colón, in Madrid, shouting “Enough is enough, there is no planet B”. More than fifty organizations had called the march to demand “climate justice” and protest against the lack of ambition of the governments participating in COP27, which is being held these days in Egypt. “The climate emergency is a human rights crisis of unprecedented magnitude and the lack of an adequate response to the climate crisis is causing human rights violations,” Alliance for Climate highlights in the call’s manifesto.

The environmental associations reproach the rulers meeting in Sharm-El Sheik for being “condemning the planet to a global warming much higher than 2 degrees Celsius”. Scientists and international organizations have been warning for years in their reports about the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Like the previous 26 summits, this one is not up to the challenge we are facing. However, there is a 25% representation of oil and gas companies, which is very significant, ”he explains while marching through the streets of Madrid Sagrario Monedero, spokesman for Alianza por el Clima, one of the convening organizations. “We are in time to change things, but this decade is key. We need to move now to a model based on renewables, fair, that puts people’s lives at the center.”

Alejandra Anaya, 28, an activist from the youth group Fridays for Future in Salamanca, has come along with five friends to participate in the march in Madrid, because she thinks that supporting actions in big cities is essential to give visibility to the problem. “What worries us most is how the issue is being ignored. The little communication that there is about it, as the reports of the scientists continue to be ignored, ”she explains. “Any type of action, even the most controversial and highly criticized ones, help. It is essential that you do not stop talking about this, ”adds the young woman.

Among the protesters was also the leader of Más Madrid, Mónica García, who has marched together with her party partner Rita Maestre. “We are here, among other things, because we have a president in the Community of Madrid who said that climate change was a matter of communism,” says García. Some statements that she considers “intolerable”: “I should be working like the scientific community and the rest of the people, concerned about climate change, to see what policies can be made in the Community of Madrid to stop it.” The leader of Más Madrid believes that people “have seen that climate change is not yet to come, but that it has already arrived. And we are risking the future and that of the new generations”.

The climate summit in Egypt

In this sense, Global Carbon Budget affirms that, in order to fulfill the commitment to leave CO2 emissions almost zero by 2050, emissions should be cut every year in a similar way to 2020, when the world was paralyzed for months due to the covid-19.

The climate summit began on Sunday with a warning from the UN-linked World Meteorological Organization that the 2022 annual average temperature is 1.15C above pre-industrial levels. In other words, there is little left to reach the limits set in the Paris Agreement, whose objective is to avoid exceeding 2ºC, and as far as possible 1.5.

At the end of October, a thousand experts from 40 countries published an open letter defining the possibility of limiting the rise in temperatures on the planet to 1.5ºC to prevent the most severe damage as “indefensible”. In response to this announcement, two activists from the environmental organization Futuro Vegetal attached themselves to two Goya paintings in the Prado Museum, imitating the actions of other activist groups in other countries. On the piece of wall that separates both paintings they spray-written the message ‘+1.5º’.

Greenpeace, which is also present at the demonstration, wanted to recall the importance of citizen participation during this type of international meeting. In Madrid, which held the COP25 in December 2019, thousands of protesters took to the streets together with the activist Greta Thunberg, who set the stage on fire shouting “Basta ya”. However, this year the Egyptian government has banned most protests and social mobilizations. The environmental organization, which has marched compactly with polar bears and a giant globe of the earth covered in flames at its head, has encouraged the march throughout the journey.

Carmen Guille (56 years old) holds a banner that reads “Your bills and your climate pay for their luxuries.” She has come from Zaragoza to join Greenpeace and show her discontent. “The Earth is the house where we live. We have to at least try to leave a house to future generations,” she says.

In addition to the march in Madrid, Alianza por el Clima has organized a series of actions throughout Spain, which have taken place at the same time as in other parts of the world. In Córdoba, for example, protesters have pedaled dressed in black and with umbrellas through the streets of the city, to draw attention to the lack of rain. Zaragoza, Bilbao, A Coruña and Valencia have also held concentrations in the center of the city.

Those who have not been able to participate in any of the face-to-face events have mobilized on social networks, posting a photo in front of the City Councils, energy company offices or gas stations in the cities themselves with a banner with the hashtag #12NxClima.

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