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Ahead global action summit, world prepares to ‘rise for climate’

On Saturday, September 8, 2018, people around the world will take part in hundreds of actions under the banner of “Rise for Climate” to highlight increasing climate impacts and the need for real climate leadership.

Flood in Japan
Flooding in Japan

Persons across five continents will be showcasing community-led solutions to the climate crisis and demanding that political leaders and decision makers step up their climate action ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit taking place on September 12 in San Francisco, California.

The communities most impacted by the fossil fuel industry and climate change will be participating thus:

  • In Africa there will be climate summits where local leaders will call for an acceleration of the just transition to fair and equitable energy systems;
  • Pacific Island nations will petition their local institutions to commit to 100% renewable energy;
  • Affected communities in Thailand will be marching outside the UN climate change conference in Bangkok to ensure negotiators hear the message of the people joining Rise for Climate around the world;
  • In Latin America groups will rise to challenge dangerous fossil fuel extraction methods like fracking; and
  • In Europe, communities will challenge their local municipalities to ditch dangerous fossil fuels and transition to 100% renewable energy.

So far in 2018, the world has witnessed a range of severe impacts related to climate change including: numerous floods in Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan and in sub-Saharan Africa, Cape Town became the first major city in the world to suffer and come back from the brink of Day Zero brought on by extreme droughts.

With 19 countries on the African continent going to the polls in a few months, including South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Benin, Rise for Climate will presumably set the tone for a series of upcoming political moments and challenge decision-makers to act. The reality of the climate crisis should be the pressure that necessitates actions to tackle it.

The launch of the IPCC’s special report on the consequences of global warming surpassing 1.5C degrees should galvanise governments in their efforts to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, while the Climate Vulnerable Forum being held by the governments in-line to suffer the worst consequences of unchecked global warming is a chance to learn from the leadership of those on the frontlines. The Global Climate Action Summit convening non-state actors, and the UN Climate Negotiations bringing governments to the table, are opportunities for decision-makers at all levels to provide deeper commitments and accelerate their responses.

Lerato Ngakane of 350Africa.org said in a statement: “The actions of the Rise for Climate mobilisation will be highly visual, creative and unique with renowned artists located in Brazil, Canada, Samoa, New Zealand, Ukraine, Portugal, Netherlands, Uganda, and Indonesia as well as community groups across the planet taking part to help bridge language, culture and geographic gaps and find the common core to build a groundswell of support for real climate leadership, increase the pressure on national leaders that are falling short of their commitments, and create the right momentum to secure a fast and just transition to an equitable world.”

“Climate impacts are hitting communities right now with heat waves, wildfires, droughts, and flooding making headlines in the last few weeks alone. This September thousands of people around the world are going to draw a line in the sand and say no more to the root cause of these tragedies, no more to fossil fuels. We have all the solutions we need at hand; the time is now to accelerate a just and swift transition to 100% renewable energy for all. Communities all around the world will expressively and artistically demonstrate why it is time for governments to take example from local leaders,” May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org, stated.

“For people of faith and spirit, the choice couldn’t be clearer: mass climate-induced humanitarian and ecological devastation, or an all-we’ve-got commitment to life in the form of 100% renewable energy for all and a just transition for affected workers and communities. We choose life. And, we want our leaders to show us by their commitments that they are making the same choice,” Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith, stressed.

“In exactly one month, people around the world will rise to challenge leaders participating in the Global Climate Action Summit in California and in other key meetings beyond to say 100% renewable energy is what we want, and we want it now because it is good for our health, pockets, securing jobs and robust economies. The age of fossil fuels is closing. It is a dying industry. If renewable energy technology and cost continue on their current path of exponential improvement, a fossil fuel smoke stack will become a relic of the past in no time,” Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, Climate Action Network, noted.

“This October hundreds of scientists from top institutes will report to our governments, describing exactly how much devastation will be wrought on our communities if they do not take urgent, transformative action to limit global warming to 1.5°C degrees. In the Pacific region, we don’t need scientists to tell us this, in my home country the Philippines we are already managing the horrendous consequences of massive storms like Typhoon Yolanda. It is the imminent threat to our nations and cultures combined with the tenacity of communities in the region that drives us to lead the way in mobilisations like Rise for Climate and show the rest of the world what true climate action looks like,” said Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development.

“The decisions we make now will define our ability to secure a more prosperous future and keep warming to levels that will avoid catastrophic climate change impacts. It will take everyone doing everything to change climate change. That’s why we are joining local leaders, frontline communities, and individuals and calling on our political leaders to step up and lead the momentum for strong climate action. The voice of ordinary people matters and can make a difference,” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF’s global climate and energy programme leader.

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