On November 4th, activists from different parts of the world converged in Bonn, Germany to make a stand against Climate Change. Chanting slogans while clothed in red outfits, the protesters marched through the streets of the erstwhile Western capital of Germany towards to UN center where the COP 23 is taking place. The UN Conference of Parties 2017 (COP23) began here on November 6th and will run until November 17th. The COPs are the annual negotiations of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) where ideas are exchanged to find solutions on how to mitigate Climate Change.
In the light of this conference, the Saturday before the official start of negotiations, an estimate of about 11,000 activists gathered to demand urgent action on the termination of coal in order to combat climate change and fight climate injustice. “Klima Schutzen – Kohle Stoppen” which translates to Protect our Climate and Stop the usage of Coal was the main message of this march. Since COP23 is being held in Germany, the nearby operating RWE coal mines of the Rhineland are a sore point in the framework of the convention. While the 11,000 marching civilians protested against the continued extraction of this fossil fuel, it will no doubt be a large dirty elephant in the room throughout the 10-day negotiations. Groups such as Code Rood and 350.org have supported the campaign of ending coal extraction in the Rhineland, marketed as ´Ende Gelände´. Germany claims to be a leader in clean energy, while as you read this the Rhineland coal mine industry remains the largest CO2 emitter in Europe. Solar and wind energy — while growing rapidly — still only account for a tiny sliver of global energy production. According to a study published last week in Environmental Research Letters, holding sea level rise to 50 centimeters (20 inches) by 2100 would become nearly impossible if coal-fired energy is not phased out by mid-century.
Our delegates had a wonderful experience at the march where we interacted with other groups who shared their thoughts and ideas with us. From university students to working professionals, we saw great passion and enthusiasm from the participants. The march concluded with a number of activists sharing their stories and views on Climate Change which was very inspiring and touching. Climate Change is here and we need to fight it now!