COP15 Aftermath: Angry Politicians and Grassroots Protests
Many people the world over are extremely disappointed of the results of COP15. World leaders and government officials, such as South Africa’s environment minister Buyelwa Sonjica and British climate change minister Edward Miliband, have already started pointing fingers and placing the blame on fellow leaders. People of Australia, however, have taken things to a different extreme.
Environmental group Rising Tide is quite irked over the failure of the COP15 event and they made sure that their opinions became known. More than 40 activists of Rising Tide’s Newcastle branch stopped a coal train on Sunday; then proceeded to chain themselves to the train and the tracks, in order to close the Newcastle line north of Sydney. The protest successfully kept the rail line closed for 6 hours, although at least 23 people were arrested.
Protest spokesman, Steve Phillips, stated:
“The US, Australia, and other wealthy countries wrecked the Copenhagen climate talks. They refused to lift their paltry greenhouse pollution targets to the levels required to avoid catastrophe. They could have done something great, but they failed. They let greed and self-interest take precedence over the survival of life on earth, and we are here today to condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
The protesters also believe that Newcastle coal exports are the single biggest Australian contribution to climate change. Unfortunately for them, the coal mining lobby of Australia wants to open more coal mines. Bob Brown, Australia’s Greens leader, expects more protests to happen, noting that “civil society is getting more and more frustrated and angry with the inaction of the pollution-bound, big-party politicians”.
I certainly do not blame those who are upset about COP15 and all that it entailed. I know I am rather disheartened by it. It’s a real shame to have such a build up of hope and expectations, all the effort done by global citizens go to waste; completely squandered and crushed by political greed and selfishness. I certainly hope those who are fighting the green/environmental fight will continue to do so, and even harder now than ever before. It seems that with them—the organizations, the protesters, volunteers and so forth—is where all efforts and hope must be placed now. COP15 proved one unfortunate thing: there are simply not enough governments of this world that care enough about the planet to do the right thing; and it is now up to us to make the change.
By Heidi Marshall