On November 29, the eve of the U.N. climate summit in Paris, people from all over the world came together to urge the negotiators to adopt and ratify a binding treaty to cut the carbon emissions that cause global warming. Rallies in Amherst and Northampton are being sponsored by a number of local groups as part of this coordinated action.
In Northampton, students and community members marched from the Northampton High School, stepping off at 5:30 pm , joining Smith students and faculty at the campus and proceeding to the steps of the Northampton City Hall for a rally.
The Global Climate March demanded that there be a significant and binding treaty that commits to leaving 80% of present fossil fuel reserves in the ground. This is the amount necessary would be necessary to hold the rise of global temperatures to 2 degrees Centigrade, the level scientists hope would avert the most disastrous effects of climate change.
The climate negotiations in Paris have been called “the last best chance to stop catastrophic climate change” before the triggering of massive geologic and climatic feedback loops that would initiate spiraling global warming. International agreements will be critical to our ability to engineer a transformation to conservation and renewable energy – wind and solar – in the developed and the developing world. Though past negotiations since the creation of the Kyoto Protocol in the 1990’s have not yielded powerful enough agreements, there is widespread expectation that a breakthrough may be possible in December. The U.S.’s intransigence in the past has been a major barrier to meaningful action. But President Obama’s successful negotiations with China last fall following the massive climate march in New York City, and his recent rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would have carried polluting tar sands oil from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries, are seen as indicators that the US may agree to and encourage major cuts that could break through the impasse.
The rally was co-sponsored by:
- Climate Action NOW
- Pioneer Valley Mothers Out Front
- AFSC of Western Massachusetts
- Earth Ministry Team of First Congregational Church, UCC, Amherst
- Smith College Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS)
- UUSociety of Amherst Green Sanctuary Committee
- Divest Smith College
- Congregation B’nai Israel Tikkun Olam Committee
- Northampton Committee to Stop War
- Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence Climate Action Group
- Hampshire College Climate Justice League
- Peace and Justice Committee of First Churches
- Grace Episcopal Church Greening Grace Committee
- Northampton High School Environmental Club
- Collective Copies