LIVE FROM MADRID: 500,000 PROTESTERS TAKE TO THE STREETS IN THE LATEST CLIMATE STRIKE
Tonight, I headed out on the streets of Madrid with more than 500,000 Spaniards protesting against the use of fossil fuels. Our world leaders are convening in Spain at the United Nations Conference of the Parties on climate change. This coming week 195 nations are set to announce their carbon emission reduction plans, with the goal to bring our planet to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Both glacier ice melt and carbon emissions have increased at a pace defying scientists' expectations. In the face of this mounting urgency, millions of youth across the globe have once again responded today with universal climate strikes.
Unfortunately, our world leaders have yet to respond with matching commitment: the necessary action to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. We are nowhere near reaching that goal. In fact, even if countries fulfill their current emission reduction pledges, we are instead on target for a 3.2C increase.
Governments, particularly my own, are refusing to make the necessary commitments to reduce the impacts of what is now inevitable climate change. In the four years since the Paris Agreement was signed, greenhouse gas emissions have risen 4%, not decreased. So the talks this week in Madrid are not expected to reach the commitment needed, particularly from the worlds biggest emitters, including China, India, and of course the United States. And because the United States entered the Industrial Age ahead of the others, they historically are the planets’ biggest emitter. For our generation, catastrophic climate change is our reality. And so today protesters in Spain and youth activists around the world once again participated in coinciding strikes, demanding action from those world leaders touching down at Madrid's airport this evening.
As I head back to my hotel, I am reminded the sand in the hourglass is running out. And I am emboldened by the millions of my peers who remain steadfast in their call to action.
Together, we are unstoppable youth calling for immediate action to end climate change. One of the people. By the people. For the planet. We all just have to do something. Because there is no Planet B. Stand with us.
Founder of Forces of Nature, Will Charouhis