Brussels: biggest ‘march for climate’ ever
On Sunday, around 75.000 people marched in the streets of Brussels asking the government a more ambitious climate politics agenda. Just as the COP24 climate conference with 195 countries opens in Katowice (Poland), protestors hope that Belgium will show better commitment in the future.
Organizers hoped they would mobilize at least 15.000 people (the number reached in 2009) to create ‘the biggest climate protest march ever’ or even 25.000, but finally everybody was surprised three times more people of all ages showed up for a peaceful demonstration: 65.000 according to the police, 75.000 according to the organizers
Be more ambitious
“Individual acts are more and more common, but we’re lacking political commitments”, declares a protestor holding a sign asking to let the earth breathe. Around him, more than tens of thousands have gathered in the Cinquantenaire park in Brussels. A fierce will, strong messages and direct demands to the government for a more ambition climate policy in Belgium unites them.
In some contradiction with the ‘Yellow Jacket movement’ that takes France by storm and filtered in Belgium (with outbrakes), Sunday’s peaceful protest asks for stricter greenhouse gas emission limits and less pollution.
“The fight for climate justice, for a fair transition and solidarity is the great fight of the 21st century”, declares Nicolas Van Nuffel, president of the Climate Coalition assembling seventy NGOs. According to him, Belgium needs to support a stronger European commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. “Instead of 40%, reduction targets should be increased to 55%, as requested by the Netherlands and a handful of other EU countries”, he adds.
Politicians salute the manifestation
Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel (MR), saluted a “formidable success of citizen mobilization”. “The climate question must be the central preoccupation at the service of future generations and Belgium will defend those ambitious goals”, he added without real details.
At the end of the day, Federal Climate Minister, Marie-Christine Marghem (MR), who controversially took part in the march on Sunday and is representing Belgium in Katowice, declared to Flemish television that her department had no real competence over climate policies as this is a regional matter.
“Unfortunately, Flanders systematically slows down when we want to increase our climate ambitions”, she added. Flemish Energy Minister, Bart Tommelein (VLD), qualified that statement as ‘lies’.
195 countries at COP24
From this Sunday until Friday the 14th, delegates from 195 countries will assemble in Katowice, Poland, for the twenty-fourth climate change conference. Leaders and representatives will finalize the last actual commitments of all participating countries for the Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015.
Experts took two years to create a 300-pages-long rule book explaining every detail. This document now differentiates developed from developing countries. The fist ones will bring 100 billion dollars per year in 2020 to help the latter to put up climate policies.
‘EU 100% carbon-neutral by 2050’
“By 2050, Europe has to be 100% carbon-neutral”, meaning emitting no greenhouse gases at all or catching and storing what’s left, the EU Commission stated in its ‘Clean Planet for All’ document, published on Wednesday last week.
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