Revolution #255, January 8, 2012
Durban Protesters Demand Action Now
There were some important protests at the Durban climate talks. Democracy Now!, which covered the talks, reported that thousands of people marched in the streets of Durban on December 3 demanding meaningful action to cut greenhouse emissions. On December 6, a group of youth and native activists from Canada protested the massive extraction of tar sands oil in Alberta, Canada. The extraction and burning of tar sands oil produces three times more greenhouse gas than conventional oil—and the U.S. may soon approve a pipeline to bring that oil to the Gulf of Mexico. On December 9, the final day of the conference, 150 youth marched through the Durban plenary session and did an Occupy-style mic check.
In another action, on December 8 Abigail Borah, a student from Middlebury College, interrupted the official proceedings just as the head U.S. climate negotiator was set to give a speech. Borah said, "2020 is too late to wait. We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty. You must take responsibility to act now, or you will threaten the lives of the youth and the world's most vulnerable. You must set aside partisan politics and let science dictate decisions." When the conference chairperson demanded to know what group Borah represented, she said, "the United States youth." When he asked why she had interrupted the conference, she said, "the United States government does not speak on my behalf." Her statement went on to say, "The U.S. continues to negotiate on time borrowed from future generations, and with every step of inaction forces young people to solve the quickly exacerbating climate challenges that previous generations have been unable and unwilling to address."
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