Police and activists clash at Paris climate summit protest

Activists storm event bearing ‘climate solutions’ to criticise corporate sponsorship as UN talks near half-way mark

By Alex Pashley

Police shut out activists from Paris’ Grand Palais on Friday after protests formed to condemn “false solutions” proposed by companies to tackle climate change.

Environmental protestors gathered at the opening of ‘Solutions 21‘ in the capital’s centre to slam prominent sponsor and French utility, Engie, and other corporates as a UN summit continued on its outskirts.

The energy company had a booth to showcase its clean energy prototypes such as a solar-powered race car or air-purifying robot at the week-long exhibition, according to its website.

“This… is our response to what this sham is,” July, a protestor told Climate Home.

“To tell us that the same people that are sponsoring the COP21, the same people that are giving money, so that the 195 delegations can be surrounded by the multinational hand. These people are not the solutions,” she said.

French agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll defended the exhibition.

“We have a global responsibility to push and to act a lot of things. We are trying to find a global solution to struggle against the climate degradation,” he said.

After terrorist attacks that killed 130 in November, the government imposed a state of emergency. Mass demonstrations were cancelled over security fears, and 24 activists are reportedly under house arrest.

The UN summit intends to deliver a global warming pact to keep global warming below a 2C rise on pre-industrial levels.

Main photo via Pascoe Sabido/Twitter

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