Global day of action as hundreds of thousands march for the climate

Latest headlines:
-Over 310,000 take part in New York march
-Avaaz and, coordinating the demonstrations, count 2,646 events in 156 countries today
-More than 2 million people have signed a petition for strong climate action
-Around 30,000 people turned out in Melbourne, in the biggest march in Australia
-Emma Thompson, Peter Gabriel and Vivienne Westwood addressed tens of thousands of people in London

Port Moresby - activists wear traditional dress in a call to protect their islands from rising seas (Pic: Flickr/climate march/Robert Weber)

Port Moresby – activists wear traditional dress in a call to protect their islands from rising seas
(Pic: Flickr/climate march/Robert Weber)

2210 BST – Here are the thoughts of UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, speaking to RTCC during today’s New York climate march

2200 BST – This is Ed King logging in from New York, where hundreds of thousands of climate activists are still pounding the streets of New York, calling for an ambitious climate deal. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, Leonardo Di Caprio, model Lily Cole and Sting were among the estimated 310,000 who took part in the march.

Ban issued a statement a few hours ago: “I am overwhelmed by such a strong power, energy and voice of people – I hope this voice will be truly reflected to the leaders when they meet on September 23rd. Climate change is [a] defining issue of our time and there is no time to lose. If we do not take action now, we will have to pay much more. They have raised their voice, they have shown their power to change the mind set of people and I hope that this power will help — and the heat will help — cool the global temperature rise within 2 degree Centigrade.”

1944 BST – RTCC’s Sophie Yeo has filed her impressions of the London march. It was a great party, but will politicians take on the serious message?

1828 BST – Ban Ki-moon has emerged from the UN headquarters, flanked by dignitaries. There is former US presidential candidate Al Gore, chimpanzee champion Jane Goodall and French ministers Laurent Fabius and Segolene Royale.


1803 BST – The crowd has observed a moment of silence for the victims of climate change.

We’ve got some great interview material to come from Ed King on the ground in New York. It’s proving tricky to get a data connection with all the crowds, so it’ll take a little while.

1750 BST – It’s Leonardo Dicaprio underneath that beard, if you can believe it. He is marching with fellow film star Mark Ruffalo.


1745 BST – Outside New York, there is a carnivalesque gathering in Bogota, Colombia.

And a few hundred defied the weather to demonstrate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


1738 BST – Easy, easy… don’t drop the planet!


1735 BST – UK climate envoy and former minister Greg Barker is dressed down for the occasion.


1732 BST – Christiana Figueres with the president of the Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, and her daughters. Figueres often says she is inspired by the younger generation.


1726 BST – The crowd shows there is a broad coalition behind climate action. There are faith groups…


…and Black students, to pick out three.

Some people are marching because they love fresh air…

…others for, er, Toucans. And why not?

With a little musical accompaniment.


1717 BST – Here’s Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s climate commissioner.


1705 BST – It will be a while before we get an official estimate of numbers in New York, but the general feeling is: it’s big. The organisers were hoping for 100,000.




1653 BST – More celeb-spotting. Sting and Trudi Styler…

…Evangeline Lilly…

… and Mark Ruffalo has a happy fan.


1645 BST – The New York march has started, with people massed the length of 20-25 blocks. Children are leading the way.



1633 BST – Ed King has sent through some comments from UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. The video will follow just as soon as he can find working wifi. Figueres said: “This is an unprecedented show of international support for not just an agreement, but an ambitious agreement. The context in which an agreement is being negotiated has substantially and irrevocably changed.” The official UN climate negotiations pick up in Lima this December. The aim is to sign a global climate treaty in Paris 2015. Tuesday’s summit of world leaders is separate to the formal UN climate talks. The idea is to get heads of state engaged with the issue and build momentum for an agreement.

1625 BST – Leonardo Dicaprio, Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo are among the celebrities expected at the New York march. Al Gore, whose film An Inconvenient Truth has been hugely influential in the climate debate, has also been spotted.

Dicaprio, who shot to fame acting in the film Titanic, has narrated a series of short films on climate change and has been appointed a UN “messenger of peace”. They will join UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who has invited world leaders to a climate summit on Tuesday. Ed King has put together a bluffer’s guide to the summit.

1607 BST – Paris police are now saying 8,000 people. Totting up the estimates, it looks like at least 40,000 turned out around Europe. More than double that number are expected in the Big Apple.

1558 BST – I’m seeing different estimates for the turnout in London. Avaaz says 40,000+. Tom Wills says 27,000 and invites you to check his working.


1547 BST – Here are a couple more European tweets: Finland’s capital, Helsinki…

…and a crowd pic from Edinburgh.


1538 BST – As things wind down in London and other European demonstrations, New York is warming up. The march officially starts in one hour’s time. Here is UN climate chief Christiana Figueres giving interviews. Ed King will be sending through her comments shortly.


1510 BST – Police estimate 3,000 people turned out in Paris.


1507 BST – The London march closes with a minute of silence in Parliament Square.

This data journalist estimates at least 20,000 marchers have passed Embankment.


1459 BST – There has been a peaceful atmosphere in London…

…but this demonstrator is preparing for confrontation in New York.


1450 BST – In New York, there will be six themed marches converging on Central Park West from different parts of the city. One focuses on communities who are on the frontline of climate change and feel its effects most. Another is for green businesses and those offering solutions to the problem. Others welcome trade unionists, scientists and neighbourhood groups to the party.



1436 BST – It’s still early in New York, but 350.0org founder Bill McKibben and RTCC’s Ed King have come across some activists mustering.



1432 BST – Back in London, Vivienne Westwood tells the crowds “we are in terrible danger” from climate change.


1427 BST – In Edinburgh, RTCC contributor Louise Gray spots this colloquial message. Is it about climate change, or left over from Thursday’s independence vote? (The Scots voted to stay in the UK, for those who didn’t follow it.)

This placard-waver is more obviously on-topic.


1415 BST – The bishop of London, Richard Chartres, talks about the morality of climate change.




1336 BST – Demonstrators have green balloons in Berlin…

…and is that a carbon bubble in London?


1331 BST – In New York, the streets are empty.

But some keen demonstrators are getting ready.



1319 BST – The march is well under way in London.




1312 BST – Ed King writes from New York: It’s a glorious morning here in New York, with the sun breaking through the low cloud. Rain is expected later, but organisers of the climate match are confident they will get a huge turnout, with activists walking alongside senior UN officials and ministers of state. There’s a press conference at 10am local time – we’ll update you on what’s said in a few hours.

1301 BST – The weather is better in the UK. Actor Emma Thompson, singer Peter Gabriel and clothing designer Vivienne Westwood are among the famous faces at the London march.


1256 BST – Rain has not dampened enthusiasm in Brussels, Belgium, home of the European Commission.


1251 BST – There have been a plethora of editorials and op-eds on why to march. Dorothy Guerrero in the Bangkok Post said big business has captured the New York summit and marchers must show they will not fall for “greenwash”. She argued the market-based solutions favoured by corporations would do more harm than good. There was a similarly capitalism-sceptic theme in an appeal in the Guardian from Jarvis Cocker, star of Britpop band Pulp, for dancing in the street – “much more fun than marching”, he said. Canada’s Globe and Mail carried an article by Tzeporah Berman, expressed frustration at her country’s determination to exploit tar sands. She said Canada can be a climate leader again.

1231 BST – An activist tells us there were marches in Hong Kong and Dalian, China.


1217 BST – In Africa, there are events in South Africa, Togo, Niger, The Ivory Coast, and Benin, according to Avaaz and Tanzania’s Masaii people reportedly marched across their traditional lands in the Serengeti to demonstrate for climate action. The entire continent is responsible for less than 5% of the world’s carbon emissions. However, it will face some of the hardest consequences of climate change. Experts warn drought and flooding will become more common in many regions, raising the risk of crop failure for farmers with limited resources to adapt.

South Africa, as one of the BRICS emerging economies, has more responsibility than most African countries for carbon emissions. And this commentator was disappointed at the lack of interest.


1156 BST – An activist puts the finishing touches to her banner in Oslo, Norway.

This banner calls for clean energy to replace fossil fuels  (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

This banner calls for clean energy to replace fossil fuels (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)



1148 BST – There are several events happening across Europe. I’ll cover as many as possible.


1143 BST – I haven’t seen any photos from the world’s biggest emitter, China. If I’m missing something, let me know. Email md [at] rtcc [dot] org or tweet @rtcc_megan.

1139 BST – Events are getting under way in Europe. But first, here are a few last pictures from Asia. This Indonesian float represents “a coal victim”. The country is a major coal producer and forest clearances for mining and agriculture are widespread.

In Jakarta, activists carry an effigy said to represent "a coal victim" (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

In Jakarta, activists carry an effigy said to represent “a coal victim” (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

At the Korail slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, child refugees tell their story. The low-lying country is vulnerable to flooding from glacier melt and heavy rainfall, which is becoming more common with climate change.

Saima and Habib tell their story in Dhaka (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

Saima and Habib tell their story in Dhaka (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

A demonstration in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Kathmandu, Nepal (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

Kathmandu, Nepal (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)


1117 BST – An estimated 2,500 people took to the streets in New Delhi. India is the country with the third largest carbon emissions in the world, mainly due to its sheer size. Emissions per person remain low and some 300 million Indians do not have access to electricity. For those who do, power cuts are a regular occurrence. Solar power is seen as an important way to boost energy security without adding to the climate change problem. Demonstrators showed their support for renewable energy.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is not due to attend Ban Ki-moon’s summit on Tuesday but will make an official visit to the US later in the week. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar is expected to go in his place.

1108 BST – This trailer for the newly released film Disruption doubles as a call to action today. By Kelly Nyks and Jared P Scott, the film asks: “When it comes to climate change, why do we do so little when we know so much?” Disruption – Official Trailer from Watch Disruption on Vimeo.

1101 BST – Photos and tweets are flooding in from events around the world. Use the hashtag #peoplesclimate or send me your photos directly to @rtcc_megan. Things are starting off in London, where Sophie Yeo is covering the action. Follow her on @rtcc_sophie.

1057 BST – In total, there are 2,646 events happening in 156 countries today, according to campaign coordinators Avaaz and If you want to join a march, Avaaz has produced an interactive map. Payal Parekh, global campaigns director for, says: “People around the world are tired of waiting for our politicians to act. From the islands of the Pacific to the streets of New York City, we’re demanding action, not words. We’re showing what real leadership looks like.”

1052 BST – There was action on the beaches of Pacific islands. While they look idyllic now, these island paradises are under threat from rising sea levels. Kiribati president Enote Tong has said it is already too late to save many islands, including his.

Not drowning, fighting - demonstrators on Kiribati (Pic: Flickr/Peoples Climate March)

Not drowning, fighting – demonstrators on Kiribati (Pic: Flickr/Peoples Climate March)


1022 BST – The people of Townsville highlighted the threat to the nearby Great Barrier Reef from climate change. The unique coral reef is being damaged by ocean acidification, which results from extra carbon dioxide dissolving into the water, and rising sea temperatures.

Citizens of Townsville urge action to save the Great Barrier Reef from the effects of climate change (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

Citizens of Townsville urge action to save the Great Barrier Reef from the effects of climate change (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

And some brave climber planted a banner on the Three Sisters rock formation in the Blue Mountains.

A banner in Australia's Blue Mountains (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)

A banner in Australia’s Blue Mountains (Pic: Flickr/Climate March)


1008 BST – Brisbane also had a message for Tony Abbott. The city is hosting the next G20 summit in November and Abbott left climate change off the agenda. However, commentators have said his resistance is unlikely to stop the subject from coming up.




1000 BST – The 1 Million Women campaign was represented in Sydney – a movement to raise awareness about energy consumption and help women cut their carbon footprints.


0956 BST – In Sydney, activists spelled out a message to be seen from the air.

Not everyone was impressed…


0951 BST – Australian Green leader and senator Christine Milne was at the Melbourne march.


0946 BST – An estimated 30,000 people attended Australia’s flagship march in Melbourne. Australian prime minister Tony Abbott triggered global outrage this summer when he axed a tax on carbon polluters. He is not due to attend the New York summit.

Activists marched from the State Library to Treasury Gardens in Melbourne (Pic: Avaaz)

Activists marched from the State Library to Treasury Gardens in Melbourne
(Pic: Avaaz)




0930 BST – Morning everyone. It’s Megan Darby here in London. I’ll be rounding up the actions in the eastern hemisphere, then covering events in Europe as they happen.

My colleague Sophie Yeo will be at the London event, where Emma Thompson, Peter Gabriel and Jarvis Cocker are among the celebrities showing their support. Ed King is in New York, expected to see the biggest march of the lot.

All those taking part are sending a message of support for climate action to the world leaders gathering for UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit on Tuesday.

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