After Paris Attacks, Global Warming Activists May See Mass Events Canceled

Patrick Goodenough | November 18, 2015 | 4:16am EST
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Global warming activists are worried French authorities may cancel mass events planned on the fringes of the climate conference in Paris, due to security concerns after last Friday's terror attacks. (AP Photo, File)

( – Last Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris may force the cancelation of large public events linked to the upcoming U.N. climate conference – to the dismay of global warming activists who hoped to avoid that outcome.

On Monday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that public events surrounding the conference will not go ahead due to security considerations.

Speaking to the RTL radio station, Valls confirmed that the conference itself will happen, since not doing it would amount to “abdicating to terrorists.” But he also said that planned demonstrations, concerts and festivities will be canceled.

President Obama, other world leaders and tens of thousands of delegates are expected to descend on Le Bourget, 10 miles from the city center, from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 for what is known in U.N. jargon as COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Such gatherings have always been accompanied by large civil society events, including protests by green activists generally unhappy with the negotiations and outcome.

This year’s plans had included a November 28-29 “climate march” in the central city, which organizers predicted could draw up to 200,000 participants. The same day will see similar events in cities around the world.

Also planned for the day COP21 closes on December 12, were mass acts of “civil disobedience” including human chains and occupation of public spaces, both in Le Bourget and central Paris.

On Tuesday, a representative of Climate Coalition 21 that is organizing the march, said consultation with authorities was continuing in the hope that the event can go ahead, and “we will continue to ensure the security of all participants is guaranteed.”

Beatrice Héraud said while organizers had expressed solidarity with the victims and families of the terror attacks in Paris on Friday and Beirut on Thursday, the “struggle for climate justice does not stop.”

“We have a duty to stand up and continue to fight for a just and liveable planet for all,” she said.

“While taking into account the exceptional circumstances, we believe that COP21 cannot take place without the participation or without the mobilization of civil society in France,” Héraud said.

‘Determined disobedience’

The organizers of the civil disobedience actions on December 12 – dubbed the “climate games” – say they are “considering our options for mobilizations and actions in Paris” in the aftermath of the attacks.

Nicolas Haeringer, a campaigner with one of the organizing groups,, wrote in response to the terror attacks that the Paris climate conference is “in a sense, a peace summit – perhaps the most important peace summit that has ever been held.”

“We don’t yet know what Friday night’s events mean for our work in Paris. The coalition on the ground is committed to working with the French authorities to see if there is a way for the big planned march and other demonstrations to safely go forward. We fully share their concerns about public safety – just as we fully oppose unnecessary crackdowns on civil liberties and minority populations.”

Haeringer said whatever the case, the global climate marches on November 28-29 will go ahead.

Organizers earlier predicted “the largest mass civil disobedience climate justice action that we have ever seen in Europe.”

“Our win is to take the world stage during the COP21 to shift the focus away from the negotiators towards the movements,” organizers said in campaign materials.

“We will show that we are prepared to use determined disobedience and that this is a movement moving forward to escalate actions in 2016,” it added, in reference to tentative plans next May for “bold action targeted at fossil fuel projects that must be kept in the ground and lifting up the solutions we need to take their place.”

‘Offering our love and commitment to a sustainable world’

Meanwhile – despite Valls’ words – organizers of COP21-themed music concerts planned for Paris say they will go ahead.

The shows are by “Pathway to Paris,” which describes itself as “a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, innovators coming together to make our voices heard at the U.N. climate talks in Paris.”

“In light of the recent tragedies in Paris and Beirut, we would like to continue with the Pathway to Paris concerts and bring our voices together in solidarity, offering our love and commitment to a sustainable world,” it said in a statement.

The shows, scheduled for December 4 and 5, are to be held in a concert venue in central Paris – about two miles north-west of the theater where 89 of the 129 victims of last Friday’s attacks were killed.

The aim of COP21 is to achieve, for the first time in more than two decades of U.N. negotiations, “a legally binding and universal agreement on climate” in a bid to keep average temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

That’s the goal which world leaders several years ago decided was necessary to avoid what global warming advocates say will be potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.

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