Tens of thousands demand end to fossil fuels ahead of U.N. climate summit
In a massive show of unity and concern for the future of our planet, tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of New York City, marking the commencement of New York's Climate Week. As world leaders gather for the U.N. General Assembly, the protesters, backed by politicians, activists, and celebrities, sent a resounding message: end fossil fuel use to combat the escalating climate crisis.
Their primary target was U.S. President Joe Biden, urging him to cease new oil and gas projects and phase out existing ones.
If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.
— 17-year-old Emma Buretta, a representative of the youth protest group Fridays for Future
The march was not just a local event. It was a precursor to a global movement organized by the Climate Group, a non-profit dedicated to halting global warming. Over the week, more than 500 protests are slated to take place across 54 countries, from Germany to South Korea, aiming for a collective turnout exceeding a million participants.
While the streets of Manhattan echoed with chants and the beat of drums, signs reading "End Fossil Fuel Use," "Fossil Fuels Kill," and "Declare a Climate Emergency" were prominently displayed. A man dressed as a melting snowman symbolized the looming threat of rising sea levels.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, actors such as Susan Sarandon, Ethan Hawke, and others, supported the protesters. Yet, the heart of the movement was the masses who showed up, many of whom were first-timers, demanding immediate and drastic action against the primary contributors to global warming – coal, oil, and natural gas.
Data from American University sociologist Dana Fisher revealed that 86% of the participants had recently experienced extreme heat, while others suffered from floods and severe droughts. This only added to the urgency of their pleas.
The oil and gas industry, however, defended their products, emphasizing their economic significance. Megan Bloomgren, Senior Vice President of the American Petroleum Institute, stated that eliminating America's energy options would result in dependency on unstable foreign regions for energy, leading to higher costs and unreliability.
Yet, the recent U.N. report paints a grim picture, warning of a dangerous trajectory toward severe global warming. It calls for a significant reduction in coal-powered energy by 2030. With the upcoming U.N. COP28 climate summit in sight, over 80 countries are anticipated to advocate for an international agreement to phase out fossil fuels gradually.
As the world braces for more intense hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and droughts, the collective voice from these protests rings clear: The time for action is now.