Democracy Now! - December 1, 2015

Pope Francis has warned that the world is heading toward suicide if more is not done to combat climate change. His message was directed at nearly 150 heads of state gathered in Paris for the U.N. Climate Summit to finalize pledges to make voluntary greenhouse gas emission cuts. On Monday, France and India launched an international alliance to deliver solar energy to some of the planet’s poorest even as India continues to heavily promote coal power. India is expected to open a new coal plant every single month until 2020 as the country plans to double its coal production. Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the world’s wealthiest nations to help the developing world adapt to a changing climate, as smog in Beijing climbed to more than 35 times safety levels set by the World Health Organization and the country ordered thousands of factories to be temporarily shut down.

One of the most passionate speeches of the opening day of the U.N. climate change conference in Paris was delivered by Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak. Thousands of residents from the Marshall Islands have already fled the Pacific island state, becoming climate change refugees because of rising sea levels. Loeak urged world leaders to end the fossil fuel era. “For us, COP 21 must be a turning point in history,” Loeak says, “and one that gives us hope.”

He once sat at the same table as the world leaders gathered in Paris to hammer out a U.N. agreement on global warming. Now he stands on the outside. We speak with Pablo Solón, former chief negotiator on climate change for Bolivia, as well as the country’s former ambassador to the United Nations. "The target was: We shouldn’t go beyond an increase of two degrees Celsius," Salon says of negotiators’ failed attempts to limit an increase in global temperatures. "And now to be speaking about four or even five degrees Celsius is, to put it in other terms, to burn the planet."

Yeb Saño, the former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines, has just walked more than 900 miles from Rome to Paris as part of a People’s Pilgrimage for climate action. He was the top Philippines climate negotiator in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest cyclones in recorded history, devastated the Philippines, killing thousands of people. The devastation coincided with the 2013 United Nations climate change summit in Warsaw, Poland, where Saño made headlines with an emotional plea for action on climate change. The following year, as yet another deadly storm battered the Philippines, Saño was unexpectedly absent from the U.N. climate summit in Lima, Peru. He had been pulled from the delegation at the last minute, leading to speculation he had been targeted for his outspokenness amid pressure from wealthier countries like the United States. This year, Saño is back at the United Nations climate summit – not as a negotiator, but as an activist fasting for the climate along with thousands of other people around the world.

Yeb Saño, the former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines, has just walked more than 900 miles from Rome to Paris as part of a People’s Pilgrimage for climate action. He was the top Philippines climate negotiator in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest cyclones in recorded history, devastated the Philippines, killing thousands of people. The devastation coincided with the 2013 United Nations climate change summit in Warsaw, Poland, where Saño made headlines with an emotional plea for action on climate change. The following year, as yet another deadly storm battered the Philippines, Saño was unexpectedly absent from the U.N. climate summit in Lima, Peru. He had been pulled from the delegation at the last minute, leading to speculation he had been targeted for his outspokenness amid pressure from wealthier countries like the United States. This year, Saño is back at the United Nations climate summit – not as a negotiator, but as an activist fasting for the climate along with thousands of other people around the world.

Click the link to continue watching full episodes of Democracy Now! https://freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.

Climate Change Climate Talks The Pope

Get updates about the policies and topics that matter the most to you. Progressive news directly to your email.