By Adam Vaughan The Guardian September 8th 2014
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of New York, London and eight other cities worldwide in a fortnight to pressure world leaders to take action on global warming, in what organisers claim will be the biggest climate march in history.
On 23 September, heads of state will join a New York summit on climate change organised by Ban Ki-moon, the first time world leaders have come together on the issue since the landmark Copenhagen summit in 2009, which was seen as a failure.
The UN secretary general hopes the meeting will inject momentum into efforts to reach a global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015, at a conference in Paris.
Ricken Patel, executive director of digital campaign group Avaaz, one of the organisers of the People’s Climate March on 21 September, said the demonstration was intended to send a signal to those world leaders, who are expected to include David Cameron and Barack Obama, though not heads of state from China and India.
“We in the movement, activists, have failed up until this point to put up a banner and say if you care about this, now is the time, here is the place, let’s come together, to show politicians the political power that is out there on there. Our goal is to mobilise the largest climate change mobilisation in history and the indications are we’re going to get there,” he told the Guardian.
Patel said he expects more than a hundred thousand people at the New York march alone, which will be the focus of the day’s events. Although many of the hundreds of organisations that have committed to taking part are environmental groups, he said not all those attending would be traditional ‘green’ activists.
“There’s a very strong range and diversity of people from all walks of life, including immigrant rights groups, social justice groups. Whoever you are and wherever you are, climate change threatens us all so it brings us together.”