climate-change-conference-in-durban.jpgHundreds of people staged a demonstration and protest at COP 17 in Durban demanding action to save the planet.

The people demanded that governments have to radically change their behaviour at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, if the world is to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.

The demonstrations were held to mark the Global Day of Action and hundreds of ordinary people from across Africa and the world came together to make sure their voices are heard.

Non-governmental organisations and some of those most affected by the impacts of changing climate who took part in the march include the youths, indigenous people, peasant farmers from across the continent and hundreds of women from South African rural communities.

A petition was later handed over by demonstrators to representatives of the COP17 talks and the COP 17 President, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, calling for climate justice, reduction of carbon emissions and signed up decisions on the part of world, governments which will make a real difference to reduce climate change.

Addressing the demonstrators COP17 Global Day of Action committee, Convener Desmond D’sa said world leaders are discussing the fate of the planet, but they are far from reaching a solution to climate change, adding that if they fail to make progress, countries will continue to face floods, drought and hunger.

The first period of emission cuts agreed under the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012.

A new round of emission cuts must be agreed in Durban to avoid gaps between the first and second periods.

Developed nations are trying to shift their responsibilities for drastic emission cuts onto developing countries that have done the least to cause the problem, while developed countries, joined by the European Union, try to kill the Kyoto Protocol calling for a “new agreement” for the UN climate negotiation, thereby trying to escape their responsibilities for climate action.

The United States of America, Russia and Canada are leading the rich countries demand for a replacement of the Kyoto Protocol with a totally new and inadequate voluntary pledge agreement where countries would decide their own emissions cuts on a national basis.

It seems that only the Africa Group of countries are united in their demand to hold industrialized countries accountable to their previous commitments, while rich industrialized countries are busy trying to carve out new business opportunities for multinational corporations and their financial elites.