How a symbolic line up of shoes got trampled in the hope for action on climate change

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The U.N. Paris Climate Summit starts tomorrow (30 November). Will this be the critical landmark summit to combat climate change and global warming issues that threatens the planet’s eco-system?

In January it was a march of solidarity for the Charlie Hebdo attack. It was the thousands of pairs of shoes laid in tidy lines in the Place de la République for the cancelled Paris #ClimateMarch for fear of a repeat terrorist attack of Paris Bataclan attrocity.

Earlier in the week at least 24 climate activists were placed under house arrest and #ClimateMarch in Paris was cancelled.

Rallies have surged across the world despite a ban on such protests under the state of emergency laws declared after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks because of security fears.

But climate change activists symbolically lined up scores of shoes in Place de la République, reported to be over £20K, as a protest to the frustration of the thousands of people who had planned to march.

With moving images of donated shoes from around the world of how people are standing together with victims of terrorism.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, donated his shoes as well as Pope Francis.

Defiant Parisians have taken to the streets by forming a ‘human chain’, while a planned day of civil disobedience is to take place when the summit ends on 12 December — dubbed as ‘red lines’ day.

But in Paris’s Place de Republique, protesters clash violently with riot police that turned ugly as the symbolic movement got trampled.

But climate change activists in central London, originally meant to be marching in Paris, have also been taking part in a protest to demand that global leaders take urgent action to tackle climate change.

So as world leaders gather in Paris to negotiate a plan of action, ahead of the critical dialogue, people right across the world have gathered to send world leaders a very clear message:

Everywhere from Japan to the Philippines and South Africa, people are making their voices heard. In Melbourne, Australia, organisers estimated around 60,000 people flooded the city streets this weekend.

But after the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, discussions collapsed with international media reporting that the climate talks were “in disarray”.

Six years on, countries are poised to gather once again in an effort to reach a deal to halt climate change.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (blue) and Indian Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh (behind) during a multilateral meeting with U. S. President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Brazilian President Lula da Silva and South African President Jacob Zuma during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009. Source: As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

But as Suzanne Goldenberg reviews in the Guardian, the soap opera circus of global climate talks has been playing out for 20 years.

Whether Paris 2015 represents the last chance for countries to act on climate change the only known facts are that anger and frustration run high — more than likely world leaders will be “unable to make any promises”.


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