People from all over the country will dress in blue and march from Grosvenor Square to Big Ben, calling on the UK government to settle for nothing less than a climate deal in Copenhagen that avoids dangerous climate change and protects the world’s poorest who are already feeling its effects.
And they will appeal to the UK government to increase its targets, which still fall far too short. Its current ambition for an EU-wide emissions cut of 30 per cent within the next ten years would at best only give us a 50/50 chance staying below the global warming danger level of 2 degrees C.
The event comes two days before the crucial UN climate talks begin in the Danish capital, where a climate deal must be made to tackle the biggest crisis the world has ever faced. The Wave has been arranged by Stop Climate Chaos (SCC), a coalition of NGOs and organisations in the UK, including Oxfam, WWF, The Women’s Institute, Greenpeace and the NUS. It is also being supported by the Co-operative Society.
SCC director Ashok Sinha said: "Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life will converge in London to show they care passionately about climate change.
“We will call on Gordon Brown to make Copenhagen count by committing rich countries to reduce their emissions by at least 40 per cent in the next ten years, finally putting the right sort of money on the table to help poor countries, and urgently starting the process of decarbonising our energy supply. With bold leadership at home, Mr Brown can help inspire a fair, effective and binding international deal at Copenhagen."
The Wave will follow a morning of separate events throughout the capital. Activities begin at Grosvenor Square from 12 noon, with musician Beardyman compering. The finale will be as Big Ben strikes at 3:00pm, when thousands in front of the Houses of Parliament, on Lambeth and Westminster bridges and on the South Bank will wave and cheer.
Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said: “The UK government must fight for a comprehensive, fair and binding deal at Copenhagen - that is our demand today and we expect it to be fulfilled. They must return home with a strong, effective climate deal both for our own sakes in the UK and for the millions of poor people already suffering from the effects of climate change around the world.”
Ruth Davis, head of climate change policy at the RSPB, said: “The natural world is under grave threat from climate change. Up to half the world's species could be at risk of extinction if global temperatures rise by five-degrees.
“The Wave is a chance to show our leaders people care about climate change and about the environment we all depend on. Let’s get out there and make sure they leave for the talks with that message ringing in their ears.”
Unme Kulsum, an environmental scientist from Bangaldesh and climate co-ordinator with CAFOD partner Prodipan will also be there.
She said: "Communities in Bangladesh are aware about the consequences of climate change. They are raising their houses, strengthening roofs and are organised, trained and capable. But sometimes their efforts seem like using a single straw to stop the tide. They are trying to protect themselves from climate change but the problem is big. CO2 emissions must also be cut if they are to hold the pace of climate change."
Paul Brannen, head of campaigns for Christian Aid said: ‘Climate change will destroy poor countries first, then it will come for the rich. Copenhagen is our best opportunity to achieve a fair and ambitious climate deal. The Wave is the best opportunity for the people of Britain to play their part in achieving that deal.’
The Wave will also take place today in Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin.
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Notes for editors:
The world’s top scientists recommend that rich countries must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. This will significantly increase the chances of preventing global warming from breaching the 2 degrees C danger threshold.
For interviews or further information, please contact Cherry Farrow 07739 573932 and Sarah Jenkinson 07766 682624 (Stop Climate Chaos) or Esther Williams 07595 202438 (Tearfund)
For further information visit:
The Wave schedule:
12:00 ‘Splash dance’ from Stop Climate Chaos Youth Group
Rehearsed in universities across the UK, ‘splash dance’ will be located in front
of the Canadian High Commission.
12.10 The Wave entertainment begins on the main stage in Grosvenor Square
This is the starting point for The Wave march where thousands of people from across the country will gather. Entertainment including music, speeches and video will be compered on the main stage by musician Beardyman.
There will be parking for a small number of satellite trucks in Duke Street (behind the stage) and at the march end in Westminster on the Victoria Embankment. Contact: Liz Chinchen 0207 467 1388 or 07778 158175.
12.45 The Wave photo call
Photo call at the front of the march – opposite an open-topped double decker bus which will provide a good vantage point to take pictures from – at the Carlos Place entrance to Grosvenor Square. After the photo op the bus will then head off along the march route.
12.50 The Wave begins
Carnival-style street procession leaves Grosvenor Square for the Houses of
Parliament. The march will head off along Carlos Place, turning into Mount Street, Berkeley Square, Berkeley Street, Piccadilly, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street and Whitehall. When it reaches Parliament Square, the procession will continue off down Millbank, over Lambeth Bridge, down Lambeth Palace Road/Albert Embankment walkway and back over Westminster Bridge – so the march forms a symbolic circle around the Palace of Westminster. The front of the march is expected to arrive at its final destination on Westminster Bridge just before 2pm.
15.00 The Wave Finale
A massive blue wave of people power will surround the Houses of Parliament and stand united in their call for urgent climate action as Big Ben strikes 3pm.
Images are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopclimatechaos/
Compere: Darren Foreman, also known as Beardyman, is a musician from London renowned for his beatboxing skills.
For information about Wave-related events taking place on December 4 and 5 visit:www.the-wave.org.uk
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition represents 11 million members across 100 UK organisations, from the Women’s Institute and RSPB to Christian Aid and Unison. All are united in their demand for an end to dirty coal, and a fair and just international climate change deal that protects the worlds’ poorest communities.
Stop Climate Chaos, and its members, are calling on the UK Government to:
ACT FAIR ACT FAST: deliver a fair global deal in Copenhagen that
keeps global warming under 2˚C, with rich countries taking the lead by reducing their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020.
PROTECT THE POOREST: provide at least $150 billion a year by 2020 to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people deal with the impact of climate change and develop in a low carbon manner.
QUIT DIRTY COAL: end the UK’s reliance on dirty coal power, boost the UK’s renewable energy supply and invest in a green economy that creates new jobs.
Other Waves: The Wave is also happening in Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast on the same day Visit www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland and www.stopclimatechaos.ie/
Press Officer - Climate Change
Oxfam Media Unit
+44 (0)1865 472192
+44 (0)7786 110054
Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.