The People’s Climate March in Copenhagen raises awareness of climate change and related social challenges. This year, the event also served as a platform to call for partnerships for fighting social injustice around the world. After the Paris Agreement, it is not obvious whose regime’s leadership will save the planet and its people.
Why did 15,000 people go marching in Copenhagen this year?
People marched to support the Paris Agreement and to ask for rapid and responsible climate action – especially in the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the world. Indeed, largely populated, developing economies will be the primary drivers of carbon emissions in the coming years, e.g. India and China.
“The Paris Agreement is a framework for a global carbon market. It mitigates carbon emissions, new finance, and adaptation. It allows countries to set their own targets and implement transparent reporting systems, starting in 2020.” – wikipedia.org
Copenhagen action for change
Climate change is affecting Denmark in a number of ways.
Two of Denmark’s most significant environmental problems are land and water pollution – despite advanced methods of household and industrial waste recycling. Air pollution, agricultural pesticides, and urbanization (sewage) are directly contributing factors. Additionally, there is a growing fear that Denmark will increasingly experience floods, which are already more intense and more common. Fortunately, Denmark has been at the forefront of environmental protection since the 70s.
Leadership change in climate change
The global landscape of climate politics is undergoing a major transformation. Between 1965 and 2005, political pressure has lead the US to transition to a greener economy. This is because the United States used to have the highest per capita emissions for nearly four decades. Unfortunately, the country abandoned recently pulled out of the Paris Agreement.
If it can keep its promises, China might become the next environmental leader. China’s emissions had already surpassed those of the U.S. in 2005. Since the mid-2000s, the country’s influence as a trade giant has increased. Its recently found commitment to the environment will certainly allow China to enter and influence markets, which could mark the beginning of a new era in Asia and globally.
The impacts of a Chinese leadership on climate action
What kind of impact will China’s leadership have on poorer developing nations that are the most affected by climate change?
A dynamic green economy means new business opportunities, new ways of doing business, and starting a climate budget to guide financial decision-making. Urban centres in Scandinavia, like Oslo, have already proven their capabilities for climate innovation and leadership. Therefore, while it is promising for China to put forward climate-related plans, the country has limited past experience to show for responsible action.
Denmark has consistently ranked high on climate awareness rankings. The country is a best practice example for the European Union, and it has ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Denmark and positive change
Denmark has moved away from industrial production to green energy development, digitalization, and a service-based economy since the 90s. The Danish government continues to handle environmental issues that influence its citizens’ everyday life. For example, municipalities are actively regulating the urban built environment to promote both climate-friendly city planning and social mixing.
Denmark also exhibits cases of community-based transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. For example, the small island Samsø, is now 100% self-reliant and develops its own wind, biofuel mass, and solar power for energy. Samsø, Denmark will be carbon-free by 2030.
Environmental change towards social catastrophe
The world is getting warmer because of natural and human sources of carbon emissions. In 2017, the Earth’s global surface temperatures ranked the second warmest since 1880, when global record-keeping began. Based on scientific evidence, a temperature rise of above 2°C will bring about extreme weather conditions.
Variation in weather patterns already leads to droughts and floods that challenge urban infrastructure and social cohesion. We fear a decrease in food supplies, pressure on clean and available water resources, and housing security.