Tens of thousands of people staged protests in Copenhagen and around the world Saturday to push for stronger international commitments at the climate change conference in the Danish capital.
The worldwide protests are being staged as international negotiators entered their sixth day of climate change talks in Copenhagen that are currently centered on targets for carbon emission cuts and financing for developing countries.
In Australia, organizers said about 50,000 protesters marched in Sydney and other cities calling for stronger action. Max Phillips is one of the event organizers.
"This is about ordinary people coming out here and sending a message across the world and being part of a global day of action on climate change. So this is really the ordinary Australian's chance to send a message to Copenhagen," he said.
Similar protests were held in China, Taiwan and the Philippines, where members of the environmental group Greenpeace beat drums and protesters carried signs reading "Climate Action Now." Ali Osuban, a member of Greenpeace Philippines, called on the U.S. and other industrialized nations to agree to deeper emissions cuts than they have to date.
"The commitments that US President Barack Obama has committed is far below what the science demands," he said. "The science demands that developed countries as a whole should commit to 40 percent reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. But the 17 percent the US has committed, based on 1990 levels, actually just translates to about minus 4 percent. So 4 percent is a far cry from the 40 percent that is needed from developed countries as an aggregate."
A major demonstration is also taking place in Copenhagen, where environment ministers have arrived to notch up the talks before world leaders gather at the conference at the end of next week. Police have beefed up their presence at the conference center where the march is scheduled to end.
A draft agreement at the Copenhagen conference calls for countries to collectively reduce their emissions by 50 to 95 percent by 2050 and for rich nations to make cuts of between 25 to 40 percent by 2020. So far, industrialized nations have agreed to far less ambitious targets.