Christian Aid heads climate change march

Coventry is at the heart of the climate change protests today
Coventry is at the heart of the climate change protests today

By Ian Dunt

In the latest sign of increased cooperation between environmentalists and development activists, Christian Aid headed a large climate change protest in Coventry today.

Hundreds of campaigners from across the country gathered in the city today to join a march led by with Nasa's Dr James Hansen, a world expert on global warming, and actress and environmental campaigner Greta Scacchi.

The march was part of a national Climate Change Day of Action, but the Christian Aid protest is particularly interesting, focussing as it does on the link between development and green issues.

The group says millions of people in poor countries are now facing extreme weather conditions which are fast becoming a matter of life and death.

Events begin with service at Coventry Cathedral at noon attended by Dr Hansen, and the Right Reverend James Stuart Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, together with more than a thousand campaigners.

This was followed by a New Orleans style funeral march around the city by hundreds of 'mourners' dressed in black in remembrance of those who have already died as a consequence of extreme climate change.

The march begann at 13:30 GMT at the old Cathedral ruins in Coventry town centre and ended by the Civic Centre, Little Park Street at 14:30 GMT.

The 'mourners' then visited the nearby headquarters of power company E.ON, with the final message of the day: 'No to coal!'

Protestors showed their opposition to plans by E.ON to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent by ending the funeral march at the company's front door.

Aid activists pointed to the ironic fact that populations of countries least responsible for climate change are those feelings it first effects.

Many poor countries are now bearing the brunt of the impact of climate change through droughts, floods, desertification, an increase of extreme weather phenomena such as hurricanes and typhoons, and higher incidences of disease, campaigners say.

"Time is running out for the climate and the vulnerable people of our planet," said Dr Hansen, director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space, who recently publicly warned US president Barack Obama about the importance of tackling climate change.

"Campaigning on climate change has never been more crucial."

Ms Scacchi said: "I am delighted to be involved in the Climate Change Day of Action in Coventry.

"When world leaders meet in Copenhagen in December they must put poor communities in developing countries who are already suffering the devastating effects of climate change at the top of the agenda."


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.