“When we the people use our collective power we can win,” said one campaigner.
“September 15-17, 2023. Everywhere.”
Those are the dates and location of the international mobilization against fossil fuels set to take place this coming weekend, and the last word is hardly an exaggeration as organizers with the Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels report that more than 400 actions, marches, rallies, and other events have already been registered around the world.
More than 780 organizations have endorsed the day of action—up from 500 less than a week ago—and millions of participants are expected to rally from Cape Town, South Africa to Manila, Philippines and Lahore, Pakistan, as well as in dozens of cities and towns across the United States, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in history.
The protests are scheduled just before the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit, taking place on September 20 in New York, where groups including the NAACP, Sierra Club, and Sunrise Movement are supporting the March to End Fossil Fuels on September 17.
More than 10,000 people are expected to march in New York to demand that U.S. President Joe Biden end federal approvals for new fossil fuel projects like the Willow drilling project in Alaska and phase out oil and gas drilling in federal lands and waters; declare a climate emergency to unlock resources to accelerate the transition to renewable energy; and provide a just transition that creates millions of green jobs while supporting people who have worked in the fossil fuel industry.
“President Biden is in an unparalleled position to lead the world toward cleaner, less polluting energy options and eliminate the dependence on dangerous fossil fuels,” said organizers of the New York march. “If he takes action, he will protect our health, boost our economy, and tackle the climate crisis head-on.”
The March to End Fossil Fuels is backed by advocates including author Naomi Klein, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, actor and Third Act leader Jane Fonda, and lawmakers including U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
On Monday, scientists including Lucky Tran of the March for Science and biologist Sandra Steingraber announced that 300 climate experts had signed their letter to Biden reminding him that “a broad scientific consensus exists” that fossil fuel extraction must be drawn down immediately to keep global heating below 1.5°C.
The scientists plan to release the letter with all signatures ahead of Sunday’s march.
The global mobilization—and the Climate Ambition Summit, where leaders of countries that emit the most heat-trapping gases will be expected to present updated plans to reduce their emissions and phase out fossil fuels—comes after a summer in the Northern Hemisphere in which numerous temperature records were broken.
As Common Dreams reported last week, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned that “climate breakdown has begun” when U.S. scientists found the summer was the hottest on record. Scientists have said that extreme weather events such as wildfires in Canada and heatwaves in the U.S. and Europe in recent months would not have happened without human-caused planetary heating.
Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network, emphasized that popular uprisings against the fossil fuel industry and the politicians that continue to support it have found success, such as the campaign that pushed Ecuadorians to vote against drilling in the Yasuní National Park in the Amazon last month.
“July 2023 was the hottest month in recorded climate history,” said Essop. “The unparalleled, deadly climate disasters sweeping the world seem to leave polluters unfazed. Historical emitters like Norway, the U.K., and the USA are announcing new fossil fuel projects even as floods, fires, and heatwaves take over our lives. We take inspiration from recent victories in the Yasuní region with the referendum to stop oil drilling.”
“When we the people use our collective power we can win,” Essop added. “Let our resistance against fossil fuels in September send a loud message to the fossil fuel industry and their supporters that their time is up.”
Outside of the U.S., more than 3,000 people are expected to join the Pakistan Climate March in the southern Sidh province; 100,000 are expected to join a march in Abuja, Nigeria; and 3,000 are expected to march near Malacañang Palace in Manila.
“We demand a phaseout of fossil fuels now,” said Farooq Tariq, secretary-general of Kissan Rabita Committee in Pakistan. “The fossil fuel industry and its supporters bear responsibility for the climate crisis and perpetuate a predatory and destructive economic system that harms both people and the planet.”