British Columbia

UN Climate Summit: Vancouver joins thousands in worldwide rallies

More than 1,000 Vancouverites filled the CBC Plaza, joining hundreds of thousands more around the world as 125 world leaders prepare to converge Tuesday on New York City in an historic UN summit on climate change.

People across the world take to the streets in advance of UN summit to enourage leaders to take more action

More than a thousand people jammed the CBC Plaza for a rally and march in support of global action on climate change in advance of a UN summit Tuesday. (Jeff Harrington/CBC)

More than 1,000 Vancouverites filled the CBC Plaza on Sunday, joining hundreds of thousands more around the world as 125 world leaders prepare to converge on New York City Tuesday in an historic UN summit on climate change.

Tens of thousands filled the streets of New York City in what organizers say may be one of the largest climate change rallies ever held in the U.S. (Michael Poland/Twitter)

Rallies are underway or have happened in New York City, London, Berlin, Paris, Rio, Toronto and Seattle. More than 2,000 events were registered in more than 130 countries.

The Vancouver event, which was billed as the People's Climate March, saw crowds gathering in the plaza prior to marching through downtown Vancouver. Organizers provided music and DJs,  which helped contribute to the event's largely festive mood.

People's call to action

Rally participants say they hope this kind of worldwide support will move nations closer to global agreements to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. 

Rally participants expressed concern over the Northern Gateway Pipeline and the city's nexus as a port facilitating the movement of coal and oil. (Jeff Harrington/CBC)

Eoin Madden, the climate campaigner for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, said Canadians have been far too easy on their politicians when it comes to that issue.

"Especially next year being a federal election time, start demanding climate leadership from your representative," he said. "Start asking them what are they going to do on climate? What's their party position on climate?"

Madden says people in the Vancouver area should be concerned about efforts to start expand coal, gas and oil industries along the coast.

One of the rally's organizers, Shirley Samples, said in a news release that as a port, the city "stands as an important gateway for a flood of oil, coal and LNG that would contribute substantially to increasing CO2 emissions to record levels."

Samples also criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to skip the summit. 

"The fact that our own prime minister is not attending this summit underlines the need for Canadians to take to the streets to send a clear message to Mr. Harper: 'Canadians understand climate change and we know that you have us on the wrong path'," she said.

With files from the CBC's Jeff Harrington