Originally published by RIA Novosti on September 23, 2014
Demonstrators during the Flood Wall Street protest on September 22, 2014 in New York City.
© East News/Stephen Shames
MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti), Nastassia Astrasheuskaya – US President Barack Obama’s speech at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York will be “flowery” but will unlikely lead to action, Peter Rugh, a Brooklyn-based climate activist from System Change not Climate Change coalition, told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
“Obama will say lots of flowery things, but I expect them to have a little meeting in terms of action,” Rugh, one of the organizers of NYC Climate Convergence, a series of events on September 19-20 that brought together scholars, unionists, artists and activists from all over the world “to highlight the connection between climate change and capitalism, and to explore how communities around the world are building transformative alternatives to both.”
Rugh said, however, the US authorities may not be able to avoid talking about the recent Wall Street sit-in eventually, just as they could not disregard the Occupy Wall Street movement three years ago.
“The discourse around Occupy Wall Street in 2011 certainly entered the mass lexicon including some of the president’s speeches. It could easily happen once more,” he said, adding that, words still counted “very little at this juncture.”
“What counts now is building a grassroots movement from below to pressure those at the top to take meaningful and binding steps to reduce emissions and to provide reparations to poor nations who are suffering the effects of climate change most acutely.
According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Obama will announce “a suite of planned tools that will harness the unique scientific and technological capabilities of the United States to help vulnerable populations around the world strengthen their climate resilience.”
The United Nations Tuesday climate summit in New York is a one-day event and hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Just prior to the summit and Obama’s speech, New York police arrested 102 climate protesters at the Flood Wall Street demonstration on Monday night, which gathered about 3,000 participants. They blocked Wall Street and Broadway, saying the companies located on those streets sponsored businesses and activities that contribute greatly to climate change.
Rugh said his organization, as well as dozens of other activist groups on climate change “tapped a growing sentiment of frustration that has been brewing for sometime and sent a message to world leaders, including President Obama, that the time is come to take drastic action on climate change,” and warned of more “disruptions to business” in the future.