PARIS — As tension builds at the UN climate talks and negotiators struggle to secure a final agreement, activists are mobilizing for a major “Red Lines” demonstration this Saturday in the streets of Paris.
“The latest draft text has a lot of aspirational language, the real test will be what it means on the ground,” said Payal Parekh, 350.org Global Managing Director. “The standard of any effective climate policy is clear: does it keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate a just transition to 100% renewable energy? The commitments we are seeing in the text are a start, but they won’t get the job done, so activists are already mobilizing to close the gap between rhetoric and reality.”
Over the last 48 hours, 350.org has mobilized hundreds of thousands of supporters online to send tweets and emails to key country negotiators and heads of state urging them to support an ambitious long term goal of full decarbonization by 2050 in order to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
On Thursday afternoon, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve joined with Al Gore and the directors of Avaaz, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Earth Day Network and others to deliver 6.2 million signatures calling for a strong agreement in Paris that would move the world towards 100% renewable energy.
Now, 350.org, Attac, Confédération Paysanne, Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire, Climate Games and others are taking the message to the streets. Defying a ban on public protests that has been implemented in France under the State of Emergency, campaigners are planning for a gathering of thousands of people at an iconic location in Paris at 12:00pm on December 12th.
The mobilization is called “Red Lines,” a nod to the principle that is often invoked at the climate talks themselves, and activists will take to a major boulevard to unfurl two 100 meter banners with the words “Keep It In The Ground” and “Crimes Climatiques, Stop!” Participants will then place over 5,000 red tulips along the banners as a tribute to the victims of climate change and the fossil fuel industry, and their commitment to keep up the fight for climate justice after the Paris talks.
Campaigners have already announced a major set of mobilizations for next May called “Break Free” that will challenge the fossil fuel industry at some of the most polluting projects around the world.
Over the past week, 350.org and partners have been hosting trainings and art-builds at locations across Paris. The trainings have been packed full of interested participants, according to the activists, so many that people have had to be turned away at the door. Nightly assemblies at the People’s Summit in Montreuil, just outside of downtown Paris, have drawn more than a 1,000 people. Now, more buses and trains are also on their way towards the city, full of people looking to take part in the December 12th mobilization. More than 8,000 people have RSVP’d to take part in the event.
Other events on Saturday include a geo-location action at 9:30am, when people will use their smartphones to tag themselves on a digital map to spell out “climate justice is peace,” and a gathering at the Eiffel Tower at 2:00pm.
“Paris has never been an end point for us, but a chance to get an agreement that will help us continue with our fight for climate justice,” said Parekh. “If they won’t keep fossil fuels in the ground, we will. Our communities, our climate, our survival: those are our red lines, and we’re mobilizing to defend them.”
 Additional groups involved in planning D12 include: Reclaim the Power, AITEC, and Climate Justice Action (CJA).