Red Lines, Condoms And Arc De Triomphe: Climate Activists Step Up Protests

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Above Photo: Activists of global anti-poverty charity Oxfam wearing masks depicting some of the world leaders U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Francois Hollande, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel REUTERS/JACKY NAEGELEN

From storming the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris to handing out condoms to bureaucrats in the suburbs, climate change activists stepped up public stunts on Friday in a last-ditch bid to get negotiators to agree a powerful accord.

Two weeks of U.N. talks to forge a global agreement to temper global warming are set to continue into Saturday, a day later than scheduled, as officials from 195 nations seek to resolve stubborn differences over how to cut back fossil fuel use and shift the planet toward greener growth.

Seeking to step up pressure to deliver an ‘ambitious’ agreement, Greenpeace activists abseiled off the top of the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’ landmark monuments, and poured yellow paint on its famous roundabout, meant to appear like rays of sunshine from the sky. Some held banners calling for French President Fancois Hollande to increase renewable energy.

“France presents itself as a model during this climate conference but in fact today France develops three times less renewable energy than its European neighbors,” said Greenpeace coordinator Frederic Amiel.

Police were seen arresting several people.

At the summit site in the suburb of Le Bourget, dozens of activists held up a length of red fabric meant to discourage negotiators from drawing any “red lines” in their talks — intractable positions that thwart compromise, according to the organizers, U.S. climate group 350.org.

Two members of the Green Warriors of Norway handed out condoms to warn passers-by that the real problem behind the warming planet was overpopulation.

Online activist group Avaaz took out a full page ad in the International New York Times, featuring major world leaders such as Barack Obama and Angela Merkel dressed as characters from Star Wars, the newest instalment of which is out next week.

“A new force is awakening in our galaxy. But without Brazil, the United States, China, Germany and India, they won’t have the strength to destroy the fossil fuel industry’s death star,” the ad says.