Climate summits and social movements: a timeline


UN Environment Conference in Stockholm: 10,000 people demonstrated


First World Climate Conference in Geneva sponsored by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).


The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme set up the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).


Earth Day: became a global movement: more than 200 million people in 141 countries took to the streets in defence of the planet. (In 2009, 22 April was established as Earth Day).

International events

– End of the military dictatorship in Chile

– Electoral defeat of the FSLN in Nicaragua.

– Reunification of Germany.

– Release of Nelson Mandela.

– Resignation of Margaret Thatcher.

– Alberto Fujimori elected president of Peru. After a decade in power he was accused of corruption, human rights violations and crimes against humanity.


International events

– The Balkan War begins. Croatia and Slovenia declare independence from Yugoslavia.

– Gulf War I begins, fought by the US and its allies against Iraq.

– End of the Iron Curtain and disintegration of the Soviet Union.

– Apartheid is abolished in South Africa.

– Belci dam failure (Romania): 25 deads


Rio Earth Summit:

  • Its areas of action were basically the fight against climate change, the protection of biodiversity and the elimination of emitted toxic substances.
  • It entered into force in 1994, after receiving the required number of ratifications.
  • More than 150 countries signed treaties without concrete commitments for their governments, resulting in disappointment at the lack of concrete results and scepticism about the future.
  • Two conventions and three major agreements: the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity, the Declaration of Principles on Forests, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
  • Agenda 21 resulted in this summit, a scheme to be applied in all institutions around the world to promote sustainable development and social participation.
  • A march of 50,000 people took place in Rio. The police charged and broke up the demonstrators. Security guards removed 40 young activists from the centre of Rio Centro and arrested ten.
  • Severn Suzuki spoke on behalf of ECO (Environmental Children’s Organisation) carrying the idea of the damage to future generations (other summits have celebrated Youth Day).

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International events

Signature of the Maastricht Treaty by the European Union (EU) .

– The republics of Serbia and Montenegro proclaim the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

– Bill Clinton is elected as the new President of the United States.

– The war in El Salvador ends after 10 years.


International events

– Czechoslovakia splits into two states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

– The Internet, a computer network system, becomes the most important means of information exchange worldwide.

– Clinton elected president of the USA.


International events

– First multi-racial elections in South Africa.

– NAFTA or North American Free Trade Agreement comes into force.

– Zapatista insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico.

– Start of civil war and genocide in Rwanda.

– First democratic elections in South Africa: Nelson Mandela is elected president.

– Russian military intervention in Chechnya.

– Merriespruit tailings dam failure in South Africa:17 deads.


First Conference of the Parties or COP of signatory nations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Berlin.

  • The concept of «sustainable growth» is adopted within the environmental movement.
  • Protests and alternative conference.
  • Since the first Climate Summit, no reduction of greenhouse gases has been achieved, but on the contrary they have increased.
  • This first Climate Summit confirmed that the industrialized countries were not adopting measures to address global warming as proposed by the UN.
  • This COP1 resulted in the Berlin Mandate, the first treaty, the precursor of the Kyoto Protocol (2015), proposing to reduce emissions beyond 2000 through quantitative targets and specific deadlines.

Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were executed by hanging on made-up charges. Saro-Wiwa led a non-violent campaign against the environmental degradation of Ogoniland by the operations of the multinational oil industry, especially Shell. Direct action started against the Shell petrol stations during the protest over the trial of Ogoni activists.

International events

– Peace agreements in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

– Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in Israel.


Second Conference of the Parties or COP in Geneva (Switzerland)

The COP 2 resolution recognized the need to establish «legally binding quantitative targets» to limit greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries. The document sets targets for «significant reductions with a precise timetable, such as 2005, 2010 and 2020». As of today (2021) all of these have not been met.

  • Swiss and German citizens chained themselves together outside COP 2 at the UN Palais des Congrès.
  • A balloon floated in the sky with the banner «Cut C0₂ now». Greenpeace activists, dressed in boiler suits, took to the rooftops of the Palais with banners bearing the same message. There was no bad reaction from the police.1

1996 : Eldorado do Carajas massacre in Amazonas, in which 19 landless people were killed by the police. It creates massive support for the land reform movement and for reserves in the Amazon for sustainable use. The day of the massacre is chosen by Via Campesina as the annual day of the peasant struggle.

An international meeting against neoliberalism with 4000 participants takes place in the Lacandon Jungle of Mexico, called by the Zapatistas.

International events

– Establishment of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

– Mad Cow Disease» or BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy),

– José María Aznar (Popular Party) elected Prime Minister of Spain.

– Seizure of the Japanese embassy in Lima by MRTA commandos.

– Firm and Lasting Peace Treaties in Guatemala.


COP 3 – Kyoto

  • The United States did not sign the Kyoto Protocol, thus weakening it. The remaining signatories, 84 at the beginning and then 195, agreed to limit and reduce emissions of the six most greenhouse gases by 5.2% compared to 1990, during the period from 2008 to 2012. The first phase of compliance with the protocol was scheduled for 2008-2012 and the second for 2012-2020.
  • In Kyoto, Climate Action Network called for a 20 % reduction of emissions by 2005, while the EU opted for a 15 % reduction by 2010. Greenpeace called for the world not to exceed a global temperature increase of 1°C (in 2009 called for 2°C).
  • Protests: Greenpeace erected a large statue of a carbonosaurus made from petrol cans, car parts and old fuel tanks to denounce the end of species due to fossil fuel abuse.

EU summit in Amsterdam:

The European anti-globalisation movement mobilised strongly. Many arrests and people are imprisoned during the summit. Those arrested are later paid about 1000 euros each, as the mass arrests had been illegal.

  • The Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is created.

International events

– Blair elected president of the United Kingdom.

– Death of Princess Diana of Wales 1997 and Teresa of Calcutta.

– Overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire.

– Serious financial crisis in Southeast Asia.

– Hong Kong passes to China.

– Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.

– El Niño phenomenon disrupts the world’s climate.


COP 4 – Buenos Aires

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force at this COP. It also approved the Bonn agreement that was concluded at the Marrakech COP in 2001, which included how countries must account for their greenhouse gas emissions and how non-compliance with the Kyoto Protocol will be penalized.

The American Petroleum Institute began to organise climate change denial campaigns.

Peoples’ Global Action (PGA) is founded, with civil disobedience as its main tool.

The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) is stopped.

International events

– Hurricane Mitch devastates Central America, killing more than 11,000 people.


COP 5 – Bonn

It established deadlines to specify the missing aspects of the Kyoto Protocol and how to implement them.

The Kyoto Protocol collapsed because the participating countries were unable to reach agreements due to the failure of some countries to comply with their previous commitments. It was concluded in Bonn the following year.

The «Fossil of the Day» award to the three countries blocking the climate negotiations the most.

WTO Summit in Seattle: strong opposition and repression. A large coalition against the expansion of the WTO was created beforehand, with some 500 organisations. They succeed in breaking up the negotiations. One of the milestones of the anti-globalisation movement.

International events

– The Kosovo war escalates: NATO bombs Yugoslavia. Thousands of refugees.

– Torrential rains devastate Venezuela, especially Vargas state.

– Hugo Chávez becomes President of Venezuela. Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela.

– The British House of Lords allows Pinochet’s extradition to Spain.

– Ultra-conservative Fernando de la Rúa, President of Argentina.

– War between Russia and Chechnya. Boris Yeltsin resigns as Russian president.


COP 6 – The Hague

This COP collapsed because the participating countries were unable to reach agreements due to the failure of some countries to comply with their previous commitments. It was concluded in Bonn the following year.

  • Activists hang from the rafters, storm the stage and berate diplomats for their slowness to take action.
  • Friends of the Earth Netherlands held a mass action by building a dyke at the COP6 venue to symbolise what will happen if the conference fails to act.
  • In London a weekly picket was organised at the US embassy because of their refusal to participate in finding solutions.

Water War in Cochabamba: protests succeed in reversing water privatisation

UN anti-racism conference in Durban: victims of the climate crisis urge the need for domestic and global justice as the main demand in the environmental and climate movement.

International events

– Panama assumes sovereignty of the Panama Canal passes to Panama.

– British government releases Pinochet on health grounds

– Vladimir Putin elected president of Russia.

– Bashar al-Assad succeeds his father as president of Syria.

– George W. Bush wins US election

– Alberto Fujimori resigns as Peru’s president.

– Mad cow disease psychosis spreads in Europe.

– World population is estimated at 6 billion.


COP 7 – Marrakech

The Bonn agreement and aspects of the Kyoto agreement were concluded. The Bonn political agreement was translated into a legal text to solve the technical problems related to financing, the compliance regime of the protocol and the rules of the flexibility mechanisms.

The Campaign Against Climate Change (CCC) is funded in the UK  and organised a huge protest in London against Bush’s rejection of the Kyoto treaty.

Violence against the anti-globalisation movement escalates. A protest and a meeting at the EU Summit in Gothenburg were attacked by the police, as well as the centre where some 700 activists were gathering. The police made accusations that weapons had been stored at the convergence centre. The raid led to clashes with the police in the following days. 50 people were imprisoned for a total of 50 years.

The same methods were used a few weeks later at the G8 summit protests in Genoa, with one of the protesters killed by the police. An international PGA meeting was heavily repressed in Cochabamba.

The World Social Forum (WSF) was held for the first time in Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil with 15,000 participants.

International events

– Attack on Twin Towers and invasion of Afghanistan.

– Economic meltdown in Argentina: «corralito económico»; popular uprisings; resignation of President Fernando de la Rúa.

– Arrest and subsequent trial in The Hague of Slobodan Milosevic.

– G8 meeting in Genoa: serious riots.

– Afghanistan War: US and British offensive supported by NATO. Defeat


COP 8 – New Delhi

This COP is considered to be a transitional COP following the preceding disasters. Although the Kyoto Protocol has not yet enforced, some progress was made on technical issues related to the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM). Another Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, the Delhi Declaration, was approved, which stresses the importance for the least developed countries of ensuring sustainable development and poverty eradication as priority issues, compatible with the fight against climate change, the prelude to «Climate Justice».

UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

– Civil society participates but many movements (including South African ones), Via Campesina and others break away from consensus with mainstream NGOs Environmental Justice

International events

– 2002: Euro enters into circulation in twelve EU Member States.

– East Timor gains independence

– The oil tanker Prestige sinks off the Galician coast.

– Second Intifada

– Alvaro Uribe is elected President of Colombia.


COP 9 – Milan

The process of implementing the Kyoto Protocol continued, with emphasis on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM, like carbon credits, means the substitution of emissions from rich countries by the development of projects in developing countries, presumably climatically acceptable. Criticisms are therefore numerous.

At the WTO meeting in Cancun a South Korean farmer commits suicide against his farming practices. The extension of the WTO’s competence is once again stalled.

International events

– Meeting in the Azores between the presidents of the USA, UK, Spain and Portugal.

– Invasion of Iraq. Allied victory.

– Global demonstrations against the Iraq war.

– Space shuttle Columbia crash.

– Lula da Silva elected president of Brazil and Nestor Kirchner of Argentina.

– Bird flu outbreak in Asia.


COP 10 – Buenos Aires

It coincides with the period after the attack on the Twin Towers and the economic boom, prior to the international crisis (Argentina had already been suffering a terrible one since 2001). Security had been reinforced. The Kyoto Protocol has not yet been implemented (the US has not yet adhered to it). A package of measures for adaptation to climate change was approved.

– Greenpeace sailed through the streets with a «climate ark».

– The Durban Group for Climate Justice is created, focusing on «false solutions».

– 1 April: Fossil Fools Day against fossil dependence is celebrated.

International events

– Madrid bombings by Al Qaeda.

– Enlargement of the European Union with ten new states.

– Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

– Al-Qaeda attacks in Madrid (191 dead) (11M).

– Earthquake and Tsunami in Indonesia

– Cromañón tragedy (Argentina).

– Frozen water found on Mars


COP 11 – Montreal, Canada

There was a little more ambition. The first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 1) was held and most of the world’s governments (except the United States) reached an agreement on emission reductions. Future commitments for after the first period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012) were also discussed.

  • The Youth Delegation concept is introduced at the COP. The following year, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC) and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition are created (The Indian and British YCC in 2008) .
  • Worldwide demonstrations against the Kyoto Treaty in 32 countries: 10,000 in London, tens of thousands in Montreal, thousands in Australia, 4,000 in Turkey.
  • International Climate Action Days resume.

International events

– The IRA lays down its arms.

– Al Qaeda jihadist attacks in London.

– Hurricane Katrina destroys New Orleans.

Earthquake in Kashmir

– Angela Merkel becomes President of Germany.


COP 12 – Nairobi (Kenya)

The second Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP2) was held there, approving commitments beyond the end of the first period of the Protocol in 2012. Initiatives were approved to support developing countries, which are the most vulnerable to climate change.

– Al Gore founds the Climate Protection Alliance and new business-friendly climate initiatives are encouraged.

– The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is published.

– UK Climate Action Camps launch in the UK

– Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) coalition formed in the UK to organise a major side event at the Nairobi COP

International events

– Terrorist massacre on several trains in Mumbai (India).

– Israeli military offensive in Lebanon.

– Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, first Amerindian in office (2006-2019).

– Earthquake in Taiwan

Accident at Gusau Dam (Nigeria): 40 deaths and 1,000 people displaced.


COP 13 – Bali, Indonesia

The negotiation process for the second period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012 and 2020) began. The first compliance phase of the protocol was scheduled for 2008-2012. In addition, emission reduction targets were agreed upon for the second period of the Kyoto Protocol. Developed countries were to have reduced their emissions by 5.2% compared to 1990 (which was not achieved). The Kyoto commitments proved to be insufficient. Therefore, a roadmap (Bali Road Map) was established in Bali to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention and to outline the path towards a post-2012 agreement. The roadmap focused on achieving a shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. An Adaptation Fund was launched.The plan would serve to achieve an agreed outcome and adopt a decision at the Copenhagen Conference.

  • Protests: Indigenous people around the world gagged outside the COP
  • 3rd Global Day of Action «Kyoto Now!» coincides with COP 13,
  • Climate Justice Now! (CJN) was created.

Ecologists and experts urge the government not to exploit oil in the Yasuní Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

The Eco-Socialist Network International (EIN) is founded.

National youth climate conference in the USA, Power Shift ’07, with 5,000-6,000 young people.

Via Campesina meeting in Nyeleni, Mali, launch of the international campaign for food sovereignty.

International events

– Mortgage crisis in the United States.

– Enlargement of the EU with Eurozone Romania and Bulgaria and Slovenia.

– Earthquake in southern Peru


COP 14 – Poznan, Poland

Very poor results, without even reaching consensus on a final declaration. The agreement for the Adaptation Fund, financed in Clean Development Mechanism projects, is deepened, although little capital is committed.

Organisations such as Oxfam denounce that climate change is the main threat to human development and that no progress is being made to limit it below 2°C. Their exhibition «Canvas for change» is on display. Also ice as a protagonist in the statue installation «Stop Warming ice».

– Trade Union Climate Change Campaign Conference

– (to keep CO2 content below 350 parts per million) is launched.

– Action goes from education to confrontation in the Keystone pipeline and tar sands conflicts.

– 1st camp against Climate and Racism in Hamburg against the new coal-fired power plant in Moorburg.

– European Social Forum in Malmö: focused on gas stations, asylum for refugees, an arms factory, an occupied street against global warming.

– Founded the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA, also known as TckTckTck) by World Resources Institute (WRI),, Greenpeace, Avaaz and WWF. Becomes the best funded campaign.

International events

Global economic crisis.

– Boom of big cars (4×4 /Suvs).

Earthquake in Sichuan (China).

Flood by Koshi Barrage (Nepal) – 250 deaths


COP 15 – Copenhagen

As predicted, Copenhagen was another fiasco, although the countries that had not signed the Kyoto Protocol recognized climate change as a problem, accepting emission reduction targets but without reaching an agreement.

  • There was hope that a global successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which was due to expire in 2013, would be agreed. But also great scepticism about the lack of commitment from many governments and the lack of serious action, so the political call was to raise protests. As predicted, Copenhagen was yet another fiasco. The United States pursued an alternative strategy with the BRICS (economically emerging countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
  • The UN initiated a Global Green New Deal to reboot the world economic system, assigning monetary value to all of nature, TEEB – later to be absorbed by the Natural Capital Coalition.
  • REPRESSION: It was the first summit where the climate movement began to show its power to mobilise on a large scale: between 40,000 and 100,000 people attended the march in Copenhagen on 12 December. And around the world, 5,400 rallies and demonstrations were held simultaneously. Ahead of the summit, the Danish government introduced new laws to give the police wide-ranging powers of «preventive detention». Demonstrators were subjected to unconscionable treatment by police who charged with riot police, cordoned off part of the march and arbitrarily detained nearly 1,000 people. A year later, the High Court of Eastern Denmark ruled that 247 people were victims of unlawful arrests.A year later, the High Court of Eastern Denmark ruled that 247 people were victims of illegal detention and that all of them had had their human rights violated, ordering that they should all be compensated.
  • The Climate Justice Now (CJN) network succeeded in uniting the 50,000 people participating in the Climaforum against carbon trading and in favor of «System change, not climate change». Thus, the Climaforum did not end up under the control of the big NGOs.
  • Juantxo López de Uralde, director in Spain, sneaked into the gala dinner of the world leaders’ summit carrying a banner with the slogan «Politicians talk, leaders act». He was held for 19 days with two other activists (released on 6 January 2010).
  • Solomon Islands youth delegate Christina Ora told the COP plenary: “I was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You can’t tell me you need more time”.
  • The slogan «Change the system, not the climate» gains acceptance.
  • Trade unionists from the CCC, and eight trade unions create the One Million Climate Jobs campaign in the UK describing the work to be done in the transition to a low carbon economy. – Energy Action Coalition gathered 12,000 young people in Washington for the largest climate lobby in history.
  • G20 meeting in London: The world’s leading economies gathered to remedy the global financial panic.
  • The Maldives Cabinet held an underwater meeting to demonstrate the country’s vulnerability to rising sea levels,

International events

– Bush deposed as US president, Barack Obama is elected.

Earthquake in Italy.

– Accident at Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam in Russia (75 deaths) and Situ Gintung Dam in Indonesia (98 deaths).


International People’s Conference on climate change in Cochabamba, Bolivia: 32,000 participants. It formulated an ambitious declaration and general statements against capitalism, concealing the great conflict between the left focused on control of the state. The more radical indigenous movement stood aside, protesting against their own governments which continued and expanded extractive activities that damage their ecosystems, and formulated their own Mesa 18 (Board) declaration.

COP 16 – Cancun 2010:

  • The COP reached an agreement adopted by state parties calling for a ‘Green Climate Fund’ of $100 billion per year, but failed to agree on its financing. Nor was a commitment to a second term of the Kyoto Protocol agreed. A network and ‘Climate Technology Centre’ was also agreed.
  • The final text presented by the Summit presidency in the last hours of the negotiations omited references to the sections related to Climate Justice.
  • The upper limit for the global average temperature increase was set at 2ºC. However, there was no agreement on how to do this. The agreement also included keeping the temperature increase below 1.5°C, a demand of vulnerable developing countries.
  • The LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) regulation was dropped, leaving out the Climate Justice proposals, related to the maximum temperature increase, the responsibility of industrialised countries in mitigation and in the continuity of the Kyoto Protocol, in the way in which financing is carried out and in market-based mechanisms.
  • The climate movement, after the disappointment of Copenhagen and the strong repression, organised itself to demand other policies.
  • Caravans were organised from different Mexican and South American cities: from Jalisco, San Luis Potosi and Guerrero. They converged in Mexico City on 29 November 2010 on their way to Cancun (3 December). Before that, an encampment in defence of land, territory and natural resources was organised in Atenco (5, 6 and 7 November).
  • The popular protests were affected by the contradiction in the Latin American and global climate justice movement. In many countries, the main focus is directed to the local level to support energy transition in the hands of local communities. The concept of «energy democracy» was introduced.
  • The ADAO (¡Ante la Destrucción Ambiental, Organización!) Espora was the network of Mexican and international art collectives to create graphic images against the COP.
  • Climate camp-protests against open-cast lignite mines and against power plants began in the Rhineland and Lusatia
  • Founding of the Prague Spring 2 network against right-wing extremism and populism in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • The Khimki forest in Russia is threatened by a motorway project, and a camp is set-up. Its defenders are subjected to severe repression.

International events

– Greece and Ireland apply for a European bailout to avoid bankruptcy.

– The Arab Spring begins in Tunisia and spreads to Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

– Haiti devastated after earthquake. Earthquake and tsunami in Chile.

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States (2009-2017) and the first African American.

– Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinking in the Gulf of Mexico.

– Qyzylaghash Dam collapse in Kazakhstan (43 deaths).


COP 17 – Durban (South Africa)

Another disappointment. Although it had many revealing aspects.

  • One of the unresolved issues remained the future of the Kyoto Protocol whose first period was coming to an end (2008-2012). The agreement for the 2nd Kyoto period was approved, but it would not serve either to control 15% of global emissions or to implement the voluntary commitments made at COP 16 in Cancun. According to the UN itself, it did not serve to stabilize global warming.
  • According to the resolution adopted in Durban, major greenhouse gas emitters such as the US and the newly industrialised countries – Brazil, China, India and South Africa – are willing to start a process to be completed in 2015 that will conclude with a legally binding climate protection agreement. (
  • American student Abigail Borah heckled US chief negotiator Todd Stern, demanding «an ambitious and legally binding treaty.»

International events

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan causes nuclear accident at Fukushima.

– Portugal (in 2011) asks for a European bailout to avoid bankruptcy.

– Military air intervention in Libya.

– Syrian civil war.

– US military kills Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

– 15-M or «Indignados» movement in Spain.

– South Sudan declares independence.

– ETA abandons the armed struggle.

The European Union approves greater economic convergence (not accepted by UK).


Rio +20 Summit (Brazil)

  • Activists took the lead in organising numerous protests against the exploitation and degradation of the Earth, and the denial of indigenous peoples’ rights. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) criticised the draft negotiating text for failing to mention planetary boundaries and nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Major campaign «Freedom to Pollute» focused on global warming and the resulting increase in the flow of refugees.
  • Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) is created in response to the «Green Economy» emerging from the Rio+20 Conference: «Resist, Reclaim, Restructure»: resist transnational fossil fuels, reclaim energy from the public sphere and restructure the sector to facilitate democratically controlled and affordable renewables.

COP 18 – Doha, Qatar

The disappointment deepens.
The first term of the Kyoto Protocol ends and the second term begins in 2021.

  • Mass civil disobedience against the Keystone pipeline in Texas by indigenous peoples and environmentalists
  • and other organisations launch the divestment movement to reduce funding and social acceptance of oil extraction.
  • Occupy Hambacher Forest (Germany) decimated by the expansion of an open-cast lignite mine.
  • 100 young people walk 328 km in Australia demanding Australia’s first solar power station.
  • Superstorm Sandy hits New York and New Jersey, and community networks launch Occupy Sandy.

International events

– French military intervention in Mali.

– The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), Rojava, is created.

– Hurricane Sandy in the USA.

– Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake, Indonesia.

– Vladimir Putin, President of Russia.


Tunis World Social Forum in Tunis focuses on climate and extractivism

COP 19 Warsaw, 2013:

The lack of interest of the major industrialized countries in reducing their emissions was evident. The host country itself, Poland, left the COP!

  • Greenpeace hung a giant banner reading «Who rules Poland – the Coal Industry or its people?»
  • Greenpeace broadcast protests on the smokestacks of power plants, while groups such as Oxfam and WWF organised a walkout to protest the lack of ambition.
  • The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) was formed that year.
  • Pacific Islanders proclaim the Majuro Declaration in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

International events

– Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

– Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died.

– Revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had set up a worldwide electronic surveillance programme, causes a crisis of confidence between the US and allied countries.

– AVE train (High Speed) accident in Santiago de Compostela.


COP 20 – Lima (Peru)

The foundations were laid for a global agreement on commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming, to be followed up at the Paris COP.

  • The International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature was held (see conclusions here).
  • The Climate Caravan travelling to the People’s Summit from Central America was joined by members of the Yasunidos collective, who demanded to the Ecuadorian government not to exploit oil in the Yasuní Park in the Amazon. Along the route, the Caravan was detained up to six times by various security forces, before finally being illegally detained near the border. Five days later it arrived in Lima.
  • People’s Climate March: on 10 December, linked to the arrival of the Climate Caravan, under the slogan «Change the system, not the climate». And worldwide: 570,000 people in 2,700 simultaneous events in 161 countries.
  • Huge activity in the streets of New York with 400,000 people and 1,573 groups, coinciding with the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples and the International Climate Summit.
  • NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says anti-fracking resistance in Europe is influenced by Russia. Friends of the Earth rejects the accusations and Greenpeace responds by asking what they are smoking at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

International events

– Ebola epidemic

– Earthquake in the northern Chilean seismic gap affecting Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.

– Triumph of the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine, civil war in eastern Ukraine (Donbass). Annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia.

– Creation of the Islamic State in parts of Syria and Iraq.

– Attack in Santiago, Chile.

– Abdication of Juan Carlos I and proclamation of Felipe VI as King of Spain.

– China becomes the world’s leading economic power.

– Diplomatic relations are re-established between the United States and Cuba.


COP 21 – Paris

The Paris Agreement was agreed as a substitute/continuator of the Kyoto Protocol, to be implemented in 2021. It was a last minute and minimal agreement.

The Paris Agreement set the ambition of limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5°C; but without binding commitments it had no impact. It lacked accountability mechanisms, reopened the door to carbon trading and prohibited liability claims for loss and damage due to climate change, also known as climate debt. It was due to be implemented at COP 25 in Madrid in 2019, but was delayed to COP 26 in 2020, and by Covid-19 to 2021.

Trump withdrew the USA from the Paris Agreement in 2017, weakening again another climate summit. Subsequently, there were calls for popular sanctions against the US.

COP 21 in Paris was the first to be financed by those most responsible for the climate emergency: the transnational aerospace, fossil fuel and energy companies and the banks and funds that finance them.

  • Climate strikes in 100 places.
  • Paris suffered jihadist attacks in January and November (131 dead). As a result, the government declared a state of emergency, banning all planned climate demonstrations. On 29 November, 10,000 people joined hands from the Place de la République to the Place de la Nation. 4,500 protesters gathered in Republic Square, being dispersed by police with tear-gas – 341 arrests.
  • United we win, divided we lose» becomes the slogan of a broad Coalition to influence the Paris Summit.
  • CJN was largely integrated into Climate Action Network (CAN).
  • UNPCC launched the International Policy and Politics Initiative (IPPI), a business approach to supposedly solve the climate crisis.
  • The German Climate Justice movement begins to focus on the global-ecological campaign «Ende Gelände» (Game Over or This is enough). The aim was to bring an immediate end to coal mining with thousands of people entering and closing the opencast mines.
  • Campaign in Portugal between trade unions, NGOs, environmental organisations to create 100,000 jobs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60-70% in 15 years.
  • Globally, trade unions estimate 150 million jobs for a just transition.
  • The Leap Manifesto in Canada calls for a restructuring of the economy and an end to fossil fuels.
  • Several corporative initiatives such as Mission Innovation (Breakthrough Energy, Bill Gates, Richard Branson and others) start in partnership with 23 states and the EU, or Under 2C, The Climate Group.

WTO Nairobi Summit: BRICS’ agribusinesses pushed to end food sovereignty.

International events

– Refugee «crisis» in Europe

– Jihadist attacks in Paris

– Earthquakes in Nepal and Chile.

– Hurricane Patricia in Mexico.

– Mariana mine dam disaster (Brazil): 19 deaths.


COP 22 – Marrakech, Morocco

It resulted in the legally non-binding Marrakech Proclamation.

  • The German climate justice movement intensifies its global-ecological campaign with an action of 4000 participants over several days in Lausitz. The German movement boosts the European climate movement.
  • The Global Alliance of Territorial Communities is established as an informal coalition of indigenous and community organisations from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

International events

– Earthquake in Ecuador

– Brexit victory. The United Kingdom decides in a referendum to leave the European Union.

– An alleged coup attempt in Turkey fails.

– Peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC.

– Rohingya refugee crisis in Burma and Bangladesh.

– Jihadist attacks in Brussels, Nice, Berlin and Istanbul.


COP 23 – Fiji and Bonn

(Hosted by the Government of Fiji but held in Berlin).
It continued with the Paris Agreement Work Program to finalize it the following year.

Fiji’s Presidency introduces a vulnerability agenda for populations and states most impacted by climate change.

  • In the agreements, global leaders continued to support the Paris Agreement and, in theory, planed to implement the Paris Agreement, with 2020 as the target. To this aim, they create the pre-2020 Action Plan.
  • 25,000 participants attend the demonstration in Bonn.
  • Ende Gelände action with 4,500 participants from several countries blockaded two opencast coal mines to criticise the government’s climate policy and its hypocrisy, and the acceptance of coal in the energy mix. Ende Gelände also brought it to a standstill the previous year.

International events

– Republican Donald Trump, President of the United States. Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

– Emmanuel Macron, President of France.

– Protests in Venezuela against the government.

– Attempted referendum on self-determination in Catalonia.

– Jihadist attacks in London, Stockholm, Barcelona and Cambrils, Manchester and Strasbourg.

– Floods cause avalanche in Mocoa (Colombia)

– Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

– Earthquakes in Mexico on 7 and 19 September


COP 24 – KATOWICE, Poland

Like the previous ones in Poznan (2008) and Warsaw (2013) the major reason for hosting Poland these conferences is the desire for international acceptance of coal as a source of electricity production, which was targeted by the climate movement. However, despite strong pressure, this form is gradually being discarded and abandoned. The European Union ordered the closure of the lignite mine in Turów by 2020. The Ostrołęka C power plant is now being dismantled and the Bełchatów power plant and its mine will be closed.

Still working on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Rule Book is created to ensure compliance with climate goals. However, the resulting Rule Book was insufficient.

  • By 2020 We Rise Up is created, a coalition of 60 groups mainly from Europe calling for climate action due to the lack of results set for 2020.
  • Extinction Rebellion is created with a focus on civil disobedience.
  • August 2018: Greta Thunberg, then 15, went on her first school strike, sitting alone in front of the Swedish Parliament to protest inaction on the climate crisis. Her action sparked a global movement led by students who regularly strike on Fridays, «Fridays for the Future».
  • Thunberg talked in the COP24 conference in Katowice.
  • On 8 September, Rise for Climate was organised, hundreds of thousands of people around the world mobilised: leave fossil fuels in the ground and commit to 100% renewable energy.
  • WWF report reveals that populations of many species have declined 60% (1970-2014)
  • In 2018 the world experienced unprecedented climate impacts.

International events

– The US, UK and France bomb Syria.

– Yellow waistcoats movement in France.

Collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa (Italy).

Collapse of the Solai Patel Dam in Kenya (47 deaths) and the Xe-Namnoy Dam in Laos (36)


Preceding COP 25 was the Global Climate Strike on 20 and 27 September 2019, probably the largest climate strikes in history with 4 million people participating in 4,500 locations in 150 countries in the former and 2 million in more than 2,400 protests in the latter.

Madrid COP 25

COP 25 was originally going to be held in Brazil, but that government pulled out at the end of 2018 and Chile took it over. But Chile decided to forgo organising it because of the Outbreak that began in October and continued until March, and by that time had already killed 18 people (estimated at 34).

The conference moved to Madrid. At this COP, the Paris Agreement was to be implemented. The Chile-Madrid-Time to Act agreement postponed «more ambitious» carbon emission reduction plans to COP26. It was described as weak and disappointing.

196 countries participated, including a delegation from the United States, which had withdrawn from the Paris Agreement.

COP25 set out to go beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, and insisted on the need to move towards climate and energy scenarios that ensure that the temperature increase does not exceed 1.5°C.

International events

– Jair Bolsonaro elected President of Brazil.

– Fires in the Amazon: 92,000 in Brazil, more than 20,000 in Bolivia, and almost 7,500 in Peru.

– Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

– Failed uprising against Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela

– Coup in Bolivia and resignation of Evo Morales.

– Peruvian president dissolves the Congress of the Republic constitutionally.

– Julian Assange loses political asylum.

– Attacks in Sri Lanka.

– First outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan City, China.

– Pemex pipeline explosion in Mexico.

– Brumadinho dam disaster, Brazil: 270 deaths.

– Earthquake in Loreto, Peru.


The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) was scheduled for November 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to 2021.

International events

– US assassination of Qaseim Soleimani.

– United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

– Coronavirus pandemic and global crisis.

– The assassination of African-American George Floyd sparks protests and riots in the United States and in the world.

– War in Nagorno-Karabakh.

– Explosion in Beirut (Lebanon) causes 220 dead, 7000 wounded and several missing.

– Attack in Vienna and Kabul.


The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be held from 1 to 12 November in Glasgow, Scotland, instead of the one postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19.

International events

– Joe Biden, President of the USA. Supporters of Donald Trump storm the Capitol in Washington.

– National strike in Colombia.

– Return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan 20 years later.

– Tour of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) to five continents

– Rishiganga dam’s collapse in India: 145 people missing.



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