Dozens of people demonstrated on Sunday at Bruxelles-Centrale train station, to draw attention to extreme weather phenomena made harsher and more frequent by climate change.
Participants in the demonstration, organised by the ‘Rise for Climate Belgium’ group, expressed support for the many victims of the mid-July floods in Belgium.
Stressing the urgency of the climate situation, they called on political decision-makers, especially those who will be present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to be held in November in Glasgow, Scotland, to double down on efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Speakers at the event included climatologist Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, who briefed the gathering on the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which he is a former Vice president. He also outlined the main issues at stake at the upcoming COP26.
The Belgian climatologist stressed that the science was clear and that it is vital to stick to the targets of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate, which include limiting global warming to less than 2°C and, if possible, under 1,5°C. He added that solidarity is needed, among other things, between the countries of the North and those of the South.
Many people who have been helping victims of the July floods, particularly in Verviers, spoke of the suffering they witnessed in recent weeks.
A minute of silence was observed for the victims of the floods and storms, whose unprecedented force caused extreme hardship to many.