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Environmental Activists Rally at Miami French Consulate in Support of COP21

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Attendees rally outside of the French Consulate in Brickell.

As COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, kicked off in Paris, roughly 20 people gathered outside of the French Consulate in Brickell on Monday to show support for a legally binding international agreement on climate change. Environmental groups 350 South Florida and the Miami Climate Alliance organized the rally.

“We want to raise public awareness about the importance of this and stand in solidarity with the people all over the world demanding climate action now,” said Sam Van Leer, founder of Urban Paradise Guild, a South Florida environmental organization.

Jonathan Ullman of the Sierra Club expressed hope that COP21 will lead to meaningful action. “We’d like to see a strong agreement,” Ullman said, “We’d like to see there be set commitments to reduce carbon, to achieve the levels scientists say are necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe.”

Stephen Malagodi, president of 350 South Florida and one of the rally organizers, said he’s encouraged that leaders at COP21 understand the urgency of addressing climate change, but worries the impact of climate change may already be devastating.

“We’ve already seen the new numbers from the regional climate compact engineers that say regardless of what happens in Paris we’re going to have six to 10 inches of sea level rise here in Miami-Dade County in the next 15 years,” explained Malagodi. “That’s not someone else’s problem;  that’s our problem.”

Malagodi presented a letter of solidarity to Deputy Consul Karine Aumont and Stephanie Menaud-Gougain, head of public affairs at the French Consulate. They thanked him, but were unable to provide further comment.