Lima: Thousands of people marched in central Lima against the abuse of Earth`s resources Wednesday, urging ministers haggling over a world climate deal to ensure a global switch to 100-percent clean energy by 2050.
Students, environmentalists, workers, women`s defenders, anti-poverty activists and indigenous groups joined the "People`s Climate March" in the Peruvian capital, chanting "Water yes, gold no! The water is ours!"
The colorful line of festive protesters snaked its way from El Campo de Marte park in the city center to Plaza San Martin, accompanied by rhythmic drumming and brass bands.
Police estimated the crowd at some 1,800 people, but AFP witnessed many times that.
A carnival-like atmosphere characterized the two-kilometer (1.2-mile) walk in the hot sun, with larger-than-life puppets and stilt-walkers towering over the crowds, many in traditional Peruvian dress.
They waved placards demanding "100 percent clean energy," and banners declaring "Life is worth more than gold," as a large police contingent looked on.
Ronald Guillen, from the Admicco organization defending the interests of Peruvian coastal communities, told AFP this was an issue of survival.
"A change in weather can be bad for all the things that we build on the coast," he said mid-rally.
"It could be dangerous for the people."
Hip hop artist Brian Palacios, 20, the bottom half of his face covered by a scarf, said he was at the rally "because we have to stop the pollution."
"There have been so many conferences before this one, and global warming is still a problem," he said of the talks underway elsewhere in the city.
"We have to be organized. We have to think of the community, not just our own careers, of money. We have to think also of our sons, our sisters, our brothers."
The rally follows the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people in dozens of cities on the eve of the September 23 world leaders` summit in New York that revived climate change as a political priority.Environment ministers, meanwhile, engaged in the second of a four-day meeting designed to apply political heft to deeply divided negotiations.
The December 1-12 Lima talks aim to clear the way for a pact to be signed in Paris in December 2015 to slash soaring, Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The plan would go into effect in 2020.
The pact attempts to meet the UN goal of limiting average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.
Scientists say 2 C is far safer than predicted trends -- which place the world on track for a 4 C increase this century, with worse droughts, floods, storms and rising seas as a result.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday there was still time to limit warming, but warned that "the window of opportunity is fast narrowing."
US envoy Todd Stern told fellow negotiators Wednesday his country was committed to a positive outcome in Lima.
"Let us make sure that we focus on how much is at stake and not lose the forest for the trees. We can get this done and I believe that we will get this done," he said.