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Morocco, international climate protesters demand: 'Make love, not CO2'

US President-elect Donald Trump is seeking to withdraw from global agreement to limit climate change
Moroccan, international protesters against climate change call for action to protect planet in Marrakesh on sidelines of COP22 climate conference on Sunday (AFP)

Thousands of Moroccans and foreigners marched on Marrakesh on Sunday to demand "climate justice" from global envoys gathered for UN talks on staving off worst-case-scenario global warming.

The protest took place on the sidelines of the 22nd Conference of Parties of the UN's climate convention, COP22 for short, which runs until 18 November.

"It is an international march for all the people who suffer the results of climate change, yet had no role in causing it," said Mohamed Leghtas of a Moroccan climate coalition of environment, human rights and labour groups.

"Climate change is a triple injustice: committed by the north against the south, by current generations against future ones, and by a minority which enriches itself from fossil fuel energy against the poor who are left to pick up the pieces," he told AFP.

Native Peruvians, Berber groups and African associations formed part of the procession that snaked through the city, brandishing placards reading: "Make love, not CO2," and "1.5C to stay alive".

The latter refers to the goals of the climate rescue Paris Agreement concluded at the previous round of UN talks in the French capital in 2015, and set the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or 1.5C if possible.

Carbon emissions 'flat'

A report issued on Monday said carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels have been nearly flat for three years in a row - a "great help" but not enough to stave off dangerous global warming.

Emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide stayed level in 2015 at 36.3 billion tonnes and were projected to rise "only slightly," by 0.2 percent in 2016, according to the annual global carbon budget report compiled by teams of scientists from around the world.

"This third year of almost no growth in emissions is unprecedented at a time of strong economic growth," said research leader Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia. "This is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough."

Antolin Huascar of Peru's agricultural confederation said: "We are here to demand respect and to urge the world to commit to cutting greenhouse gases" that are blamed for warming the planet. 

US President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, is seeking quick ways of withdrawing from the global agreement to limit climate change, a source on his transition team said, defying widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Trump move to quit Paris deal

Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, who works on Trump's transition team for international energy and climate policy.

"It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election" on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Diplomats must negotiate rules for putting the hard-fought Paris Agreement's goals into action.

On Tuesday, they will be joined by dozens of African heads of state, French President Francois Hollande and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

"People must fight for their rights and not count on governments [that] are under pressure from multinational corporations," Khadija Riadi, a Moroccan human rights defender, told AFP at the march.

"There can be no climate justice without respect for human rights."