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Rosetta Stone for climate action unveiled on Schuman roundabout

08:51 08/11/2022

A replica of the Rosetta Stone, intended to be a symbol of the need for climate action ahead of the COP27 conference taking place in Egypt, has been unveiled next to the Schuman roundabout in Brussels.

“This stone symbolises our anger and our hope,” said Stéphane Vanden Eede, representative for the organisation Pakman, which is behind the installation, which was sculpted by Véronique Choppinet.

“Hope that after 50 lost years, we as citizens and politicians will take the necessary steps to fight climate change. We are no longer heading for a wall, we are just standing in front of it. It will take time and generations to rebuild the idyllic land that we have all allowed to be destroyed.”

Pakman is a collective that sprung out of the publishing of a 2022 white paper titled “Wanted: The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report,” which denounced the climate denial entangling both civil society and political bodies.

Its name is a nod to the video game character “which gobbles up everything in its path”, and the collective describes itself as being made up of citizens from every walk of life “coming together to denounce climate denial and push every level of power to take, swiftly and democratically, the urgent decisions which are required by the situation”.

The four sides of the Rosetta Stone are decorated with statements in four languages: French, Dutch, German and English.

As COP27 takes place from 6 to 20 November in Egypt, a 150m² tent on Place Schuman will simultaneously host citizens' assemblies and ‘climate nights’, during which debate and information sharing can occur regarding themes such as democracy, energy and agriculture.

The message on the stone is one of anger at inaction regarding the changing climate, along with a warning to future generations, a reminder of the 1972 Meadows report on climate change and the lack of progress since then.

“My anger is that of a young man who, in 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, thought that after the Cold War, the money that was used for weapons would now be invested in the climate,” said Nicolas Van Nuffel of the Climate Coalition.

“Now, 30 years later, some small progress has been made but it is not enough. Billions are still being invested in the coal and oil industries, even though we knew as far back as then that they were the cause of the problem.”

Van Nuffel said that at the climate summit held in Copenhagen 13 years ago, promises were made that were then not kept.

“It was agreed that the most developed countries, which have polluted the most, would deposit $100 billion a year into a fund to enable developing countries to survive the climate transition,” said Van Nuffel. “Last year, only $80 billion was disbursed.”

Written by Helen Lyons