- The biggest global climate protest since the pandemic
- The strike takes place a few weeks before the COP26 summit
- Hundreds of thousands protest in Germany alone, organizers say
- ‘No political party does enough,’ says Thunberg
BRUSSELS, September 24 (Reuters) – Young people around the world took to the streets on Friday to demand urgent action to avert disastrous climate change, in their biggest protest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strike takes place five weeks before the UN COP26 summit, which aims to get world leaders to take more ambitious climate action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that heat the planet.
“The concentration of CO2 in the sky has not been so high for at least 3 million years,” Swedish activist Greta Thunberg told a crowd of thousands of protesters in the German capital.
“It is clearer than ever that no political party is doing enough.”
Protests were planned in more than 1,500 locations by the youth movement Fridays for Future, starting in Asia with small-scale protests in the Philippines and Bangladesh, and spreading throughout the day in European cities like Warsaw, Turin and Berlin.
“Everyone talks about making promises, but nobody keeps their promise. We want more action,” said Farzana Faruk Jhumu, 22, a young climate activist in Dhaka, Bangladesh. “We want the job, not just the promises.”
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Governments so far do not plan to cut emissions quickly enough to do so.
The United Nations said last week that country commitments would see global emissions increase 16% more in 2030 than they were in 2010, a far cry from the 45% reduction by 2030 needed to limit warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“We are here because we are saying a strong ‘no’ to what is happening in Poland,” Dominika Lasota, 19, a young activist, said at a protest in Warsaw, Poland. “Our government has been blocking all kinds of climate policy for years and ignoring our demands for a secure future.”
Friday’s strike marked the in-person return of youth climate protests that in 2019 drew more than six million people to the streets, before the COVID-19 pandemic largely cut off mass gatherings and does push much of the action online.
Yusuf Baluch, 17, a young activist from Pakistan’s Balochistan province, said returning to events in person was vital in forcing leaders to tackle the global crisis.
âLast time it was digital and no one was paying attention to us,â he said.
But with access to COVID-19 vaccines still very uneven around the world, activists in some of the poorest countries have said they will only organize token actions with only a handful of people.
“In the north of the world people are getting vaccinated so they could be in large quantities. But in the south of the world we are still limited,” Baluch said.
Reporting by Kate Abnett, Additional reporting by Kacper Pempel and Andrea Januta, Editing by William Maclean
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