Glasgow is preparing for the second day of protests against what activists say is a lack of urgency to tackle global warming after environmental activist Greta Thunberg called the UN climate summit crunch in the UK a “failure”.
From Paris to Sydney, from Nairobi to Seoul, over 200 events around the world are scheduled on Saturday to call for immediate action for communities already affected by climate change, particularly in the poorest countries in the south.
In Glasgow, organizers and police said they expect up to 50,000 people to parade through the streets of the Scottish city near the COP26 summit venue, which is under close surveillance.
Delegates from nearly 200 countries are in Glasgow to work out how to achieve the Paris Agreement goals of limiting temperature rise to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius (xxx to xxx Fahrenheit).
Midway through the COP26 negotiations, some countries signed commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with separate agreements on phasing out coal, ending foreign funding for fossil fuels and reducing methane.
The promises followed a meaningful assessment that showed global carbon dioxide emissions were set to rebound to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.
But the activists were left indifferent from the summit so far.
“They can’t ignore the scientific consensus and they can’t ignore us,” Thunberg said.
“This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global greenwashing festival. “
‘We want more’
On Saturday in Australia, more than 1,000 protesters in Sydney and Melbourne – some dressed in bits of coal or Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a vigorous advocate of the mining industry – called the talks “a farce” and their national leader “an absolute. embarrassment “.
“No more blah, blah blah. Real climate action now, “reads a sign during a protest in Sydney.
“We are all here to show that we want more from our government,” one of the protesters told Reuters Georgia news agency.
The Melbourne protest was smaller than Sydney’s, with only a few hundred people showing up for a rally that also included a giant koala emitting plumes of smoke and demonstrators dressed as skeletons on bicycles.
Several smaller events took place elsewhere in Australia.
Meanwhile, the South Korean capital of Seoul has seen around 500 protesters take to the streets demanding immediate action for communities already affected by the fallout from a burning planet.
South Korea has few energy resources of its own and relies on imported coal – a cheap but dirty fuel – for about 40 percent of the electricity that powers the world’s 12th economy, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
The country aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, but local activists say the goal cannot be achieved without further fundamental changes.
“At COP26, the expected ‘blah blah blah’ is taking place,” said Climate Strike, one of the organizing groups for Saturday’s march in Seoul.
Security was tightened around Glasgow city center ahead of planned demonstrations, which are expected to attract a variety of groups including Extinction Rebellion.
“Many thousands of us are marching around the world today to demand immediate and serious action,” Scottish activist Mikaela Loach told AFP news agency.
“We are clear that hot words are not good enough and that next week of talks must see a serious increase in concrete plans.”
Negotiations for COP26 will continue on Saturday before taking a break on Sunday before what promises to be a hectic week of shuttle diplomacy, with ministers arriving to pass hard-fought compromises on a number of issues.
Countries have yet to clarify how the commitments made in the Paris Agreement will work in practice, including rules governing carbon markets, common reporting timelines and transparency.
Countries have entered COP26 with national climate plans that, when brought together, have resulted in the Earth warming 2.7 ° C (xxxF) this century, according to the United Nations.
With just 1.1 ° C (xxxxF) of warming so far, communities around the world are already facing increasingly intense fires and droughts, displacement and economic ruin wrought by global warming.
Brianna Fruean, a Samoan member of the Pacific Climate Warriors, who spoke at the World Leaders Summit at the start of COP26, said it was time for leaders to take note of the protesters’ demands.
“It can’t go on like this,” he said. “We refuse to be just victims of this crisis. We are not drowning, we are fighting and on Saturday the world will listen to us. “