Global climate strike: thousands join coordinated action across world
Hundreds of thousands of people in 99 countries have taken part in a coordinated global climate strike demanding urgent action to tackle the ecological crisis.
The strike on Friday, the first worldwide climate action since the coronavirus pandemic hit, is taking place weeks before the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, UK.
In Germany, two days before the country’s general election, Greta Thunberg told a crowd of more than 100,000 people that “no political party” was doing enough.
The Swedish activist, whose solo strike in 2018 inspired the global Fridays for Future movement, told cheering supporters they needed to keep up the pressure on Germany’s political leaders past election day.
“Yes, we must vote, you must vote, but remember that voting only will not be enough. We must keep going into the streets,” she said.
Organisers of the global event said there were protests in more than 1,800 towns and cities around the world with large events in Europe, Africa and North and South America.
In Mexico protesters assembled in front of the National Palace in Mexico City to demand that the state oil company Pemex present a plan to decarbonise, while in Bangladesh activists demanded the scrapping of planned new coal and gas power stations.
In South Africa demonstrations took place in 12 cities as part of a three-day strike to demand the government oversees a just transition from fossil fuels. In London protesters gathered outside parliament to hear speakers call on the UK government to do more to meet its climate goals. Large demonstrations were also expected in Canada, Brazil and Argentina.
Earlier this year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the world’s carbon emissions must fall by half by 2030 to keep global heating below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the limit countries agreed to strive for in 2015 in Paris.
But the UN reported on 17 September that current pledges from countries would lead to a 16% rise in the next decade.
There have been some positive moves in recent days, with China saying it will end its financing for highly polluting coal-fired power stations abroad – though not at home – and the US doubling its climate finance to vulnerable nations. This funding helps rich countries move towards delivery of the $100bn (£73bn) a year promised a decade ago, which is seen as critical for the success of Cop26.