LONDON (AP) – Protesters took to the streets in London’s historic financial district on Friday to lobby against the use of fossil fuels ahead of the start of the United Nations climate summit in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
The protests in London, joined by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and many other young activists from around the world, are part of a global day of action before leaders travel to Glasgow to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26. Many environmentalists call Oct. 31-Nov. 12 bringing together the last best chance in the world to turn the tide in the fight against climate change.
Protesters included Friday for Future activists from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, who called on banks to fund activities such as deforestation, mining and polluting industries, which they blame for destruction of their homes and their future.
“As much as we are passionate about being here, we shouldn’t have to be here,” said Brianna Fruean of Samoa. “Our pain, suffering, tears and sorrows shouldn’t be what it takes to act. We already know what we need to do: we need to gradually move out of the fossil fuel era, we need to divest ourselves of those industries that cause this evil and this despair. “
The background music ahead of the climate talks seems rather pessimistic, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit’s host, saying it is “touch and go” if there will be a positive outcome.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday warned at the Group of 20 summit of major industrialized and developing countries that “there is a serious risk that Glasgow will not deliver.” He said that despite the climate targets updated by many countries, the world “is still heading towards a climate catastrophe.”
The protest in London began at the Climate Justice Memorial outside Lloyd’s of London Insurance Market, where red flowers spelling “Rise Remember Resist” were laid.
Attention then shifted to the headquarters of international bank Standard Chartered, where the few dozen protesters, including Thunberg, chanted “Keep it, keep it, keep it in the ground!” And “Secure our future, not pollution!” A vigil in front of the Bank of England will complete the day’s events.
“We have companies like Standard Chartered funding our deaths,” said Collette Levy-Brown, a climate activist from Botswana. “People are dying slowly. In Africa, we are already witnessing the climate crisis.
Protesters around the world have taken to the streets to call for action, including in coal-dependent Poland, where city sirens sounded at noon in Warsaw and other major cities. Poland’s conservative government has been slow to adopt new climate targets, arguing that the country needs more time to phase out its heavy reliance on coal.
The Glasgow summit takes place a year late due to the coronavirus pandemic. Six years ago in Paris, nearly 200 countries agreed on individual plans to fight global warming. Under the Paris Pact, countries must review their previous commitments to reduce carbon pollution every five years, then announce their intention to cut even more and do it faster.
The main goal set in Paris was to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, but the world has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit). ) since then.
The hope is for world leaders to coax themselves into Glasgow to do more, while ensuring that the poorest countries battling climate change get the financial support they need to adapt.
However, the UN’s Guterres said there were “serious questions” about some of these emissions commitments and noted that collectively they will not be enough to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees. Celsius.
David Keyton in London, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw and Karl Ritter in Rome contributed to this story.
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