Young people take COP26 and Glasgow to demand action against climate change
“What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!” This is the cry of young people that resounded in central Glasgow on Friday as thousands of protesters took the ca
lles during the “Youth Day” dedicated to the Climate Conference, COP26.
Although the march was initially called by the Friday for Future movement of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, people of all ages gathered in George Square to demand climate action.
From young children waving their picket signs from side to side, to older adults showing their support for a better future for those behind, the host city of COP26 witnessed an unprecedented rally which may only be overshadowed by another march expected on Saturday.
Welsh citizen Jane Mansfield carried a sign that read: “Code Red for Humanity”, a phrase used by the General secretary of the UN, António Guterres, to sound the alarm to humanity when the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released earlier this year.
“I am very concerned about the world that we are bequeathing to future generations, and what we are doing to the Global South. I live in South West Wales and it is clear that climate change is happening, but we are not even aware of what is happening in many other parts of the world and I am scared, “she told UN News.
Latin American indigenous leaders also participated actively in the protest. It was they who led the march and several of them sent a strong message to world leaders: stop extracting resources and leave carbon in the soil.
“The indigenous people are dying in the river; they are being washed away by the massive floods. The houses are being washed away, the schools full of children inside, the bridges, our food, our crops, everything is being washed away,” they said on a stage in George Square.
For their part, some activists wore masks of some of the world leaders, such as Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin and Jair Bolsonaro, and represented them as detainees with posters that read “climate criminals”.
“Although we are a small part of the population, 80% of biodiversity has been conserved by native peoples. Our voices, our proposals must be heard in all international agreements on climate change, ”said Abigail Hualinga of the Quechua people of Ecuador.
UN News Conor Lennon
Ask for more participation
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was the last to appear on the stage of the protest, where she criticized world leaders for their continued “blah, blah, blah” after 26 years of climate conferences and questioned the transparency of the commitments they have made. acquired during this COP.
“Leaders do not sit idly by, but rather actively create loopholes and shape frameworks to benefit themselves and continue to profit from this destructive system. It is an active choice by leaders to continue the exploitation of nature and people and the destruction of current and future living conditions, “he said, calling the meeting a” greenwashing event. “
Other members of Friday for the Future asked in statements to UN News for greater participation and better representation of young people in the negotiations that are taking place at the Conference on Climate Change.
“Every year the COP has disappointed us, and I don’t think this year will be any different. There is a hint of hope, but at the same time we don’t see enough action, we cannot achieve anything on empty promises alone, “said a young activist from the Philippines.
“The negotiations are taking place and yet we are here in the street, because we have not been included. The richest people come in their private jets and make the decisions. We are here and they will not ignore us. hollow, “added another climate advocate.
The youth declaration
The same call was made within the Blue Zone of the conference, where climate activists from YOUNGO, the UN children’s and youth group on climate change, handed over to the COP presidency and other leaders a declaration signed by 40,000 young people demanding a change from decision makers.
They also asked Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to support them in ensuring that a paragraph that mentions the importance of young people is included in the final declaration of COP26.
“We will convey these questions and demands to the delegations, all of them absolutely reasonable and justifiable,” Espinosa promised during a round table with young leaders.
The declaration, which is delivered directly to ministers, also calls for action on climate finance, mobility and transport, and on conserving wildlife protection.
“Everywhere in the world I have been, I have been impressed by the passion and commitment of young people to climate action. The voices of young people must be heard and reflected in these negotiations here at the COP. The actions and Youth scrutiny is key for us to keep 1.5 alive and create a zero-emissions future, “said Alok Sharma, President of COP26.
For their part, the United Kingdom and Italy, in collaboration with the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization, and NGOs Youth4Climate and Mock COP, coordinated a new global action to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills necessary to create a world without greenhouse gas emissions.
As education ministers and youth met, more than 23 countries presented national commitments on climate education, ranging from decarbonizing the school sector to developing school resources.
Despite commitments, emissions will continue to grow
Meanwhile, today it became known that, according to the latest UN update, with the commitments that have been announced during COP26, global CO2 emissions are on track to grow 13.7% by 2030 compared to 2010 instead of falling the necessary 45% to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.
That projection is slightly lower than the 16% for the end of this decade that pre-dates the new commitments announced by 14 countries: Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Chad, China, Ghana, Iraq, Japan, Nauru , Pakistan, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Uzbekistan.
However, it is still insufficient. It is estimated that to limit the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5 ° C, as established by the Paris Agreement, a reduction in CO2 emissions of 45% in 2030 or a reduction of 25% is required to limit warming to 2nd C.