Thousands take to streets, seek global climate action

Sydney/Bangkok/Berlin, Sept 20 

Hundreds of thousands of students, office workers and other protesters took to the streets around the world on Friday to demand global leaders gathering for a UN climate summit take urgent action to avert an environmental catastrophe.

The global climate strike kicked off in the Pacific islands - some of the nations most threatened by rising sea levels - and followed the rising sun through Australia, Japan, South-East Asia and into Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Social media posts showed scores of demonstrations, ranging from a few dozen primary school children in Abuja, Nigeria, to tens of thousands of people in cities from Hamburg, in Germany, to Melbourne, Australia.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has inspired the movement, noted in a tweet the “huge crowd” in Sydney, which she said would set the standard for strikes and protests planned in about 150 countries. “Our future on your shoulders,” read one banner stretched across a street by students in Berlin. “Our oceans are rising, so are we,” was a popular slogan on placards, including one carried by a student in school uniform in Melbourne.

The protesters are calling on governments to take immediate action to limit the harmful effects of manmade climate change.

The strike will culminate in New York when Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her climate activism, will spearhead a rally at the United Nations headquarters.

The UN summit next week brings together world leaders to discuss climate change mitigation strategies, such as transitioning to renewable energy sources from fossil fuels. The protest movement is putting increasing pressure on both governments and companies to respond. — Reuters

Focus on global warming 

  • The Sept 23 Climate Action Summit is aimed at galvanising action to slow global warming. About 60 world leaders will have opportunity to speak and announce goals for cutting planet-warming pollution
  • UN chief Guterres has told world leaders to ‘bring plans, not speeches,’. He has asked participating nations to support an end to fossil fuel subsidies, stop building coal plants after 2020 and commit to getting to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Germany commits 100 billion euro

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government reached a deal on a broad climate plan for Germany that commits 100 billion euro by 2030 to protect environment. After marathon overnight talks dragging more than 18 hours, the coalition sealed a deal which covers a slew of measures from tackling emissions to sops for zero-emission e-vehicles.

UN Portfolios

  • The United Nations is focusing on these six action portfolios:
  • Energy transition
  • Climate finance and carbon pricing
  • Industry transition
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Cities and local action
  • Resilience and adaptation

Among biggest stirs

3,00,000 protest in Australia
5,000 events worldwide
800 demonstrations in US
400 rallies in Germany