COP26: young people in the streets of Glasgow to denounce the “blah-blah-blah” of leaders

They want action, and not ” bla bla bla “. Accusing world leaders of making empty promises, young people are in the streets, Friday, November 5, in Glasgow (Scotland) to push governments to act, at the end of the first week of COP26.

They were a few hundred to begin to gather, in the morning, near a park in the city center. Heavy security measures were in place around the climate conference site, and organizers warned of possible traffic problems throughout the city.

Julia Klein, a 50-year-old performer, came to demonstrate with her 10-year-old son. “It’s the kids who are really going to be affected by all of this. And they are already aware of it. I want them to have a clean planet. Not that they have to fight for food or die in fires or floods ”, she explains to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Protests like this put pressure on those in power, and we know this movement needs to grow to achieve the changes we need to ensure the safety of present and future generations.”Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate commented. Like millions of young people, she was inspired by the Swedish Greta Thunberg and her initiative Fridays for Future (“Fridays for the future”): middle school and high school students skip school on Fridays to appeal to the chefs. State and government actions against climate change.

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« Un festival de “greenwashing” »

Launched in November 2018 and then interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, these weekly demonstrations have been resuming for a few weeks. At their head, always, their muse, Greta Thunberg, whose shocking formulas are found on the banners.

Just like the ” bla bla bla “ which punctuate his accusations for a few months: “This is no longer a climate conference. It is a rich countries’ greenwashing festival. A two-week celebration of “business as usual” and blah-blah ”, she again denounced Thursday on Twitter, on the eve of the demonstration. At the end of September, the Swedish activist had already denounced the “Thirty years of blah-blah” on the climate of world leaders, accusing them of having “Drowned” the hopes of young people in their “Empty promises”.

“We expect a lot of people to join us on the streets, not just young people, but also adults who support youth, and adults who want climate action.”said Isabelle Axelsson, 20, of the Fridays for Future movement.

On Monday, during the summit which opened this COP seen as crucial to the future of humanity, young Kenyan Elizabeth Wathuti called on leaders to“Open their hearts to the people on the front line of the climate crisis” and take their “Responsibilities”. “So far they haven’t, but the thousands of voices in the streets this weekend will make them listen”, she added in a statement.

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Other events organized on Saturday

Inside the conference center, Friday will also be the day for youth. In October, the Italian Minister of the Environment, Roberto Cingolani, and the President of the COP26, the Briton Alok Sharma, had promised to transmit to Glasgow the manifesto adopted by four hundred young people from all over the world gathered in Milan under the aegis of the UN: around fifty pages of proposals in terms of energy transition, financing or citizen participation.

After the young people on Friday, a larger coalition of organizations is calling for demonstrations on Saturday at simultaneous events around the world.

“For ten years, the storms in the Pacific have been more severe, the droughts are longer, and the floods stronger. Fishermen can no longer feed their families. This is what I walk for ”, underlines in a press release Brianna Fruean, from Samoa, with the Pacific Climate Warriors, a movement for climate justice of the Pacific island states. “We refuse to be just victims of this crisis. We are not drowning, we are fighting, and on Saturday the world will hear us ”, she adds.

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The 2015 Paris agreement aims to limit warming to well below 2 ° C, and if possible to 1.5 ° C, compared to the pre-industrial era. To achieve this, all the states of the world had, for the first time, made commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. However, these voluntary plans have proved largely insufficient, so that countries agreed to review them every five years until they achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.

Have we made progress? At the margin. In 2015, the promises of the States led the planet towards a warming of 3.2 ° C at the end of the century. From now on, the trajectory is always that of a “Climate catastrophe” according to the UN: 2.7 ° C. The mid-century carbon neutrality targets provide” hope “, but remain “Vague, often incomplete and not aligned with most short-term plans”, warns the United Nations Environment Program, in its annual review of climate action, published in October.

In recent days, new strengthened commitments have been announced by India, which announced its carbon neutrality for 2070, or Brazil, signatory of an agreement to stop deforestation by 2030, which could change forecasts of the evolution of warming.

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Find all the articles in our special COP26 file here.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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COP26: young people in the streets of Glasgow to denounce the “blah-blah-blah” of leaders