GLASGOW, Scotland – Cheering and marching to the beat of drums, tens of thousands of climate activists marched through the streets of the Scottish town which hosts the United Nations climate summit on Saturday, demanding that governments step up action to reduce the use of fossils that warm the climate of fuels that damage the planet.
The mood in Glasgow was upbeat despite the gusts of rain and the crowds were peaceful. Protesters condemned government leaders around the world for the climate talks which activists say have so far failed to produce the swift action needed. Climate protests have also taken place in other European cities, including London, Paris, Dublin, Copenhagen, Zurich and Istanbul.
“We have these conversations, but there is no policy to back them up,” said Daze Aghaji, a walker from London at the Glasgow protest, shouting to the steady beat of the drums.
“And on top of that, the real people should be in the room,” said Aghaji, echoing complaints from climate advocates that the Glasgow summit too limited public participation. “How can we expect to make a decent policy when the people who are the actors of this are not even present in the room?”
The marchers held signs with messages such as “Code Red for Humanity”, “Stop the Big Polluters”, “COP26, we are watching you” or simply “I’m angry”.
Megan McClellan, 24, of Glasgow, said she doubted climate negotiators had listened: “It’s a very easy thing for them to ignore. They are nice and comfortable “inside the summit conference center.
But her friend Lucette Wood, 30, from Edinburgh disagreed.
“They might not do anything about it, but they claim they do… and they’ll put it off for 20 to 30 years,” Wood said.
As the walkers approached the climatic peak, a rainbow arched across the sky.
“Overwhelmingly, the protests are making a difference,” said Elizabeth May, Canadian MP and 16-time COP participant who was in attendance at the rally. “Most of the people inside are here in their hearts and sometimes physically.
Inside the massive UN conference hall, negotiators knelt for a seventh straight day of talks to complete draft deals that can be sent to government ministers for political approval this week. next. Among the issues being debated in the talks by nearly 200 countries is a new commitment to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), causing countries to review their efforts more frequently to increase the pressure for global warming. deeper cuts, and providing more financial support to poor countries to adapt to climate change.
Summit chairman Alok Sharma told reporters at a press conference he understood the protesters’ frustration.
“I think we have made overall progress,” Sharma said on Saturday. “I think people have been constructive in the negotiating rooms.”
“We’re getting to the point where the rubber hits the road, where we’re going to have to make, you know, tough decisions,” by government officials, he said. “I certainly do not underestimate the difficulty of the task ahead.
A Democratic and Republican delegation of US senators was visiting the summit on Saturday. And British actor Idris Elba has brought his star power to the UN talks, stressing the importance of helping small farmers deal with global warming. Elba, known for roles such as HBO’s “The Wire” and BBC One’s “Luther”, said he wanted to highlight the disruption of global food chains as small farmers in particular are affected by irregular seasonal rains , drought and other climate impacts. cash.
“This conversation around food needs to be really amplified, and one thing I have is a big mouth,” Elba said, adding that 80% of the food consumed in the world is produced by small farmers.
Saturday’s march drew a range of participants and ages, a day after tens of thousands of young people from the Fridays for Future movement protested outside the conference’s steel fences. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 18, on Friday called UN climate talks in Glasgow a “failure” so far, accusing leaders of deliberately creating loopholes in the rules and giving misleading images of actual emissions from their countries.
Thunberg’s mix of school strikes, direct and impatient speeches about the government’s apology and mass protests has galvanized climate protests since 2018, especially in Europe.
The climate protest movement – and worsening droughts, storms, floods, wildfires and other disasters around the world this year – have reminded many of the growing damage from global warming and have maintained pressure on governments for stronger and faster action to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
In central London, hundreds of climate protesters marched from the Bank of England to Trafalgar Square. Protester Sue Hampton, 64, said everyone is in danger and all generations need to push for action.
“We cannot let the young people do all the work here. We all have to do it together, ”she said.
In Istanbul, climate protesters brought their children to the protest on Saturday, highlighting the impact of global warming on future generations.
“I want my children to live on a beautiful planet in the future,” said Kadriye Basut, 52, in Istanbul.
Danica Kirka in London, Seth Borenstein in Glasgow and Andrew Wilks in Istanbul contributed to this report.
Follow all of AP’s climate change stories at https://apnews.com/hub/Climate.