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Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – live updates Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest – live updates
(about 2 hours later)
A government minister said he cannot endorse children leaving school to take part in the climate strikes. Minister for business, energy and clean growth Kwasi Kwarteng told BBC Breakfast on Friday that he supported the “energy and creativity” of students but said time spent in school was “incredibly important”. Even Emmeline Pankhurst has joined in the protests in Manchester. A statue of the suffragette hero has donned a bright orange lifejacket and a placard that asks: “Ready for rising sea levels to reach this height?”The stunt was the idea of Katie Bradshaw and Ryan Griffiths, both 31, who described themselves as first-protestors who felt the need to act today.“Emmeline still carries that Mancunian spirit of standing up for what she believes in and great causes,” said Griffiths. “Climate change is so important and we think it’s something herself would be an issue she would be at the forefront of if she were around today.”Bradshaw added: “We’ve got to do our bit and even if it’s just putting some signs up and making people realise we need to look after our planet. If she was around today she’d be supporting it.”
When asked if the government was listening to the young protesters, he said: “Their voices are being heard ... What I do support is their energy, their creativity, and the fact that they have completely mastered these issues and take them very seriously. “I am not going to endorse people leaving school because I think education, time spent in school is incredibly important.” Emmeline Pankhurst showing the world the way in Manchester pic.twitter.com/Z1TFjYCAuN
Here are the final exclusive Twitter figures for the climate strike in Australia. Friends of the Earth, an international network of environmental organisations in 74 countries, is calling on people across Britain to join young people in striking against climate change.
This has been your day on #climatestrike, Australia! No1 trending in Australia for 8hrs, and current top 7 trends all related to @strikeclimate:1. #ClimateStrike2. #schoolstrike4climate3. #ClimateAction4. #FridaysForFuture5. Treasury Gardens6. Hobart7. #notbusinessasusual Muna Suleiman, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:
And this is what the school strike conversation has looked like on Twitter in the past three days leading up to today’s demonstrations: Most of us want to fix the climate crisis. And it can be done. But we need our politicians to act. Climate breakdown is already hurting people around the world, with many of those who have contributed least to the crisis being subjected to the harshest impacts.
Australia & Pacific are done, now the world picks up the #GlobalClimateStrike light. This is what the #schoolstrike4climate conversation has looked like on Twitter in the past 3 days leading up to the #ClimateStrike! Global live coverage continues here: https://t.co/rViiPMOgWR pic.twitter.com/svzvhdsQNM “And right when we need our leaders to step up, they continue to let us down. From filling the skies with more planes, to backing fracking in the UK and funding oil and gas projects abroad.
There is a lot planned for South Africa today, with demonstrations in Johannesburg, the commercial capital, on the southeastern coast in Durban, in Pretoria, and in Cape Town, where there’ll be a march on parliament.Ayakha Melithafa, 17, said that she would be joining The Global Strike in Cape Town.The march won’t start until early afternoon to allow students to finish most of the school day.“We’ll be marching to parliament to demand that the government take this issue seriously. It needs to declare a climate emergency here in South Africa, and a moratorium on coal, gas and oil mining licences. They have just ignored the problem so far,” Melithafa said.South Africa is one of the continent’s most developed economies and relies heavily on coal powered energy generation. It is currently building new and very big coal-fired power stations.“We have arranged with our teachers to leave early. it is up to us. We are the leaders of today. We don’t just want the system to change. We want a brand new system which will help us live sustainably with a bright new future,” Melithafa said. “That’s why we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with young people to call on our politicians to deliver emergency climate action now. And we’re asking everyone to join us.”
A roundup of what is happening around Europe on Friday: Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind kicks off Berlin’s “Klimastreik” to huge cheers from the thousands gathered, although no official estimates of the numbers attending are available yet.Contender for banner of the day is: ‘Grandpa what is a snowman?’ Hundreds of people are streaming through the portals of the Brandenburg Gate, through the Tiergarten Park and from every direction onto Platz des 18. März.
France Lots of Berlin’s young are here with the blessing of their parents and teachers, though many have defied their schools to be here.
Youth for Climate France has organised a number of marches across the country, and youngsters cave called on adults to join their action. In Paris, a march will begin at Place de la Nation and finish with a gathering at Parc de Bercy with workshops, conferences and “citizens’ meetings”. A second day of protests on Saturday are planned to mark World CleanUp Day. At 1pm, the student strikers are planning to let off alarm clocks across the UK, and are encouraging businesses to set off their fire alarms at the same time in support. Jake Woodier, the campaign co-ordinator at UK Student Climate Network, said: “Young people across the world have taken the lead in highlighting the need for urgent climate action over the past year. “They are calling for adults to join them for the global climate strike, just three days before the UN climate action summit to pressure our governments to act to tackle the climate crisis. “Raise the Alarm will help draw attention to the climate emergency in workplaces across the breadth of the UK,” Woodier said.
Italy Students at Torquay Girls’ Grammar school have made a video about climate change.
More than 470,000 people took part in the first global climate strike in Italy on 15 March and a similar number is expected to join next Friday’s demonstrations. What’s the carbon footprint of my trip?
Germany The square outside Manchester’s grand central library has been taken over by a sea of people carrying homemade placards and chanting. Hundreds of those gathered sang “Whose planet? Our planet!” with scores of children among the protesters. Nellie Jacobs, 10, and her mother Helen said they were motivated to take part in the global climate strike after their hometown Whaley Bridge was evacuated earlier this month when it was deluged with months-worth of rain in a short period, causing a dam to burst and dozens of properties to flood.
Nearly 500 climate change demonstrations are planned across Germany on Friday. In Berlin, several demonstrations will take place throughout the day. The Fridays for Future gathering starts at noon at the Brandenburg Gate under the motto: “Everyone for the climate.” Organisers expect 10,000 people. Nellie Jacobs, 10, and her mum Helen felt compelled to be at the climate strike in Manchester after the serious flooding in their hometown Whaley Bridge this month pic.twitter.com/sNjlmRcXKb
Why is this week important? Nice cartoon just in from reader Jesse Leonard. You get the picture, literally. Possibly the first time the climate crisis has been likened to a purple piano, but why not?
The strikes take place ahead of the UN general assembly and the climate action summit on 23 September. The summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organisations to develop ambitious solutions. If there are any other artists out there with climate emergency sketches/drawings/cartoons, send them in via this link.
The world’s leaders will converge on New York for the assembly, where each is given an (unenforced) time limit of 15 minutes to speak in front of the green marble podium. Leaders occupy positions in the hall in alphabetical order by country name, usually with a different nation occupying the first seat each year. The Kichwa tribe in the Sarayaku region of the Amazon in Ecuador believe in the “living forest”, where humans, animals and plants live in harmony. They are fighting oil companies who want to exploit their ancestral land. A delegation of indigenous people are at the Paris COP21 climate conference to make sure their voices are heard. Can they win their battle?
General assembly week usually makes news in the first day or two, when the US president and other powerful heads of state tend to have their moment, and then attention tends to tail off. For that reason, there is always some horse trading before the general assembly week, with prime ministers from big countries trying to swap speaking slots with presidents of small countries. Tweeting a photo from a climate strike, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said:
Are you taking part in a climate strike or marking the day in any way? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you’re doing and where and share any photos and videos via our reader call out here. If you prefer you can also share via WhatsApp by adding the contact +44(0)7867825056. Only the Guardian will see your responses and we will include some of your stories in our ongoing coverage. Young people here and across the world are making it impossible to ignore the environment and climate emergency.This is the wonderful youth #ClimateStrike in my constituency - now I'm on my way to the main London demonstration. pic.twitter.com/GI1AniUnpb
Activists on bicycles block traffic at Ernst-Reuter-Platz square in Berlin, Germany, as they take part in the global climate strike today. Kate Connolly, the Guardian and Observer’s Berlin correspondent, has been out this morning in the German capital.
There will be a “special takeover” of Channel 4’s usual evening weather report today, as the network joins the world’s largest climate strike. The channel’s social media accounts will also join the walkout, bosses said, and will be going on strike between 9.30am and 5.30pm. Crowds gathering now at Brandenburg Gate. Lots of kids who are missing school, some with teachers’ blessing, many without pic.twitter.com/zcvOhYMM9U
Additionally, continuity announcers will share facts drawn from World Meteorological Organisation research throughout the day on Channel 4. No details were given on the nature of the weather forecast’s “special takeover”. Across Britain, thousands will take part in a march. Worldwide, campaigners say there are more than 3,400 events planned in 120 countries, with numbers taking part expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 million people who took part in the global strike in March. Climate activist Robin Wood performing the most precarious feat of the day so far by hanging over the A100 Berlin motorway under the banner “clean cars - a pure lie” https://t.co/JbWxaIu0II
The outdoor apparel brand Patagonia is closing every store worldwide to encourage employees and customers to join the climate strike. Strikes are planned for at least seven Nigerian cities, such as Lagos, which is clogged by mountains of toxic waste including thousands of tons of e-waste from the EU, particularly the UK and Germany. There will be a protest in Port Harcourt, capital of the country’s oil-producing region, whose residents and their possessions have been covered in soot for the past few years, believed to be the result of destroying illegal oil refineries.
Demonstrators from more than 150 countries are expected to put pressure on governments and decision-makers to do more about climate issues. There will also be two protests against a proposed coal plant in San Pedro in Ivory Coast, while in Ghana, a group called Young Reporters for the Environment is leading a march from the city hall of the capital, Accra.
The strikes come ahead of the United Nations climate change summit, which begins on 23 September. Next Friday, there will be a demonstration in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana’s Ashanti region. Ghana is losing its rainforests faster than any other country, with a 60% increase in primary forest loss from 2017 to 2018.
While in the UK and many other countries the strike is taking place today, in some countries such as Italy and the Netherlands the strike is happening next Friday, 27 September. In Senegal, there are marches in Rufisque and Thies this Friday, a climate camp in Kaolack on Sunday, followed by a demonstration against a new coal plant in Bargny, and a march in the capital, Dakar on the 27th. Air pollution in Dakar is causing more and more respiratory problems, in large part because of “dirty”, sulphur-laden diesel.
Explaining the decision to close stores, Ryan Gellert, the general manager, EMEA, Patagonia, said: “The climate crisis is a human issue affecting all of us ... As a global business, we will be closing our stores on 20 and 27 September, striking with the youth activists and calling for governments around the world to take action.” Environmental activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot have helped produce a short film highlighting the need to protect, restore and use nature to tackle the climate crisis.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will today thank young people for educating the world about the climate crisis. Speaking at the youth climate strike, Corbyn will also criticise the prime minister, Boris Johnson, for calling global warming a “primitive fear”. Berlin’s main transport line, the S-Bahn, has virtually ground to a halt this morning due to a major engineering breakdown leaving many protesters stranded and unable to reach the protest. Participants are being encouraged to take their bikes instead. Many have pointed out the irony.
He is expected to say: Meanwhile, at the Brandenburg Gate, scene of the main protest in Berlin that is due to kick off just before noon, protesters have been organised into neat blocks.
To the young people leading by example today here and across the world, I want to say thank you: thank you for educating us about the climate crisis and the emergency of species extinction and biodiversity loss. Apart from the huge crowds of protesters, the other uplifting piece of climate news today is that onshore wind has just became the cheapest source of energy in the UK. Industry analysts can’t believe how quickly the price has fallen. This shows the transition away from fossil fuels is much more affordable than people dared hope five years ago. On the business side of things, also encouraging to note efforts by companies with a green reputation, who seem to be competing to do more by selling less. The Patagonia outdoor clothing store will close all its European outlets today and next Friday so staff can join the protests. Ben & Jerry’s and Lush also shutting today. Burton, the winter sports chain, is giving workers a paid day off to join the strike and have halted online sales for 24 hours. The company’s webpage today reads “Closed for business. Open for action. Let’s protect our playground.”
I know the situation can look bleak. We have a prime minister that has called global warming a ‘primitive fear without foundation’. The US president is a full-blown climate denier, putting our planet in danger by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. And the Amazon is on fire, looted by big corporations with a Brazilian president watching on who doesn’t care. In London, where big crowds are expected to gather near Westminster from 11am, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has thrown his weight behind today’s strikes.
But when we see young people demanding urgent action, it’s an inspiration. When I see this movement growing and it’s growing every day I know we can tackle the climate emergency. He told the Guardian this morning he fully supports schools across the city who are “working with pupils and allowing them time, without sanction, to peacefully and lawfully join the strikes today”.“It is unbelievable that we need strike action for the future of our planet to be taken seriously by government’s around the world,” he said.
The next Labour government will welcome your pressure and hear your demands for change. We will kick-start a green Industrial revolution and protect our planet, so it’s there to give life and joy to generations to come.” “I fully support the thousands of young people peacefully and lawfully protesting around the country today who feel so strongly about the climate change emergency and I share their frustration. The stark reality is we are running out of time for meaningful change. The climate crisis is one of the very biggest challenges we face I have declared a climate emergency in London and governments around the world are failing to take the action we need.”
I will be picking up the live blog from the Guardian’s London offices. Please share any photographs or comments from where you are with me: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com Berlin has kicked off its Fridays For Future this morning with road blockades, cycle rallies and a demonstration in front of the cuboidchancellery of Angela Merkel, where about 40 young people have unfurled a banner asking: “Return of the climate chancellor?”
I’ll be handing over the blog now to my colleague Sarah Marsh. There are still hundreds of places, thousands of students and hours of protest to come. It’s an appeal to Merkel, once environment minister, to live up to the reputation she is seen to have squandered over everything from her support of the car industry to her refusal to back a phase-out of brown coal mining.
Stay with us as the strikes sweep across Asia, Africa and Europe, and into the Americas. There will also be plenty more Australian news and analysis to come. They are keen to pressurise her coalition government ahead of the launch of its much-awaited package of climate emergency measures which the cabinet has spent the night negotiating and is due to launch early this afternoon. The protesters are chanting: ”Wir sind hier, wir sind laut, weil Ihr uns die Zukunft raubt.“ –“We are here and we are loud, because you’re stealing our future”.The main protest at the Brandenburg Gate is due to start just before noon.
To recap what we’ve seen across Asia and the Pacific today: When there is protest in Berlin, there is usually also techno, and from 3pm a “Rave Rebellion” march will depart from Potsdamer Platz square, under the motto “No Future No Dancefloor”. Extinction Rebellion has announced plans to block traffic at strategic points “where it will hurt drivers” around the capital.
At least 300,000 people have taken part in the largest climate strike across Australia yet. Elsewhere, 400 protests have been announced across the country, which will likely attracts adults as well as children. An umbrella organisation that includes organisations such as “Psychologists for Future”, “Entrepreneurs for Future” and “Grandparents for Future” has called for people to join in, as has the services union Verdi and the German Protestant Church. “We stand side by side with Fridays for Future”, said Annette Kurschus, the president of the Protestant Church of Westphalia, “Planet Earth does not belong to us, it has only been entrusted in our care”.
Melbourne’s event drew 100-150,000 people, and Sydney’s 80-100,000. Hobart’s 22,000 attendees made it Tasmania’s biggest ever strike action. Germany has two faces when it comes to the environment: the country that prides itself in its high recycling rates, phasing out nuclear power and pioneering renewable energies is still the world’s sixth biggest pollutant, with 865m tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018.
Hundreds of regional centres joined in – from Alice Springs, Byron Bay and Katherine. Borne out of this realisation, much of the recent debate in the country has focused on the phase-out of the country’s approximately 130 smoke-belching coal plants. The government wants to close them down by 2038 too soon for many unions, especially in the coal-rich east, and too late for climate activists galvanised by Fridays for Future. In Europe’s “car nation”, air pollution through exhaust fumes is another contentious issue, with some cities having introduced driving bans for diesel cars last year.
As part of Guardian Australia’s coverage, the federal energy minister, the opposition energy spokesman and two of the country’s biggest energy companies took questions from students. The Fridays for Future protests have had a tangible effect on the political climate, with several polls earlier this year showing the Green party emerging as the strongest political force in the country. Many other parties have tried to copy its message, with even the arch-conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union calling for a coal phase-out by 2030, bans on plastic bags and new wind farms. Angela Merkel’s coalition government is expected to announce a plan for tackling climate change, rumoured to involve €75bn of investment by 2030, just in time for Friday’s climate strike.
In Vanuatu, the deputy prime minister spoke directly to the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand as countries “to blame for this threat to our survival”.
Protests also unfolded in the Solomon Islands, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Pakistan and more.
22000 people in Hobart, Tasmania... And this is Sydney still gathering!!!#ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture https://t.co/wt5YPuGRL7
As our Australian coverage wraps up, here’s a great round-table discussion from some Brisbane students.
"That was insane!": Post-#climatestrike debrief with Lestyn Harries (13), Owynn Harries (11), Haemish Lander-McBride (13), Oscar Lander-McBride (10) Zachary Brown (13) and Jackson Warren (13). pic.twitter.com/X3eH4lv0bu
This from the headmaster of Sydney's Newington College, on why he allowed his students to attend #ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture pic.twitter.com/R2JiXuTvsr
We have 3 demands:1. No new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine.2. 100% renewable energy generation, and exports by 20303. Fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel workers and communities#ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/4DUCqbjudt
They’ve finally started marching in Melbourne. And here’s our video wrap of the thousands on the streets today.
More from Lisa Cox in Melbourne
Edie Shepherd, a Wiradjuri and Noongar woman, spoke to the crowd earlier. She said she’d recently visited communities in the Lake Woods region in the NT, an area that gas companies are proposing to frack.
“While Lake Woods usually flows with water, this time it ran dry,” she said. As well as students, unions are here today. Sam Davis is a member of the National Union of Workers and was here with his young family. “We want to show that climate justice is very important to workers as well. A lot of our workers are going to be impacted by climate change in the near future too,” he says. “The values we have as unionists are why I’ve brought my kids.”