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”.
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.”
Here are the final exclusive Twitter figures for the climate strike in Australia.
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
And this is what the school strike conversation has looked like on Twitter in the past three days leading up to today’s demonstrations:
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
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.
A roundup of what is happening around Europe on Friday:
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.
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.
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.
Why is this week important?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Activists on bicycles block traffic at Ernst-Reuter-Platz square in Berlin, Germany, as they take part in the global climate strike today.
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.
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.
The outdoor apparel brand Patagonia is closing every store worldwide to encourage employees and customers to join the climate strike.
Demonstrators from more than 150 countries are expected to put pressure on governments and decision-makers to do more about climate issues.
The strikes come ahead of the United Nations climate change summit, which begins on 23 September.
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.
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.”
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”.
He is expected to say:
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.
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.
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.
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 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: email@example.com
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.
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.
To recap what we’ve seen across Asia and the Pacific today:
At least 300,000 people have taken part in the largest climate strike across Australia yet.
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.
Hundreds of regional centres joined in – from Alice Springs, Byron Bay and Katherine.
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.
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.”