NEWYORK, USA (PAMACC News) - Millions of people have taken to the streets today Friday September 20,2019 demanding their governments take greater climate action, in what has been described as the largest climate protest in history.
On the eve of the UN climate Summit , record numbers of youth climate campaigners joined by parents, workers, trade unions, businesses and organisations in a global strike ramping up pressure on political leaders to respond to the climate crisis.
Rights groups including participants of the People' s Summit on Climate and human Survival organised by Amnesty International joined the youth protest today Friday September 20th.The protest rights groups say is also going on World wide, with picket lines and marches simultaneously going on from Russia to Johannesburg and Turkey to New Delhi.
One of the largest demonstrations took place in New York, where UN secretary general António Guterres has convened world leaders to, as he put it, “put climate action into higher gear” over one the most important climate Summit starting on Saturday September 21,2019.
What is the UN Summit AllAbout?
According to the UN secretariat the summit has been billed as a critical moment for political leaders to show their willingness to increase their climate plans, in a bid to bridge the ambition gap to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C – the tougher goal of the Paris Agreement demanded by vulnerable countries and backed by Guterres.
From Monday September 23, climate campaigners in Washington are expected to stage a protest against the lack of action of Donald Trump’s administration.
The strike is modelled on Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s own weekly protests, demanding her government take action commensurate to the findings of the science and a landmark report on 1.5C.
The ‘Fridays For Future’ movement she inspired has dramatically increased public pressure on governments to listen to people’s demands for more ambitious climate action.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Guterres said the leadership and initiative showed by youth around the world was “remarkable”.
“The youth has been showing an enormous leadership, and I hope that that leadership will have a very strong impact on the societies as a whole, on their families and, based on that, on their governments of their countries,” he said.
Young people are due to play a key role throughout the high-level meeting, starting with a youth summit on Saturday.
Of governments that were not taking action, Alexandria Villaseñor, co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising, said on Thursday: “They can listen to us now, or they can listen to us later… because our voice is going to continue getting louder as the climate crisis gets more urgent.”
“The audacity of simply asking for leaders to lead is extraordinary and we are indebted to young people the world over for pushing us to this place,” Guterres’ special representative for sustainable energy Rachel Kyte told journalists on Thursday.
The strike has also been supported by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which boasts 200 million members globally.
“Your standing up to governments, demanding action around climate has in fact been a game-changer,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC, addressing the youth. “The solidarity of the trade union movement globally is behind you.”
Dozens of trade unions and rights groups globally including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Irish union Fórsa, the South African Federation of Trade Unions and the UK’s Trade Union Congress, which is calling for employers to grant workers some 30 minutes to also join in the Protest.
The UK is also preparing for its largest climate protest yet, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to join more than 200 events on Friday.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “The school strikers have led the way in waking the world’s leaders up to the climate crisis,” which he said has “shown people power can move governments”. “It’s time for the rest of us to stand with them in solidarity,” he said.
In total, more than 4,600 strikes are registered in cities around the world on both Friday and 27 September, with and 1,240 actions being planned in Europe alone,reports say.