Protesters began assembling in the heart of London’s historic financial district on Friday to campaign against the use of fossil fuels in advance of the United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.
The London protests, which were to be joined by Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, are part of a global day of action leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow. Many environmentalists believe the meeting, which will take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, is the world’s last chance to turn the tide in the fight against climate change.
However, the tone of the discussions looks to be gloomy, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit’s host, warning that a favorable result is “touch and go.”
At the Group of 20 summit of key industrial and developing nations on Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres cautioned that “there is a strong risk that Glasgow may not deliver.” He said that, despite several countries’ revised climate objectives, the globe is “still careening toward global disaster.”
Demonstrators called on the global financial system to stop investing in the use of fossil fuels at the Climate Justice Memorial outside Lloyd’s of London’s insurance marketplace.
Before commencing their march to numerous high-profile institutions in the City of London, they lay red flowers spelling out “Rise Remember Resist.” Police were accompanying them. Protesters marched to the financial corporation Macquarie Capital, chanting “Ensure our future, not pollution!” Five ladies costumed as banshees and wielding cymbals stood outside the company, screaming and carrying white flowers.
In the afternoon, the primary action will be focused on the international bank Standard Chartered, followed by a vigil at the Bank of England. Protests are also planned at Lloyds and Barclays in the United Kingdom.
People from the front lines of climate change in Asia and the Pacific joined the demonstrators to call out the banks they allege are responsible for financing activities that are causing their homes to be destroyed by rising waters.
Demonstrators took to the streets throughout the world to call for immediate action, including in coal-dependent Poland, where city sirens sounded at noon in Warsaw and other major cities. Poland’s conservative government has been sluggish to adopt new climate objectives, claiming that more time is needed to phase out the country’s heavy reliance on coal and shift to more renewable energy sources.
Because of the coronavirus epidemic, the summit in Glasgow is a year late. Nearly 200 countries committed to individual programs to combat global warming six years ago in Paris. Every five years, countries must review their prior promises to reduce carbon emissions and publish plans to decrease even more and quicker, according to the Paris deal.
The Paris Agreement established a target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, but the globe has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since then.
The goal is that international leaders would persuade one another to do more, while ensuring that poorer countries trying to adapt to climate change receive the financial assistance they require.
However, Guterres stated that some of the emission promises raise “serious doubts,” and that collectively, they would not be adequate to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.