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Climate strike – live: Millions across world demand urgent action to save planet in largest environmental protest in history

Demonstrations inspired by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg take place ahead of UN climate summit in New York

Phoebe Weston
,Samuel Osborne,Chris Baynes
Friday 20 September 2019 19:19
Climate strikes expected to be largest environmental protest in history

Tens of thousands of mostly students have taken to the streets of Australia and other Asia-Pacific countries as a day of worldwide demonstrations against climate change gets underway.

Millions of people around the world are expected to take part in what could be the largest climate protest in history. British students are preparing to walk out of lessons and lectures and adults are being encouraged to join them as they strike.

Protests inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg are planned in around 150 countries as people demand world leaders take immediate action to limit the harmful effects of manmade climate change ahead of a environmental summit at the United Nations in New York on Monday, as the UN General Assembly opens.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of what could be the largest worldwide climate protest in history.

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 09:08

Thousands have already joined demonstrations in Australia, the world's largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, to call on their government to curb greenhouse gas emissions:

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 09:10

The Global Strike 4 Climate said protests will be staged in 110 towns and cities across Australia on Friday, with organisers demanding government and business commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Australia's acting prime minister described the ongoing climate rallies as "just a disruption" that should have been held on a weekend to avoid inconveniencing communities.

Michael McCormack said students would learn more at school than at protests.

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 09:20

Organisers estimate more than 300,000 protesters have taken to Australian streets in climate action rallies in what would be the largest demonstrations the country has seen since the Iraq war.

School Strike 4 Climate said in a statement 265,000 protesters turned out at demonstrations in seven cities alone. The largest crowd was an estimated 100,000 in Melbourne and 80,000 in Sydney.

Organisers put the crowd in Brisbane at 30,000, while police estimated 12,000. Organisers said 15,000 rallied in Canberra, but police said 7,000. Australian police have a reputation for underestimating by half crowd number at protests.

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 09:28

Here are some videos and photos from social media showing the scale of the climate change protests in Australia:

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 09:41

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said the government "shares young people's passion" for tackling climate change, but said children should not miss school to protest.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said schools need to record the absences.

He said: "We share the passion, as a government, of young people for tackling climate change, and that is why this government and this country is committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gasses by 2050."

He added: "We don't think it should be at the expense of a child's education because what we want is for the next generation to be as well educated as possible to tackle these kinds of problems, and you don't do that by missing out on an education."

He said even missing out on one day of school can affect GCSE results.

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 09:52

Hundreds of people have marched in the streets of Thailand's capital to demand the government take measures to deal with the climate change crisis.

An organiser said about 250 people, mostly children with their parents, took part in the protest in Bangkok. Many were Westerners.

The organiser, 21-year-old Nanticha Ocharoenchai, said the demonstrators stopped at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to submit an open letter demanding the government declare a climate emergency, ban coal energy by 2025 and completely replace fossil fuel energy with renewable energy by 2040.

The protesters staged a "die-in" outside the ministry to dramatise their concerns, lying down on the pavement with many clutching home-made signs with slogans such as "Clean air is our right".

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 10:04

A government minister has said he cannot endorse children leaving school to take part in the climate strikes.

Kwasi Kwarteng, minister for business, energy and clean growth told BBC Breakfast 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 added: "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."

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 10:17

Dozens of students and environmental activists  gathered at a rally in India's capital.

The demonstrators assembled outside India's Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in New Delhi.

They chanted slogans like "We want climate action" and "I want to breathe clean". They also carried banners with some displaying messages like "There is no earth B" and "Eco, not ego!"

Aman Sharma, a 16-year-old protester, said: "We need to reclaim our constitutional right to clean air and water."

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 10:27

An Extinction Rebellion Universities protest in London has been moved on from the Strand by police, writes Phoebe Weston, who is reporting from the protest in London today.

Those who remained at the Strand faced the risk of arrest, according to a police warning handing to demonstrators.

The protesters were walking towards Millbank to join other climate protesters.

Samuel Osborne20 September 2019 10:44

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