Global climate strike begins with huge crowds in Australia and millions more set to take to streets worldwide

Follow the latest updates from what could be the largest climate protest in history

Samuel Osborne
Friday 20 September 2019 09:30
Comments
Climate strikes expected to be largest environmental protest in history

Millions of people around the world are taking to the streets in what could be the largest climate change 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.

Thousands have already attended demonstrations in Australia, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, calling on their government to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The protests are inspired by teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who held weekly demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament to call on world leaders to step up their efforts against climate change.

It comes ahead of a United Nations climate action summit in New York, which will bring together world leaders to discuss mitigation strategies such as transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

The worldwide strike will culminate in New York when Greta, who has been nominated for a Nobel prize for her climate activism, will lead a rally at the UN headquarters.

The 16-year-old praised the “huge crowd” in Sydney in a tweet, which she said would set the standard as the strikes moved across Asia, Europe and Africa.

The Global Strike 4 Climate organisation said protests had been staged in 110 towns and cities across Australia, demanding government and business commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Climate change is a particularly pertinent issue for low-lying Pacific islands, which have repeatedly asked wealthier nations to do more to prevent rising sea levels.

Children in the Solomon Islands protested on the shoreline wearing traditional grass skirts and carrying wooden shields in solidarity with the global movement.

In Thailand, more than 200 young people stormed into the environment ministry and dropped to the ground feigning death as they demanded action.

No protests were authorised in China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, but Zheng Xiaowen of the China Youth Climate Action Network said young people there would take action in one way or another.

“Chinese youth have their own methods,” she said. “We also pay attention the climate and we are also thinking deeply, interacting, taking action, and so many people are very conscientious on this issue.”

In the US, more than 800 events were planned on Friday, while in Germany more than 400 rallies were expected.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is due to address a rally of climate strikers outside parliament on Friday, while other events are being across the UK.

The UK Student Climate Network said more than 200 events would take place across the country. The network is calling on politicians to bring in a “Green New Deal” to cut Birtain’s emissions to zero and improve lives, changes to education to equip children to deal with the climate crisis and votes at 16 to give them a voice.

Among the many trade unions throwing their weight behind the strikes are the TUC Congress, the University and College Union and Unite.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels has already led to droughts and heatwaves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and floods, scientists say.

Carbon emissions climbed a record high last year, despite a warning from the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October that output of the gases must be slashed over the next 12 years to stabilise the climate.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in