COP27: Youth climate campaigners to march in Glasgow, condemning lack of action a year on from ‘failed’ COP26

Angry youngsters will take to the streets of Glasgow this Friday to re-enact a major youth march and rally that took place a year ago as world leaders gathered in the city for the COP26 climate summit.

Thousands of people from all age groups and sections of society turned out at last year’s demonstration, which featured appearances from Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg and Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate.

The latest protest comes just over a week before the next round of United Nations (UN) talks get underway in Egypt and days after the publication of a new report warning of a massive shortfall in efforts to limit global warming to levels set out in the landmark Paris Agreement.

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The demonstrators, who have condemned last year’s COP26 as a “failure”, are protesting the lack of worldwide action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions since the conference.

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They are also accusing the UK Government of “greenwashing” over its policies on fossil fuels, including new plans to open up more oil and gas fields in the North Sea, amid promises to tackle emissions, and warn the climate emergency and cost-of-living crisis are linked.

The event is being co-ordinated by Fridays For Future, the youth environmental campaign group inspired by teenage climate activist Thunberg, which has hit out at the outcomes of COP26 and the Glasgow Pact.

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“The climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis have the same root – the refusal to move away from fossil fuels,” said 16-year-old Adam Ballard, an organiser with Fridays For Future.

“There is no oil shortage, there is a corrupt system that prioritises profit over people. While ordinary people are forced to choose between heating and eating, the people in power and fossil fuel CEOs continue to make unimaginable profits.”

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks on the main stage in George Square as part of the Fridays for Future Scotland march during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow last November. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Fellow organiser Niamh Gill, also aged 16, said: “The UK Government used COP26 to greenwash its massive contributions to the climate crisis. Glasgow became the backdrop for the biggest PR stunt in history.

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“The Glasgow Climate Pact fails to even mention oil and gas as causes of climate change. We refuse to let this city become synonymous with climate failure. We reject that.”

The event will begin with protestors marching from Kelvin Way to George Square at 11am, following the same route as the demonstration on November 5 last year. A rally will follow in George Square, with speakers including community groups, addressing a range of social justice issues, and activists from the Czech Republic, which holds the European presidency for COP27.

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Under the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries agreed to take action to limit global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to curb them to 1.5C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Thousands of demonstrators marched through Glasgow as part of the Fridays for Future Scotland protest during COP26 last year -- an event being repeated to condemn the lack of action being taken to tackle climate breakdown as COP27 looms. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
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A new UN report, issued this week, has analysed the emissions reductions pledged under the global treaty through nationally determined contributions (NDCs) from the countries.

It found the combined cuts fall far short of the action required to restrict temperature rise to 1.5C or even the 2C ‘danger’ level, potentially putting the planet on track for around 2.5C of warming by the end of the century.

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UN climate chief Simon Stiell warned while there had been some progress this year, reductions were “still nowhere near the scale and pace” needed.

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