COP26: Tens of thousands expected to march in Glasgow alongside millions more around the world in Global Day of Action for the climate

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As the UN Climate Conference continues, thousands will take to the streets in Glasgow today, alongside millions more in other towns and cities across the world, in a Global Day of Action against climate change.

In Glasgow, a crowd will march to the city for a rally in the afternoon where teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg address tens of thousands of climate campaigners as the city hosts the COP26 summit.

Marking the middle weekend of the two-week international climate conference, those taking part in the march and rally – including local community groups, national trade unions and international climate and environment organisations – are expected to travel towards Glasgow Green.

Demonstrators carry signs and flags at a Fridays for Future march during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Dozens of roads across the city centre will be closed from the early morning, with between 50,000 to 100,000 people expected to be in attendance.

Representatives of the Stop Cambo campaign – who are calling for an end to the proposed new oil field west of Shetland, thought to contain 800 million barrels of oil – are also believed to address protesters.

Police have warned they will deal “swiftly and robustly” with any violent disorder or damage to property during planned COP26 protests in Glasgow.

Police Scotland assistant chief constable Gary Ritchie said officers have engaged with key campaign groups to ensure the protests can take place safety, but they will quickly crack down on any problems if need be.

The Glasgow events are a few of 250 simultaneous actions planned by march organisers across the world.

Climate activists march through the streets of Glasgow, Scotland, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 which is the host city of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit. The protest was taking place as leaders and activists from around the world were gathering in Scotland's biggest city for the U.N. climate summit, to lay out their vision for addressing the common challenge of global warming. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
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Elsewhere in the UK, protests include a march from the Bank of England to Trafalgar Square in London.

The protests come at the end of the first week of the conference, where countries are under pressure to increase ambition on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure finance for poor countries to tackle the crisis.

Earlier in the week, world leaders gathered in Glasgow to unite around pledges to try to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Highlights from COP26 so far

• US and Canada are among 20 nations to agree to stop fossil fuel financing by the end of 2022

• At least 23 nations say they will phase out coal power in 2030s or 2040s depending on size, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, and Ukraine

• The UK will force financial firms and major businesses to publish plans about how they will get to net zero

• Rishi Sunak also announced firms controlling 40% of global assets totalling $130 trillion will align with the Paris Agreement

• At least 110 countries representing 85% of the world’s forests agreed to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.

• South Africa, the most coal-intensive economy in the G20, will get $8.5bn to help decarbonise from the UK the EU, the US, France and Germany, in an innovative partnership that shows how side deals agreed outside of the traditional UN process can help close the emissions gap.

• Scores of world leaders signed a pledge to slash potent climate heating gas methane by 30% by 2030, a gas that could significantly help slow short term warming

• Japan committed an extra $10bn in climate finance over five years

• Over 40 world leaders back plan to fund clean technology around the world by 2030, the UK government announced

• India finally came forward with a net zero promise – the 2070 target is 20 years later than the key 2050 date but still a big step forward, especially with its commitment to significantly slash emissions by 2030

• Five countries, including Britain and the United States, and a group of global charities promised $1.7bn to support indigenous people’s conservation of forests and strengthen their land rights

On Friday, the Glasgow summit discussed youth and public empowerment and Ms Thunberg was among thousands of protesters on a march.

Many of those in attendance were young people who took part in a rally in George Square on COP26’s Youth Day.

Prince Charles turned down an invite to join the rally, saying that taking part would be “difficult”.

But, the next in line to the throne said he sympathised with the “frustration” of the younger generation in a speech to COP26 negotiators, telling them the “weight of history” is resting on their shoulders.

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Speaking at the Fridays for Future rally in Glasgow, Ms Thunberg insisted that COP26 is already a “failure.”

She said: “It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place.

“Many are starting to ask themselves: ‘What will it take for the people in power to wake up?’

“But let’s be clear, they are already awake. They know exactly what they are doing.”

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She added that world powers are not doing “nothing”, but “actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting”.

Ms Thunberg continued: “This is an active choice.”

The Swedish activist said COP26 has turned into a “PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets”, adding: “While behind the curtains the governments of the global north countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action.

“It seems like their main goal is to continue to fight for the status quo.”

Ms Thunberg is expected to give another speech on Saturday.

Saturday’s COP26 theme will be nature – underlying the importance of the natural world and sustainable land use.

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