Greta Thunberg leads massive march in Glasgow, says COP26 climate summit has been a "failure"

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg described the UN climate change summit as a "two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah"

Greta Thunberg (File photo)
Greta Thunberg (File photo)

NH Web Desk

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Saturday led a massive march comprising joined thousands of young people - including striking school pupils - for a march through Glasgow. It was organised by Fridays for Future Scotland, a group founded by youngsters inspired by Thunberg. It was one of the largest of a series of demonstrations taking place throughout the summit, which is being held in the city.

Addressing the crowd when it arrived in George Square, she said "immediate and drastic" cuts to emissions are needed. "It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place," she said.

"We need immediate drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen. The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with their fantasies, like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that. All this while the world is literally burning, on fire, and while the people living on the front lines are still bearing the brunt of the climate crisis," she added.

Thunberg described the UN climate change summit as a "two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah" to "maintain business as usual" and "create loopholes to benefit themselves".

"We know that our emperors are naked," she said.

Activists from several other countries also gave speeches about how climate change is already affecting their homelands.

They included including Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, who said, "Historically, Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions and yet Africans are suffering some of the most brutal impacts fuelled by the climate crisis. But while the global south is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, they're not on the front pages of the world's newspapers."

The procession marched through the city's west end, past the COP26 site at the Scottish Events Campus, before heading towards the city centre.

It ended at George Square where a stage and speakers had been erected.

The wider Fridays for Future movement has seen young people around the world striking from school on a Friday to raise awareness of climate change.

Anna Brown, an activist with Fridays for Future in Glasgow, said the event was aimed at demonstrating a need to move climate discussions away from "enclosed" spaces.

She told the BBC: "The message is that the system of COPs - we've had 26 now - isn't working. So we need to uproot that system. The message is you need to listen to the people in the streets, the young people, the workers."

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales expressed sympathy with the anger and frustration of the young activists in a speech addressing COP26 negotiators, telling delegates the "weight of history" was on their shoulders.

He said he had been invited to take part in the march, but would not be able to do so.

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