Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has slammed the COP26 summit as a “failure” and “greenwash festival” as thousands of young people took to the streets of Glasgow in protest.
On the sixth day of the world meeting which has achieved a series of agreements, Greta rejected the gathering of powerful leaders as more “blah, blah, blah” which followed decades of “blah, blah, blah”.
The Swedish activist called for action, including “immediate drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen” instead of just another talkfest.
“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,” she told the gathering in George Square.
“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.”
Ms Thunberg rejected the UN climate change summit as a “two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah”.
“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 and more and more people are starting to realise this,” she told the crowd.
“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.
“COP26 has been named the most exclusionary cop ever. This is no longer a climate conference, this is now a global north greenwash festival.”
The protest was organised by Fridays for Future Scotland and young people chanted and carried placards before gathering in George Square.
Another speaker included Vanessa Nakate from Uganda who described the real effects of climate change being experienced in her country.
“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 show of youth force followed 77 signatories a COP26 pledging to phase out coal but not countries such as Australia, the US, India, and China.
Meanwhile a study has shown carbon dioxide emissions are back on the rise.
The United Nations says a rise above 1.5C will trigger potentially irreversible climate impacts that would dwarf the intensifying storms, heatwaves, droughts and floods that the planet is already experiencing.
Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 5.4 per cent in 2020 as economies ground to a halt.
But a new report by the Global Carbon Project forecasts they will rebound by 4.9 per cent this year.
“We were expecting to see some rebound,” said the report’s lead author Pierre Friedlingstein, a climate modelling researcher at the University of Exeter.
“What surprised us was the intensity and rapidity.”