As World Heats, Youth Protesters March for Climate Action

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© Human Rights Watch

On Friday, September 24, young climate activists from around the world will be marching once again to call on governments to cut carbon emissions and tackle the climate crisis. Millions marched in 2019, but this will be the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that a large global strike appears possible again in several countries. Fridays for Future has registered over 1,300 climate strikes for that day. While the majority are planned in Europe, marches are also happening in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The young protesters say loud and clear that climate action is more urgent than ever; something recently confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and illustrated by this year’s forest fires, heat, floods, and other extreme weather events linked to a warming planet. The youth climate activists call upon today’s leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 C° by drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Greta Thunberg will join the march in Berlin, where the climate strike takes place just two days before national elections. The German elections will determine the country’s approach to the climate crisis at a critical moment. Germany is still the European Union’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, contributing to the climate crisis which is causing ever-increasing damage to the protection of human rights around the globe. Germany’s current efforts to reduce emissions are insufficient to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, necessary to limit the most catastrophic climate outcomes. Thunberg says she is joining in Berlin “because a lot is at stake in Germany,” emphasizing that she is not supporting a particular political party.

The climate crisis is a children’s rights crisis. All over the world, children face death, illness, hunger, displacement, and other serious impacts from forest fires, droughts, storms, floods, and rising temperatures due to inadequate government action on the climate crisis. Children’s lives, and those of future generations, are at stake. The young protesters marching this week know this. Leaders in Germany and around the world should listen carefully.

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