Climate change protests: Marches worldwide ahead of UN talks

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www.dw.com-As part of a fresh round of global climate protests, demonstrations are planned in more than 500 German cities — from Aachen to Zwickau. In Berlin alone, over 50,000 protesters are expected in the government district.

Three days before the start of the UN climate conference in Madrid, people were set to take to the streets on Friday in 2,400 cities across 157 countries to protest government inaction on climate change.

The Fridays for Future movement expects around 100,000 climate strikers to participate in Germany. Their demands include:

  • An end to fossil fuel subsidies;
  • Switching off a quarter of all coal-fired power stations;
  • Renewable sources to cover 100% of Germany’s energy needs by 2035.

The European Parliament on Thursday voted to declare an EU-wide climate emergency. The resolution called on the bloc to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 to become climate neutral by 2050.

German climate package under fire

As protests got underway on Friday, Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, was set to pass a raft of measures aimed at cutting emissions. The package, approved by the lower house earlier this month, has been criticized by environmental groups for not going far enough. The legislation imposes obligations on government departments, forces a rise in fossil fuel prices and reduces the price of rail tickets in an effort to reduce travel by air and car.

Clara Meyer, from the Friday’s for Future movement, told DW the measures did not go far enough.

“The problem is that it doesn’t actually target or tackle the problem,” Meyer said. “We need a much higher CO2 tax. We see this climate change as basically just an embarrassment.”

Global protests kick off

In Australia, activists and schoolchildren opened the day of protests by picketing the headquarters of the ruling conservative Liberal Party. Protesters directed their opposition at Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has denied that there is any link between his government’s climate change policies and bush fires sweeping parts of the country.

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