Mass Protests During Global Climate Talks

“If you look at it from a certain point of view, we have achieved nothing,” Greta Thunberg

Thousands of people took to the streets in Madrid on Friday where the global climate talks are taking place. For the protesters the response from world leaders – especially of the largest countries – has not been transformative enough.

The 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP25, was relocated from Chile to Madrid at short notice after civil unrest in Santiago over severe inequality in the country. The two weeks of talks in Madrid, under a Chilean Presidency, run until 13th December.

Speaking in Madrid Greta Thunberg said:

“If you look at it from a certain point of view, we have achieved nothing.”

Glasgow 2020

In 2020, the climate talks will be held in Glasgow.

Representing the Scottish Government at a series of discussions is Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

Roseanna CunninghamShe said:

“With our legally-binding target to become a net-zero society by 2045, and the most ambitious and stringent climate legislation of any country in the world, Scotland is a world leader on climate change.

“The only way we can successfully tackle the global climate emergency is for all nations to work together, to exchange ideas and agree shared actions. That is why I am pleased to be here in Madrid to represent Scotland.

“In particular, I am keen to address some of the key areas we all need to be thinking about if we are to tackle the climate crisis, including adaptation, oceans, gender and the importance of tree planting and peatland restoration.”

Protests and marches took place in many countries across the world on Friday 6th of December.

Kat Jones, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition manager  said:

“The UN climate negotiations in Glasgow could be one of the biggest climate mobilisations the world has seen. People have never been more concerned, and we are seeing unprecedented levels of participation in climate action and climate campaigning from all parts of civil society.

“Over the next 12 months, we need all parts of Scottish society to play their part in building momentum towards these vital talks so that they leave a lasting legacy of climate action.”

Scotland is already feeling the effects of climate change, but the worst of the effects of the climate crisis are being felt in the poorest countries of the world where droughts, heatwaves, and floods are hitting people hard.

“The countries that are suffering the most from climate change are also those who have done least to cause it. Too often their voices and demands are ignored at the annual UN climate talks, with too little delivery of climate-just action at the scale and speed required.

“Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is calling for world leaders to heed the voices of those most affected in these talks. Glasgow will be the fourth annual UN climate talks in a row to take place in the global north, making it much harder for global south civil society to participate. We want to see the UK Government and the Scottish Government do everything they can to remove barriers to global south participation in COP26 in Glasgow. The Glasgow talks must genuinely be the world’s COP.”

Skara Brae coastal erosion 2019

coastal erosion at Skara Brae, Orkney

Hemantha Withanage of the Centre for Climate Justice Sri Lanka said,

“It is a huge challenge for people on the ground to communicate their concerns during international negotiations, and the COP in Glasgow must create a welcoming environment for the people in the global south to be heard.

“This should be a “People’s COP” where the voices of real people on the frontline of climate change are included in decision making. Too often in these forums bureaucrats and technocrats decide everything on our behalf.

“We would like to see a space created in Glasgow where citizens of the city and Scotland can come together with those on the frontline of climate change to share their stories and make an impact.”

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken, met with representatives from Uganda, Bolivia and Sri Lanka. She committed that the Council will do everything within its power to ensure the voices of communities from the global south are “front and centre” at COP26, with measures put in place to facilitate their engagement. SCCS say this approach must be replicated by all those involved in the delivery of COP26.

Muhindo Jackson, Resilience and Climate Change Coordinator for Oxfam in Uganda, said:

“The next 12 months are massive for climate action, with countries bringing forward new emission reduction plans in the run up to the COP in Glasgow and growing pressure for rich countries to do more to help poorer countries adapt and recover.

“It’s hugely encouraging to hear the Council in Glasgow commit to doing what it can to place the voices of those on the front line of the climate crisis at the core of the talks, and to really support civil society from the global south to be heard.”

Climate Strike Greta Thurnberg

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