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A DEMAND for action on climate change will be made tomorrow by environmental activists taking part in a global gathering organised from Scotland.
Beginning with protests in Glasgow, the event has attracted thousands of people from all over the world including residents campaigning against Mossmorran gas processing plant in Fife, Black Lives Matter UK, school strikers from Costa Rica, Turkey, the Philippines and Scotland, and frontline indigenous activists fighting for a Green New Deal in Chile, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.
Held to mark the delayed COP26 UN climate negotiations originally scheduled for this weekend in Glasgow, the online gathering is continuing today and tomorrow and is free to attend.
Organisers have welcomed the “amazing response” to the event which is demanding “real action” in the face of “greenwashing and bluster” from fossil fuel companies and governments, including the UK Government.
Scott Tully from Glasgow Calls Out Polluters said the activists were “sick of empty catchphrases” like climate ambition and net zero being “thrown about” by the UK Government.
“This is a government that has until now avoided announcing a Paris-aligned decarbonisation plan, which is shocking for the host nation of COP26,” he said. “We think they are more interested in posturing on the global stage than taking action, partly because action often means challenging their wealthy friends; the very people who bear most responsibility for the climate crisis.
“But while our government avoids responsibility, grassroots activists will continue to amplify the demands for climate justice.”
As well as the online events, activists held protests in Glasgow which included a vessel on the Clyde emblazoned with the words “We Are Not All In The Same Boa”t.
“We may all be in the same storm, but we are patently not in the same boat,” said Scottish Global Gathering co-ordinator Quan Nguyen.
“As we face a multitude of colliding crises – Covid-19, the incoming recession, climate breakdown, racism, hunger, poverty, the mass displacement of peoples – this gathering will bring together grassroots movements who are speaking truth to power around the world.
“The COP26 Coalition recognises that these crises have common roots that see the earth’s resources exploited for the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. We urge everyone to join us in organising against these root causes in the lead up to the UN Climate Negotiations in Glasgow 2021.”
Nguyen said the gathering, organised by just 10 people, had attracted 6000 participants from all over the world.
“We are excited about it as we are bringing in a lot of new voices and starting really interesting conversations and debates. We are trying to bring these struggles together from Mossmorran or from the Scottish Highlands and Islands to connect them to island communities in the global south with indigenous people fighting against fossil fuel sites so they can learn from each other and share their strategies of resistance.”
He said the world could not wait for climate justice and a year of action was being planned because when COP26 actually takes place in November 2021 it would be “too little, too late”.
“We need to start now to build planet action and call out false solutions proposed by the UK Government and all the fossil fuel companies,” said Nguyen. “Net zero by 2050 is a slogan that lets corporations and governments cheat. They say they are offsetting pollution by planting trees but the amount of trees you need to offset some of the pollution in the UK alone would not be possible and new technologies to take out CO2 don’t exist yet.”
Sessions today include a trade union panel, a feminist panel and an arts show bringing together diaspora experiences from Scotland and Colombia.
Tomorrow is another full day bringing in direct action groups and the day will close with a rally addressed by former Labour Party Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
For more information go to www.cop26coalition.org/global-gathering-programme