Tens of thousands of climate activists have marched through the Scottish city hosting the United Nations COP26 climate summit, physically close to the global negotiators inside but separated by a vast gulf in expectations.
Frustrated marchers in Glasgow on Saturday are increasingly dismissive of the talks and demand immediate action instead to slow global warming.
The mood at the protest was upbeat despite the anger and bursts of rain. Similar protests were held in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, Copenhagen, Zurich and Istanbul.
Many of the marchers condemned government leaders for failing to produce the fast action they say is needed, with some echoing activist Greta Thunberg’s view on Friday that the talks were not much more than “blah, blah, blah”.
Marchers held signs with messages including “Code Red for Humanity,” “Stop big polluters,” “COP26, we are watching you” or simply “I’m angry.” One sign asked “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
Thunberg’s dismissal of the two-week climate summit – which has another week to go – has touched a nerve inside and outside the summit site. Government leaders and negotiators insist they are as aware as the marchers of the urgency of their task, with time slipping away to rein in pollution from fossil fuels before the Earth faces much higher levels of warming.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country is hosting the talks, has defended the progress made by governments in raising promises of emissions cuts and climate financing while acknowledging the public’s demands that more needs to be done.
At the huge UN conference venue, negotiators spent a seventh straight day haggling over draft agreements that can be passed to government ministers for political approval next week.
Among the issues under discussion were a fresh commitment to capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), pushing countries to review their efforts more frequently to increase the pressure for deeper cuts, and providing more financial support for poor nations to adapt to climate change.