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Global Protests on Climate Change Starts in Australia

Australia Kickstarts Global Climate Protests

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Student activists for Climate Australia
Student activists from School Strike for Climate Australia (SS4C) hold a 'Solidarity Sit-down' outside of the office of the Liberal Party of Australia in Sydney, Australia. VOA

BY PHIL MERCER

Thousands of people in Asia and Europe took part in rallies Friday, demanding more action on climate change. Protesters urged world leaders to frame solutions at a U.N. conference next week.

The global rallies started in Australia, where there was anger and defiance as thousands of students walked out of classes to demand stronger action on climate change, which they blamed for making the country’s bushfire crisis worse.

In November, parts of eastern Australia were hit by an unprecedented fire emergency. Six people died and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Dozens of blazes continue to burn.

 Climate activists in France
Youth for Climate activists hold a banner which reads: “climate justice” as they demonstrate during a day of protest to denounce the annual Black Friday shopping frenzy in Nantes, France. VOA

Scientists are warning that global warming is making Australia’s annual bushfire season longer and more extreme. Teenage protesters in Sydney said the threat is there for all to see.

Grim outlook

“The fires are bigger, the fires are more dangerous, the fires are in spring, not summer,” one male teen said. “We are not in summer yet. I will tell you one thing unequivocally: If we do not so anything about climate change, it is going to get worse.”

“A lot of us in our generation cannot vote right now,” a female youth said, “but as soon as we can vote, there is going to be a massive change, because we are going to start taking over and and we are going to start fixing things.”

Demonstrators have called on Australia to end its use of fossil fuels. That, in the short term, appears unlikely. Coal generates most of the nation’s electricity, and exports pump billions of dollars into the economy.

A climate change activist lies on the ground as they stage a ‘drop dead’ flashmob protest against environmental crisis Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand. VOA

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is an ardent supporter of the coal industry. He castigated local council leaders for linking the deadly bushfires with climate change. Morrison has insisted Australia is taking its environmental obligations seriously.

2,000-plus rallies

Friday’s climate strikes were expected to take place in more than 2,000 cities in 153 countries, according to the Friday for Future movement. There were protests in Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Vienna and Frankfurt.

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Teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who has galvanized a global environmental movement of young people, was to have joined a student strike in Lisbon, Portugal, but her ecologically friendly voyage by yacht across the Atlantic Ocean from New York was hit by high winds, delaying her arrival by a few days.

The protests came ahead of the annual U.N. climate conference that starts Monday in Madrid. (VOA)

Next Story

Escalating Consequences of Climate Change Hit Countries Globally

India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally

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Climate
As Climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives. Pixabay

The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally.

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

It was released in the Spanish capital on the sidelines of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 that is being held in the backdrop of climate impact biting globally.

According to the report, India has also been badly affected, ranking fifth in the overall global vulnerability index in 2018, ranked first in terms of fatalities and second in the world in terms of losses in millions of dollars.

India’s overall ranking has drastically fallen from 14th in 2017, to fifth in 2018.

The report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries.

Japan is the worst-hit country in 2018, while Germany and Canada were both also in the ‘bottom 10’ i.e. the most affected.

The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

To explain this drastic fall in ranking in a year, David Eckstein, Policy Advisor (Climate Finance and Investment) with Germanwatch said: “India’s high rank is due to severe rainfall, followed by heavy flooding and landslides that killed over 1,000 people.”

The state of Kerala was especially impacted. The floods were described as the worst in the last 100 years.

Climate
A report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries. Pixabay

According to Eckstein, India was struck by two cyclones in October and November 2018 that also nearly killed 1,000 people. Last but not least, India also suffered from extreme heat. While the human death toll was kept considerably low due to public measures, the economic damage was quite severe.

Other countries ranking in the bottom 20 in the overall climate risk categories are the US at 12th, Vietnam at sixth, Bangladesh at seventh and France at 15th.

The report also points to the importance of negotiations at COP25. As climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives.

So far, the industrialised countries have refused to even negotiate it.

But at COP25, for the first time, financial support for climate-related loss and damage is high on the agenda.

For the poorest and most vulnerable countries, this climate summit is, therefore, of the utmost importance. They demand that states agree a deal to support those who are suffering, or at least acknowledge the necessity, with a pathway towards real help.

Otherwise the poorest countries will continue to rely on loans to cope with the consequences of climate change, which means they are threatened with excessive debts, undermining often already vulnerable economies.

In the talks that will last till December 13, India has been ambitious in its actions.

Climate
The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally. Pixabay

It has emphasised that developed countries should take the lead in undertaking ambitious actions and fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilising $100 billion per annum by 2020 and progressively and substantially scale up their financial support to inform parties for future action through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

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India is also stressing upon the need for fulfilling the pre-2020 commitments by developed countries, and that pre-2020 implementation gaps should not present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period.

The Indian delegation will be led by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is attending the summit from December 9. (IANS)