Greta leads thousands in protest and two former VPs: day five of Cop26

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Demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
Demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

The fifth day of the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow focused on the streets as thousands of protesters took part in a youth march, while in the blue zone the theme of events was also youth as well as oceans.

Here are some of the takeaways from day five:

Naked warning from Greta

Greta Thunberg (centre) along with demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
Greta Thunberg (centre) along with demonstrators during the Fridays for Future Scotland march (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

Thousands of young activists joined climate campaigner Greta Thunberg on a march through the streets of Glasgow.

In a speech in George Square, the Swedish teenager criticised the Cop26 summit as a “two-week festival of business as usual and blah blah blah”.

She told the crowd: “The voices of future generations are drowning in their greenwash and empty words and promises. But the facts do not lie. And we know that our emperors are naked.”

Al Gore’s Churchillian stance on renewables

Former US vice-president Al Gore called for action (PA Wire)
Former US vice-president Al Gore called for action (PA Wire)

Former US vice-president Al Gore channelled Churchill in a speech to delegates, referencing the wartime prime minister’s warning on the rise of fascism – “we are now entering a period of consequences” and calling on them to make it a “period of solutions”.

He also highlighted an unusual type of renewable resource – political will.

He said: “We have the urgency, we have the tools we need to solve the climate crisis, we need the legislation. The only missing element is sufficient political will.

“But political will is itself a renewable resource, and legislators who are leading in every single country can renew that political will and then translate it into effective solutions.”

The job’s not done for John Kerry

John Kerry, United States special presidential envoy for climate, spoke at the summit (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
John Kerry, United States special presidential envoy for climate, spoke at the summit (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

Meanwhile, another former US vice-president was in the building as John Kerry, now the US special presidential envoy on climate, told delegates it was “job not done”.

He hailed the flurry of announcements on phasing out coal, cutting methane emissions, delivering green finance and protecting forests in the first days of the climate summit.

But he said there needed to be a deal out of the talks that was a “strong statement and implementable”, warning: “Let me emphasise as strongly as I can: job not done, job not done the day this ends.”

Politicians need Mr Motivator

A number of Scottish journalists were turned away at the door of an event, where Cop26 President Alok Sharma and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were due to respond to demands from youth climate activists, due to space concerns.

Although the rebuff came as something of a blessing in disguise when the youngsters in charge made attendees perform an “energiser”, where they were told to stand and shake various parts of their body in response to questions posed by the moderators.

Apparently, Mr Sharma missed the energiser, if his speech later in the session was anything to go by.

Mothers call for clean air

Air pollution was recorded as a cause of death for Rosamund Kissi-Debra’s daughter Ella Kissi-Debrah, nine (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)
Air pollution was recorded as a cause of death for Rosamund Kissi-Debra’s daughter Ella Kissi-Debrah, nine (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)

The mother of Ella Kissi-Debrah, who died age nine from chronic asthma brought on by London’s polluted air, was among a global coalition of mothers fighting to clean up the air in their home countries.

“Unless the air is clean, we are never going to resolve climate change,” Rosamund Kissi-Debrah told journalists following a Cop26 fringe event.

“It is linked to biodiversity, acid rain, global warming and human health – one in five premature deaths are due to air pollution and that is why I am here.”

Heated warning on warming oceans

Tongan activist Uili Lousi stands alongside Flare Oceania 2021 (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Tongan activist Uili Lousi stands alongside Flare Oceania 2021 (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

On ocean day at the summit, Tongan activist Uili Lousi highlighted an artwork created to illustrate the danger of warming oceans.

Flare Oceania 2021, created by artist John Gerrard, depicts a real-time moving image showing a simulation of the seas around Tonga with a burning flare embedded in it – acting as a flag of climate emergency and a call to action before nations such as Tonga disappear under rising sea levels.

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