Socialist Worker

Three million join second day of strikes over climate change

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2674

Climate strikers in Rome last week. The placard reads, Were skipping our lessons to give you one

Climate strikers in Rome last week. The placard reads, 'We're skipping our lessons to give you one' (Pic: Eric Parker/Flickr)


Some three million people joined a huge climate strike across 28 countries on Friday of last week.

A week before, four million people had marched together in over 170 countries to kick off the “week for future”.

Climate strike figurehead Greta Thunberg spoke to a 500,000-strong rally in Montreal, Canada, last Friday.

“Throughout history, the most important changes in society have come from the bottom up, from the grassroots,” she said.

“The people have spoken and we will continue to speak until our leaders listen. We are the change and the change is coming.”

In Italy, it’s estimated that over one million people marched.

Organisers say the Rome mobilisation was 200,000-strong, followed by 150,000 people in Milan and around 80,000 in Naples.

Protesting at the parliament building in New Zealand

Protesting at the parliament building in New Zealand (Pic: Nevada Halbert/Flickr)


In New Zealand, 170,000 people demonstrated. Over 80,000 activists marched in Auckland and another 40,000 in Wellington.

It’s the third New Zealand strike and by far the biggest to date—­initial reports suggested 3.5 percent of the population took to the streets. Striking workers joined the action.

Buses

In Auckland, workers at the SkyCity casino joined the demonstration holding placards demanding, “Buses not bosses.”

Workers there are fighting for better weekend wages. Their central demand is for SkyCity bosses to ­provide free public transport for workers undertaking unsocial hours.

A letter demanding the New Zealand government declare a ­climate emergency was delivered to parliament on Friday morning. “Our representatives need to show us meaningful and immediate action,” said Raven Maeder, School Strike 4 Climate national coordinator.

“Nothing else will matter if we cannot look after the Earth. This is our home.”

Other actions took place in Chile, Morocco, the Netherlands and India.

Over 100,000 activists marched in Santiago, Chile. Activist Susana Muhamad said, “We want to keep fracking out of the country and demand an immediate change towards decarbonisation.”

Huge crowds rallied in the Netherlands, and thousands of ­protesters led by school students took to the streets in The Hague. “By striking for the climate, we want to create a clear turning point in history,”. said Friday for Future Netherlands.

There were smaller mobilisations in Sri Lanka, Uganda, Timor-Lesta, India and Indonesia. Many involved first-time climate strikers.

The strikes on Friday concluded an historic week of action. It has to be the start of a process that pulls more people into the movement to win a sustainable world.


Sea levels are rising faster, says report

A new report has uncovered the extent to which a rapidly changing climate is endangering life.

The research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) looked at how the oceans and cryosphere—the frozen parts of the planet—have dramatically changed in a matter of decades.

Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea levels to rise, contributing to a warmer, more acidic ocean.

Some four million people live permanently in the Arctic region, and 65 million people live in small island states.

The report showed that sea levels are now rising more than twice as fast as they did during the 20th century—with the rate accelerating.

It warned that a 3 to 6 metre rise by 2100 is possible even if temperature rise is limited “to well below 2 degrees”.

But it said a 6 to 11 metres rise could occur if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase.

The ocean has absorbed more than 90 percent of the “excess heat in the climate system,” the report warned.

IPCC vice chair Ko Barrett said, “The world’s ocean and cryosphere have been ‘taking the heat’ from climate change for decades, and consequences for nature and humanity are severe.

“The rapid changes to the ocean and frozen parts of our planet are forcing people from coastal cities to remote Arctic communities.”

The IPCC rightly says an “unprecedented transition in all aspects of society” is needed to limit further greenhouse emissions.


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