Global climate change protests demand reparations before COP27

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Young climate activists rallied on Friday and staged protests from New Zealand and Japan to Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to demand rich countries pay for the damage global warming is doing to the poor.

The protests come six weeks before this year’s UN climate summit, known as COP27, where vulnerable nations will push to make up for climate-induced damage to homes, infrastructure and livelihoods.

Demonstrations in nearly 450 locations around the world have been planned by the Youth Fridays for the Future movement. It’s timed to coincide with world leaders meeting in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly this week.

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“One day, my house might be the one that got flooded,” said 15-year-old Park Chae-yeon, one of about 200 people who protested in Seoul, South Korea. “I live with a sense of crisis, so I think it is more important to communicate my concerns to the government to take precautionary measures than to go to school.”

One protester who named Meta after him had the same concern in Indonesia: “If Jakarta is flooded, anyone with cash can leave. Where do I go? I will drown here in Jakarta.”

About 400 young activists gathered in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, chanting slogans such as “Action for Africa, protecting our planet” and holding cardboard banners reading “Climate Justice” and “Climate Distress” while walking on the shoulder of a busy road. .

In New York, at least 2,000 people gathered Friday afternoon for the march, chanting slogans such as “the people are united, they will never be defeated” as they made their way from Foley Square to lower Manhattan.

Just before 3 pm (1800 GMT), a crowd began to gather in the Wall Street financial district in front of the famous bull statue, which has become a symbol of the stock market and big business.

Citing the catastrophic floods in Pakistan that displaced millions of people this year, a speaker told the crowd: “The rain came from the sky but the floods came from greed in America and your leaders’ addiction to oil.”

Nemonte Nenquimo, an indigenous leader from the Pastaza region of the Amazon in Ecuador, spoke to the crowd, “I’m here to highlight our fight throughout the Amazon… (we gave) our lives to protect the planet.”

‘Serious consequences’

The irreparable damages caused by climate change increased developing countries’ demands for “loss and damages” compensation at COP27 in Egypt in November.

The leaders of these countries point out that the world is already facing disasters caused by climate change, including deadly floods in large parts of Pakistan, wildfires in Morocco and Canada, and unprecedented heat waves in Britain and India.

“The least developed countries bear the brunt of the devastating consequences of climate change,” Senegal’s Environment Minister Abdou Karim Sall said at a meeting in Dakar last week.

“The main priority is to secure new and additional funding to deal with it,” he said.

The United States and the 27-nation European Union have historically resisted steps that would require rich nations to pay reparations for causing climate change.

But pressure is growing on global institutions to stop financing the fossil fuel industries.

US President Joe Biden’s chief climate adviser said Friday that the World Bank chief should “speak out” about the scientific consensus on climate change after his chief David Malpass this week tried to deflect a question about whether fossil fuels are dangerously warming the planet.

Malpass later clarified that he is not a climate change denier, after facing a wave of calls to resign.

The COP27 meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh is not expected to result in a historic deal like that reached at the COP26 summit last November in Glasgow, which asked countries to do more to reduce carbon emissions that lead to global warming.

But it will be a key test of countries’ willingness to cooperate on climate action, despite the divided geopolitical background, as many governments scramble to tame soaring inflation and address the turmoil in energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Writing by Kate Abnett and Aurora Ellis; Editing by Katie Daigle, Allison Williams and Josie Kao

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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