Glasgow, the host city of the COP26 summit, has been witnessing protests with demands for radical change to tackle the global climate catastrophe over the past week. On Saturday, November 6, the city saw more than 100,000 people, as per reports, marching through its streets despite heavy rain and extreme weather.
The COP26 summit, which started on October 31, is slated to last for another week, with participation from around 100 world leaders. Activists around the world are mobilising to push global leaders to take immediate action and prevent the planet from warming "more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial levels."
The "Global Day of Action for Climate Justice" march in Glasgow began at Kelvingrove Park in the west and Queen's Park in the south at about midday. The hours-long demonstration concluded with a rally at the Glasgow Green park with speakers and musical performances.
The protesters at the Glasgow march represented various groups, including indigenous organisations, frontline communities, trade unions, youth groups, peace and anti-war groups, communist and left organisations, and different environmental organisations.
Despite a broad spectrum of platforms, the protesters were "united around the recognition that without system change, there is no way to take the urgent necessary measures to save the planet and advance climate justice."
About 100 climate change protests and demonstrations were held in other cities of the UK. Similar actions also took place in another 100 countries as part of the global day of action.
Although no incident was reported during the mobilisation in Glasgow, at around 3 pm, a contingent, composed mainly of the Young Communist League of Britain (YCL) members, was forcibly removed by over 100 police officers. The police halted their advance and attempted to push them away from the route of the march. The police action received immediate condemnation from other participants "who refused to advance and demanded that the "police let them go"."
COP26 Summit: A Failure
Organisers of the demonstrations called for radical and ambitious climate policy and termed the COP26 summit a failure. Mingtje & Ina, who came to Glasgow with a delegation of 200 youth from the youth organisations of the Belgian Workers' Party – COMAC and Redfox – said, "We find it very important that the climate policy should be structural, social and ambitious." They highlighted that the need of the hour is to include workers and their lived realities in climate policies rather than dwelling heavily on individual actions.
The climate demonstrations highlighted the feelings of the movements and communities with how the COP26 summit has panned out so far, with a lot of discussions and tiny movement towards a radical climate policy. Along with that, the failure of the United Nations to hold the United Stations and the European Union accountable for the climate catastrophe also remains a point of contention among the protesters.
The world leaders repeatedly ignored climate change for decades. But devastating floods, storms, and droughts, affecting both the developed and developing countries, have made it impossible for leaders to look away. Despite that, the response, especially at the summit, doesn't seem to match the gravity of the situation.
"For activists, solutions such as setting emission caps with vague deadlines, the creation of carbon markets, goals to limit the global warming to 1.5 degrees, and climate financing, are insufficient but have also remained unfulfilled by the key players responsible for the lion's share of emissions and environmental destruction."