People march to the streets in Milan, Italy, on Saturday, October 2, 2021, following the three-day Youth for Climate Summit
Hundreds of young people marched in Milan, Italy, organised by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, to urge immediate climate action, just weeks before the key United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. The event was held on Friday as part of the “Fridays for Future” initiative, which attracted students to the streets in cities all around the world two years ago, before the coronavirus outbreak. Thunberg, flanked by Ugandan climate justice campaigner Vanessa Nakate, led the march in Milan, saying, “Hope doesn’t come from politicians’ blah, blah, blah.”
The 18-year-old climate activist was in Milan as part of the official UN gathering for the youth version of the COP26, which is expected to draw roughly 400 people. She is a probable Nobel Peace Prize recipient on October 8. Young delegates have criticised the three-day Youth4Climate conference, accusing organisers of being uninterested in their contribution for a document that will be forwarded to this year’s UN climate conference. On the first day of the youth climate conference on Tuesday, Thunberg lambasted climate ministers, stating, “They are claiming that they have solutions to the climate catastrophe and that they are doing sufficient action, but we see through them.”
Protesters in Milan said they hoped to see change at the COP26 conference, which begins on October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland. According to Adam Raney, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Milan, “they are immensely upset, angry, and impatient for change.” “They are urging affluent countries to increase their spending on impoverished countries in order to level the playing field in the fight against climate change.” Thunberg met with Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister and current G20 president, on Thursday in a last-ditch effort to persuade world leaders to make promises before the climate meeting. Demands for a transparent climate finance system, sustainable and responsible tourism, and the ultimate phase-out of the fossil fuel industry by 2030 were among the protestors’ demands.