India September 18(IM): Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join worldwide demonstrations this week ahead of a UN climate summit in New York, as unions and some businesses lend their support for faster action to fight climate change.
Organisers said Monday that more than 800 events were planned in the United States for Friday's "global climate strike," while in Germany over 400 rallies have been registered.
Campaigners are also staging protests in most other European countries, Australia, Japan, India, South Africa, Canada and dozens of other locations. It follows a similar coordinated protest in March that drew many tens of thousands around the world.
"This is an important signal," said Antje von Broock, a spokeswoman for a broad alliance comprising some 200 environmental, youth and church groups in Germany, noting that the demonstrations will take place just days before the UN climate summit, where leaders will present their long-term plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
A report released last year by a UN science panel concluded that there's still a chance to meet the 2015 Paris climate accord's goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared with pre-industrial times.
But achieving this would require drastic measures, including ending the use of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal by mid-century.
The protests this Friday are partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations under the heading "Fridays for Future" over the past year, calling on world leaders to step up their efforts against global warming. Many who have followed her lead are students, but the movement has since spread to civil society groups.
Some companies, too, are encouraging their employees to join the climate strike. In Germany, these include the bank GLS, pension provider Hannoversche Kassen and price comparison site Idealo, among others.