Global day of action to demand climate justice

By Ivana Kottasová and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 2:01 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021
9 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:57 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Actor Idris Elba warns of future food shortages from the climate crisis

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

Idris Elba speaks during a session at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 6.
Idris Elba speaks during a session at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 6. (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

British actor Idris Elba brought some star power to a COP26 panel on food and agriculture, warning lengthy queues at supermarkets sparked by food shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic “is a reality for us in the future” if we don’t tackle climate change. 

Food shortages experienced during the pandemic were due to issues in supply chains , but Elba pointed out that supply chains would be hit hard "if we don't figure out what to do around climate change and what it's doing to our food systems."

Elba, who is the United Nations Ambassador for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said that IFAD has been "focussing on small scale farmers [who] deliver 80% of the food that we eat," saying that its a fact that consumers don't realize when they go to the supermarket.

"It's not obvious to us. But it is obvious to them [farmers], because every year when they put their crops in, the crops are lower, because the rain is different, the soil is different. And one day we're gonna go to [grocers] Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencers and the food's not going to be there," Elba said.
8:01 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

US passes $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Here's what it means for the climate crisis.

By Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby, CNN

While people around the world are protesting for faster climate action, the US Congress passed a major infrastructure bill that has some key climate provisions in them.

The $1.2 trillion bill passed after months of internal deliberations and painstaking divisions among Democrats, and is a major victory for US President Joe Biden's domestic agenda and key climate provisions.

Once Biden signs the bill into law, it will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America's infrastructure over five years, and there's plenty on energy and climate.

Here's a look at what the bill covers:

Electric vehicles

The bill will provide $7.5 billion for zero- and low-emission buses and ferries, aiming to deliver thousands of electric school buses to districts across the country, according to the White House.

Another $7.5 billion will go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehiclechargers, according to the bill text.

Improving power and water systems

The bill will invest $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, according to the White House. It calls for building thousands of miles of new power lines and expanding renewable energy, the White House said.

It will provide $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure, according to the bill text. It will replace lead service lines and pipes so that communities have access to clean drinking water, the White House said.

Another $50 billion will go toward making the system more resilient -- protecting it from drought, floods and cyberattacks, the White House said.

Environmental remediation

The bill will provide $21 billion to clean up Superfund (some of the nation's most dangerous toxic waste sites) and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells, according to the White House.

Full story here:

8:03 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Forty-five countries commit to sustainable farming at COP26

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

Forty-five countries have pledged to shift to more sustainable ways of farming in a strive to protect nature, in a UK-led commitment launched at COP26 on Saturday. 

Saturday is Nature Day at the UN Climate Conference, concentrating on urgently reforming the way we grow and consume food. This is critical in tackling global warming, with around 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions coming from forestry, agriculture and land-use. 

Every six seconds, forests equivalent in size to one football pitch are lost to the destructive production of soya, palm oil, cocoa and beef, Jane Goodall, an acclaimed anthropologist and primatologist, said during a video played at a COP26 event on Saturday.

These governments promise to implement new policies and fund further research in creating more sustainable farming methods, leveraging “over US$4bn billion of new public sector investment into agricultural innovation, including the development of climate resilient crops and regenerative solutions to improve soil health,” according to a UK government press release.

Indonesia and the UK also jointly launched the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue on Saturday, comprising 28 countries, to engage with farmers to support the livelihoods of 1.6 million people globally -- particularly in developing countries -- which depend on the production and consumption of agricultural commodities.

Joseph Itongwa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Peoples’ Network for the Sustainable Management of Forests and Ecosystems in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said: “I understand through this dialogue that businesses need to produce, they need to produce, we need to make food. This generates jobs.” 

Speaking at Saturday's COP26 event, he continued: “But this cannot impede on indigenous peoples rights and lives, you need forests, you need the ecological forests functions. So these ecological functions need to be preserved.”

7:29 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Glasgow's striking cleaners join climate protests

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Glasgow

If you've seen pictures of Glasgow's streets covered in litter, it's because hundreds of municipal workers, including trash collectors and cleaners, are on strike this week over a long-term pay dispute.

On Friday, they joined the climate protests and are expected to show up for the demonstrations in the Scottish capital again today.

The striking workers have been invited to join the protests by climate activist Greta Thunberg and have received significant support from crowds of protesters.

7:17 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Skeletal koalas and passionate pleas: Activists across the world join a "Global Day of Action"

From CNN's Kara Fox

People participate in a rally during a global day of action on climate change in Sydney, Australia, on November 6.
People participate in a rally during a global day of action on climate change in Sydney, Australia, on November 6. (Steven Saphore/AFP/Getty Images)

Climate activists around the world are taking part in a series of global protests on Saturday, calling for real action from global leaders on the climate emergency.

The "Global Day of Action" seeks to unite climate activists and groups around a common goal: To demand that governments and corporations "deliver real and just solutions" to the climate crisis and to limit global temperatures to 1.5°C, organizers said.

Demonstrations have already kicked off in Australia where more than 1,000 protesters took to the streets in the Australian capital in protest against the government’s climate policies and their COP26 offerings, Reuters reported.

In Sydney, demonstrators marched with signs that read: "We need human change, not climate change" and "Code Red for Humanity.”

Extinction Rebellion activists in Melbourne held a “koala funeral” to mark the day, marching with a gigantic puppet of a skeletal koala and banners that read “Shame.”

Australia's delegation went to the COP26 talks in Glasgow with the weakest climate plans of all the G20's developed nations.

In South Korea, hundreds of people gathered in the capital, Seoul, where demonstrators marched with a large red inflatable ball to symbolize a "burning earth," Reuters reported.'

Climate activist and protest leader Hwang In-chul told Reuters that leaders at COP26 hadn't taken strong enough steps to mitigate the crisis and that action plans were lacklustre.

"They [COP] have had meetings from all around the world every year for 26 years, but the climate crisis has not been resolved yet. Since the climate crisis cannot be stopped with the way it is, citizens around the world are coming out to take actions for our lives, safety and future."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in reconfirmed a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at COP26 this week. South Korea however, remains one of the world's most fossil-fuel reliant economies, with coal making up over 41% of the country's electricity mix and renewable power just over 6%, according to Reuters.

In the UK, climate activists are preparing for another day of protests after Friday's mass demonstrations in Glasgow, where climate activist Greta Thunberg called the COP26 summit a "failure" during a large youth protest outside the climate summit's venue.

Climate activists in Brighton, southern England were gearing up for a demonstration in the city center on Saturday, with protesters from Extinction Rebellion pushing a large float appearing to be a red oil tanker reading "Act Now," through its streets on Saturday morning.

Extinction Rebellion activists push an "Act Now" float through the streets of Brighton on Saturday morning.
Extinction Rebellion activists push an "Act Now" float through the streets of Brighton on Saturday morning. Felix Robbins Wilkinson/CNN

6:41 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

No more empty promises, youth protesters say

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Glasgow

At the Fridays for Future protest on Friday, demonstrators had one message for world leaders: Stop making false promises and take action.

Here's what some of them had to say.

Raki Ap, 37, was one of the speakers addressing a crowd of climate activists in Glasgow on Friday.
Raki Ap, 37, was one of the speakers addressing a crowd of climate activists in Glasgow on Friday. Ivana Kottasová/CNN

Raki Ap, 37, who is originally from West Papua and who lives in the Hague, said indigenous people should be at the center of climate action.

“80% of biodiversity is in indigenous hands. 96% of deforestation happens on indigenous land. The most obvious solution to climate change is protecting indigenous rights,” Ap said.

From left, medical students Vidya Nanthakumar, 21, and Lizzie Obrien, 20.
From left, medical students Vidya Nanthakumar, 21, and Lizzie Obrien, 20. Ivana Kottasová/CNN

Vidya Nanthakumar, 21, said that as a medical student, she is learning that prevention is better than treatment. She said that same theory should be applied to the climate emergency.

"For climate change, we need mitigation. We learn to act when people’s health is at risk --and this feels like it,” Nanthakumar said.

Fellow medical student Lizzie Obrien, 20, added: “Climate emergency is a health emergency. As a future doctor, I’m worried about the effects of climate change on my patients.”

Glasgow native Elise Martin, 24, had a message for world leaders who visited her hometown earlier this week: Act now.
Glasgow native Elise Martin, 24, had a message for world leaders who visited her hometown earlier this week: Act now. Ivana Kottasová/CNN

Glasgow native Elise Martin said it would be best for everyone if world leaders stopped talking and paused to listen.

“I’m here for climate. They just need to listen to us. They are just giving us false promises. They need to listen," the 24-year-old said.

6:04 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

5 takeaways from Friday at COP26

 From Ivana Kottasová, Ingrid Formanek in Glasgow and Rachel Ramirez

Protesters demonstrate in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday at a youth-led climate rally.
Protesters demonstrate in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday at a youth-led climate rally. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

It's been a long week at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow and after a flurry of big announcements in the past few days, the theme of the day on Friday was the impact of climate change on future generations.

Here's what happened if you missed it.

"Green wash festival"

The focus turned away from the suits and briefcases in the conference venue to the city center, where thousands of kids made sure their voices were heard by marching though the town.

Young activists poured into Glasgow from all over the world, demanding action from leaders at a Fridays for Future demonstration.

The headliner of the event, Greta Thunberg, called the COP event a "Global North greenwash festival" and said "it should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place."

A word about the "good news" from IEA

Several analysts have poured cold water over the International Energy Agency's (IEA) assessment that global warming could be limited to 1.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, if all COP26 commitments made as of Wednesday night are fulfilled on time. The IEA was asked by the COP26 President Alok Sharma to keep tabs on the pledges.

Mark Maslin, a professor of earth sciences at University College London, wasn't convinced. "This is irresponsible, because this is only true if all the country pledges are met and their policies are 100% effective -- which they never are," Maslin told CNN. "It's almost like the IEA wants to tell everyone the job is done and we have solved climate change, whereas we climate scientists know we are still a long, long, way from 2 degrees let alone 1.5 degrees."

Al Gore says the tools are in our hands

Former US Vice President Al Gore had a lot of praise for the young people marching through Glasgow on Friday. Speaking during the official conference, he said the world leaders need to "legitimize their expectations for a future that is worthy of them."

"We can do so but we must put the period of delay and distraction and expedience in the past, recognize that we have entered a period of consequences and make it a period of solutions," he said.

Gore, a fierce climate change advocate, said humanity has the power to save the world, if the political will could be mustered. "It's as if we can throw a switch and save the future of our civilization," Gore said. He also emphasized a common theme this week: that promises are great, but they must be kept in order to have an impact.

"We have the tools that we need to solve the crisis. We have heard pledges that will move us in a long direction toward these solutions. We must ensure that these pledges are kept," Gore said.

America's plan to make carbon capture cheaper

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced Friday the Department of Energy has a new goal: Dramatically reduce the cost of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Granholm said Friday at COP26 that the DOE's goal is to reduce the cost to $100 per ton of carbon by 2030. Right now, the department estimates it costs roughly $2,000 per ton.

Scientists say removing greenhouse gas from the atmosphere is crucial to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. But the technology is still relatively young and incredibly expensive. It also needs to be scaled up significantly in order to make a dent in what humans have already emitted.

Negotiators hard at work

The first week of the COP26 summit will wrap up on Saturday and the negotiations of some of the key aspects of the Paris Agreement are well under way. The national delegates are still trying to figure out how to implement article six of the treaty, which sets out the need for carbon emission trading. 

They are also attempting to find an agreement on emission cutting transparency rules, which include questions like how often countries need to report their progress and how to avoid double counting.

6:22 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Generation Climate: How the crisis made young people the adults in the room

From CNN Climate's Rachel Ramirez

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate in her home in Kampala.
Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate in her home in Kampala. Photo by Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

Vanessa Nakate was 21 when deadly floods inundated vast swaths of East Africa in 2018. She didn't consider herself a climate activist at the time, but soon after that disaster she and her younger siblings and cousins decorated placards and started climate protests in her home city of Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

As intensifying storms, devastating wildfires, and unrelenting drought wreaked havoc in Africa and around the world, Nakate publicly called out governments for not doing enough to make the Earth habitable for future generations. She says the youth understands the urgency of divorcing from fossil fuels much better than older generations.

"I want to see leaders, governments, and corporations rise up for the people," Nakate told CNN. "And that means putting an end to fossil fuel projects. Like I always say: we cannot eat coal, we cannot drink oil, and we cannot breathe so-called natural gas."

Nakate's generation is coming of age in a world that is warming far faster than scientists had predicted, and they see with clear eyes the climate catastrophe that looms.

They are challenging the structures of power that they are squeezed out of, elbowing their way into conversations in order to have a say in their own futures. They are funneling their anxious energy into climate rallies and protests, skipping school to sit outside Parliament buildings and UN headquarters for long hours, and calling out governments at public forums, like the COP26 climate summit, for the continued use of fossil fuels.

Read about what other young activists are doing here:

5:59 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Greta Thunberg slams COP26 as a "failure"

From CNN''s Ivana Kottasová and Rob Picheta

Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a the "Fridays For Future" protest on Friday in Glasgow, Scotland.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a the "Fridays For Future" protest on Friday in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Greta Thunberg criticized world leaders and called the COP26 summit a "failure" on Friday, as she led a huge youth protest outside the venue of the climate summit in Glasgow.

Young activists poured into the Scottish city to demand action from leaders, as the focus of the official event turned toward the impact of climate change on future generations.

But in the headline speech of the demonstration, Thunberg told crowds that "history will judge them poorly," calling the pivotal conference "a global greenwash festival" and "a two-week long celebration of business as usual."

"Many are starting to ask themselves, what will it take for the people in power to wake up? But let's be clear: they are already awake. They know exactly what they are doing," she said.

The leaders are not doing nothing. They are actively creating loopholes ... to benefit themselves."

Her remarks come after several of the major players present at the conference talked up the achievements of the first week. Leaders have so far announced a series of climate pledges at the conference, including a deforestation commitment, a deal on coal and a plan to stop investing public finances into fossil fuel projects abroad.

But many experts and young activists in Glasgow urged more radical commitments, as the United Nations warned that the world is not adapting fast enough to the climate crisis.

Thousands of demonstrators covered the city's streets on Friday, with many bearing placards that warned of the effects of rising temperatures and extreme weather events.

Young Filipino climate advocate Jan Karmel Guillermo told crowds the summit was a "crucial moment" in the climate crisis.

Thunberg spoke to protesters more than three years after she founded the "Fridays for Future" school strikes movement that galvanized youth action over climate change.

"Some people say that we are being too radical," she told an adoring audience. "But the truth is that they are the ones who are radical. Fighting to save our life supporting systems isn't radical at all."

"We don't need any more distant, non binding pledges. We don't need any more empty promises."

Thunberg's speech came after a week in which she has been mobbed by supporters and members of the media.

Read the full story here: