Greta Thunberg to join climate protest in London ahead of COP26

Greta Thunberg Credit: PA

Greta Thunberg is set to join protesters in London lobbying against the use of fossil fuels, just days before global leaders are set to join for the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow.

The teenage activist is expected to be one of thousands protesting across 26 countries and every continent in the world on Friday to demand the global financial system stops putting money into the use of fossil fuels.

The Day of Action protest could be one of the largest climate finance protests in history and will take place at financial centres in London, New York, San Francisco and Nairobi.

Activists will campaign outside branches of Barclays, Standard Chartered, Lloyds of London and the Bank of England, with Ms Thunberg set to join them.

Greta joined the marches during a Youth Strike 4 Climate protest in Bristol last year. Credit: PA

The protests come after campaigners revealed banks have paid £2,754,145,000,000 into fossil fuel extraction since the 2015 Paris agreement where world leaders committed to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The International Energy Authority says there can be no further exploration of oil and gas after 2021.

Joseph Sikulu, from Pacific Climate Warriors, said: “Financial institutions that continue to invest in dirty fossil fuel projects are also investing in the destruction of our islands and our homes.

“It’s time for the corporations who have caused this crisis to be held accountable.

“The science is clear. We need to do everything we can to limit global warming to 1.5C, the survival of our islands depends on that. To get there we need to defund the climate chaos.”

Leaders including Prime Minister Boris Johnson will, from Monday at COP26, discuss how best the world can work together against climate change.

The COP26 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP26? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP26:

  • US President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry, climate adviser and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and 10 other US cabinet officials.

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In the days leading up to COP26, Mr Morrison committed Australia to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are also attending. The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are among the leaders that have decided not to travel to Glasgow.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - Countries are being encouraged to set ambitious 2030 emissions targets. They are also encouraged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, clamp down on deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

2. Protect natural habitats and communities from climate change disasters

3. Finances for a greener future - In 2009, developed countries were asked to keep to their promises to contribute at least $100 billion (£72.5 billion) per year by 2020 to protect the planet. In 2015, it was agreed that the goal would be extended to 2025.

However, new analysis shows the goal is unlikely to have been met last year and is on track to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

4. Getting all countries and organisations to work together to tackle the climate crisis

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The Prime Minister previously said he fears the summit could fail to make the change needed for the environment.

He said: “We need as many people as possible to go to net zero so that they are not producing too much carbon dioxide by the middle of the century. Now, I think it can be done. It’s going to be very, very tough, this summit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Cop26 could be ‘very tough’ Credit: Leon Neal/PA

“I’m very worried because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need.”

Last month Greta Thunberg mocked the "build back better" slogan used by both Boris Johnson and Joe Biden as “blah, blah, blah”, as she lambasted world leaders for not doing enough to tackle climate change.

During a speech at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Italy, the Swedish activist said the words of “our so-called leaders” had led to “no action”.