Climate activists to march on Light Night Leeds ahead of COP26

A group of nine Spanish climate activists will reach Leeds on Friday, as part of their nearly 1000 km hike across the UK.

Starting in Portsmouth and ending in Glasgow, Marcha-a-Glasgow aims to reach the COP26 Summit being held in the city between 31st October and 12th November.

On average, the rise in global temperature has been 1°C since the pre-industrial era, as CO2 emissions from manufacturing and modern technologies intensify the greenhouse effect preventing heat escaping earth’s atmosphere.

The COP26 Summit stands for the 26th Conference of Parties and is the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference.

It will mark the 16th meeting of the parties since the Kyoto Protocol of 1992, which promised to reduce CO2 emissions to “a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” and the third meeting since the Paris Agreement of 2015, which aimed to cap the mean global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Marcha-a-Glagow, however, feel that politicians at these conferences have failed to both stress the urgency of action needed and implement policies that effectively curb the damage that has been done to our planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report in 2018 stating that there were 11 years left to implement substantial global changes before the effects of global warming become irreversible.

Along with the most recent report from the IPCC, which states the effects of the rise in global temperatures are currently, ‘widespread, fast, and intensifying’, the group also cite a statement in the journal, BioScience, where over 11,000 scientists warn about ‘untold suffering’ if substantial changes are not made immediately.

Alongside acknowledging that the global South is disproportionately affected by the results of global warming, the activists highlight this year’s catastrophic weather events in Europe as examples that weather patterns are being damaged worldwide, such as the record snowfall in Madrid in January, Storm Christoph in the UK, the wildfires of Greece and Italy over summer and the devastating July floods in Germany and Western Europe.

The activists state, “The climate crisis is reaching devastating levels. We are heading at lightning speed towards an ecological abyss of ‘untold suffering’.”

“If walking 1,000 km under the notorious British weather can help raise awareness that our future and that of generations to come is at stake in Glasgow, then it will all be worth it.”

The goals of the upcoming conference in Glasgow are, to ‘Secure global net zero [emissions] by mid-century’, ‘Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats’, ‘Mobilise finance’ and to ‘Work together to deliver’ these aim by building on the groundwork laid at Paris.

One of the walkers, Maribel Roldón says, “The governments should act now to avoid causing more irreversible harm to our planet. Climate change is eroding human rights and aggravating social inequalities, particularly in the most vulnerable areas.”

The Marcha-a-Glasgow activists will reach Millennium Square in time for the Light Night light shows on Friday 15th October, bringing along a pedal-powered sound machine to accompany them. On Saturday morning from 10am they plan to continue their journey via a festival in Chapeltown, where they will be met by live bands, stalls, and interactive activities in addition to speeches from the Mayor and Children’s Mayor activities to show solidarity.

Image: Leeds City Council