Hundreds of young people, led by Swedish activist Greta Thanberg, marched in the Italian city of Milan a few weeks before the crucial UN Climate Change Conference (COP2) in Glasgow, demanding swift climate action.
The rally was held on Friday as a continuation of the “Friday for the Future” movement that brought students to the streets around the world two years before the start of the coronavirus epidemic.
“Hope doesn’t come from politicians blah, blah, blah,” Thunberg said as he led a rally in Milan with Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate.
“Hope doesn’t come from inactivity and empty promises that everything will be fine. They tell us to believe we’re doing what we can, it’s not hope, it’s hope, hope is us, people, hope when people gather to change.”
The 1-year-old climate worker, who is seen as a possible Nobel Peace Prize winner in October, was in Milan as part of a formal UN gathering for the youth version of COP 2 of, which is expected to be attended. 400 people.
The three-day Youth4 Climate Conference has drawn criticism from young delegates who have complained that organizers are not interested in their input for documents sent to this year’s UN climate conference.
On the first day of the Youth Climate Conference on Tuesday, Thunberg denounced the climate ministers, saying “they are pretending they have a solution to the climate crisis and they are taking adequate action, but we have seen them lie.”
“Make it better, blah, blah, blah. Green economy, blah, blah, blah. By 2050 Net-Zero, Blah, Blah, Blah. Climate-neutral, blah, blah, blah. All this we have heard from our so-called leaders. Words, sounds that sound great but so far no action has been taken, ”he said.
Since his speech, “Blah, blah, blah” has become a critical cry for climate justice activists on social media.
Protesters in Milan said they wanted to see a change to COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, starting October 31.
“They are extremely frustrated, angry and impatient for change,” said Adam Rani, an Al Jazeera correspondent in Milan.
“They are calling for a greater commitment from rich countries to poorer countries to level the playing field in the fight against climate change.”
In a final push to pledge world leaders ahead of the climate conference, Thanberg met Thursday with Italian Prime Minister and current G20 president Mario Draghi.
The workers’ proposals included a transparent climate finance system and sustainable and responsible tourism, as well as demands for a complete exclusion from the fossil fuel industry by 2030.
Their proposals will be verified by a pre-COP26 meeting of climate and energy ministers in the next few days before the Glasgow conference.
Draghi assured them that their demands would not be heard. “You have the right to demand accountability and change … Your solidarity has been strengthened and reassured, we hear,” he said.