(Adds details of the New York protest)
By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Young activists gathered Friday for climate action, organizing protests from New Zealand and Japan to Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to demand rich countries pay for the damage global warming is doing to the planet’s climate. arms.
The protests are taking place six weeks before this year’s UN climate summit, known as COP27, where vulnerable countries will push for compensation for climate-related destruction of homes, infrastructure and livelihoods.
Demonstrations were planned by youth movement Fridays for Future at some 450 locations worldwide. They are timed to coincide with the meeting of world leaders in New York City during the UN General Assembly this week.
“One day, my house could be flooded,” said 15-year-old Park Chae-yun, one of about 200 people protesting in Seoul, South Korea. “I live with a sense of crisis, so I think it is more important to convey my concerns to the government to take preventive measures than to go to school.”
A protester who mentioned Meta was also concerned in Indonesia: “If Jakarta is flooded, anyone with money can leave. Where should I go? I will drown here in Jakarta.”
About 400 young activists gathered in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, as they walked on the shoulder of a busy thoroughfare, chanting slogans such as “Act for Africa, protect our planet” and cardboard signs reading “Climate Justice” and “Climate SOS” were carrying .
In New York, at least 2,000 people gathered for the march Friday afternoon, chanting slogans such as “the united people will never be defeated” as they made their way from Foley Square to lower Manhattan.
Shortly before 3pm (1800 GMT), crowds began to gather in Wall Street’s financial district in front of the famous statue of a bull, which has come to symbolize the stock market and big business.
Referring to the catastrophic floods in Pakistan that displaced millions this year, one speaker told the crowd: “The rains came from the sky, but the floods came from America’s greed and your leaders’ addiction to oil.”
Nemonte Nenquimo, an indigenous leader from the Pastaza region of Ecuador’s Amazon, spoke to the crowd: “I am here to make visible our struggle in the Amazon … We (have) given our lives to protect the planet .”
Irreparable damage caused by climate change has increased developing countries’ demands for “Loss & Damage” compensation at COP27 in Egypt in November.
Leaders from these countries note that the world is already dealing with climate-induced disasters, including deadly floods that engulf large parts of Pakistan, wildfires that ravage Morocco and Canada, and record-breaking heat waves in Britain and India.
“Least developed countries are hardest hit by the devastating effects of climate change,” Senegal’s Environment Minister Abdou Karim Sall said at a meeting in Dakar last week.
“The fundamental priority is to secure new and additional funding to address this,” he said.
The United States and the European Union of 27 have in the past resisted steps that could require rich countries to pay compensation for causing climate change.
But pressure is mounting on global institutions to stop funding fossil fuel industries.
A top climate adviser to US President Joe Biden on Friday said the head of the World Bank “shouldn’t mince words” about the scientific consensus on climate change after his president, David Malpass, this week tried to dodge a question about whether fossil fuels fuels are dangerously heating the planet.
Malpass later clarified that he was not a climate change denier after he faced a spate of calls to resign.
The COP27 meeting in Sharm El Sheikh is not expected to lead to a landmark agreement like the one struck at last November’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, where countries were asked to do much more to curb planet-warming carbon emissions.
But it will be a litmus test for countries’ willingness to cooperate on climate action, despite the difficult geopolitical backdrop, as many governments struggle to contain rising inflation and grapple with the energy market turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. . (Reporting by Reuters agencies; Writing by Kate Abnett and Aurora Ellis; Editing by Katy Daigle, Alison Williams and Josie Kao)