Global warming campaigners are demonstrating in cities across Germany ahead of Sunday’s federal elections.
“No political group is doing enough,” Greta Thunberg, a Swedish protester, told a crowd of thousands in Berlin.
The activists want Germany to do more to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and phase out coal power generation by 2030, rather than 2038.
Thousands of climate activists demonstrated outside Germany’s parliament two days before a national election, demanding that politicians take better action to combat climate change.
The rally outside the Reichstag in Berlin on September 24 was part of a worldwide series of marches in response to alarming warnings that the world faces deadly temperature rises unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced shortly.
Global warming has been a major topic of discussion during the election campaign.
Record floods slammed over western Germany in July, killing more than 180 people. However, this has not resulted in increased support for the Green Party, which still ranks third in the latest opinion poll with 16.5 per cent.
The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have a narrow lead in the polls, polling at 25%, with the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) of departing Chancellor Angela Merkel lagging on 23%.
On Friday, activists from the “Fridays for the Future” campaign protested in about 470 German towns and cities.
“It is clearer than ever that no political party is doing nearly enough.” But it doesn’t stop there. Even their planned promises do not come close to meeting the requirements of the Paris agreement “On Friday, Ms. Thunberg stated.
Voting was important, but it wasn’t enough, she added, urging the gathering of about 100,000 to be “active participants” and take to the streets.
Germany agreed to the Paris Agreement‘s aims in 2015, vowing to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It has, however, continually fallen short of its own goals.
Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish activist who protested alone in Stockholm three years ago, inspired the idea for a global “climate strike.” It grew into a mass movement until the coronavirus pandemic ended major meetings. Activists have only recently begun to organise smaller meetings.
Ms. Thunberg, 18, spoke from a stage at the Berlin event, reminding the crowd that voting is vital, but it must be accompanied by protests that keep politicians under constant pressure.
“We can yet turn things around,” she remarked, eliciting applause. “We demand and are the change.”
Ms. Thunberg and famous German environmental activist Luisa Neubauer accused politicians of failing short, claiming that the major parties’ platforms were insufficient to prevent global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), the most aggressive limit set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Even though climate change has been a major topic during the election campaign, German activists have referred to the September 26 election as the “vote of the century,” stating that the next government’s decision will influence the country’s efforts to fight global warming for decades to come.
The rally on September 24 drew attendees of all ages, including children and adults. Rene Bohrenfeldt, an IT expert at the Berlin event, expressed hope that elderly Germans will consider the matter when voting on Sunday.
“The majority of voters are over 50, and they influence the outcome of the election,” said Bohrenfeldt, 36. “I advise all grandmothers to choose wisely for the sake of the environment and their grandchildren.”
Christiane Koetter-Lietz, who came with her children and grandkids, said she planned to vote for Germany’s Green party, which has advocated for stricter measures to reduce the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases.
“We have floods, fires, and the entire planet is on fire. “This is the final warning,” the 69-year-old from the western village of Unna remarked.
Global warming has also been a big political issue in Iceland, where citizens will go to the polls for a general election on Saturday. All of the parties contesting for seats in the North Atlantic Island nation’s parliament recognise global warming as a cause of change in the subarctic-arctic environment, but they disagree on how to solve it.
While many of the protests throughout the world were personal, protestors in the United Kingdom shut the country’s biggest ferry port on Friday to draw attention to the climate catastrophe and fuel poverty in the United Kingdom.