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Editor's comment: Will we see you at strike for climate?

PUBLISHED: 14:30 18 September 2019

Children from Hackney demonstrate for action against climate change on the steps of Hackney town hall earlier this year. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Children from Hackney demonstrate for action against climate change on the steps of Hackney town hall earlier this year. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Archant

The Gazette and its sister papers will be out and about on Friday (September 20) to cover the global climate strike, and we'd love to see you there.

As well as local events such as the picket in Pancras Square at 12.30pm, there's set to be an all-day London-wide gathering in Millbank, by the Palace of Westminster.

The Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament for an extra fortnight has rightly been the subject of significant scrutiny, but there's something much more pressing than Brexit that MPs should be debating: international governments need to set more ambitious targets for tackling climate change than they have done, and they need to actually plan how to meet them.

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Scientists believe current global emissions trends will see us overshoot the (still potentially devastating) limit of a 2C rise in temperatures from pre-industrial levels set by the Paris agreement.

It's disappointing but perhaps not much of a surprise that the education secretary didn't have more to say about the fact children are planning to walk out of school over his government's perceived failure to adequately tackle this crisis. Theresa May's last-minute commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is welcome, but doesn't go far enough, especially given that it includes the option of "buying" carbon credits from other countries.

It feels like an overwhelming and impossible task to change the minds of those with such strong, entrenched vested interests in the destructive and unsustainable status quo.

But the children who have been striking this year are an inspiration. We can't let them fight for our futures alone: we all have a part to play, whether it means getting involved in non-violent direct action, spreading the word, or helping and supporting others working on those things.

It's still important to sort our recycling and vital to cut car use, but those things won't be enough: the change has to be systematic and enormous - and fast.

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