Join the global climate strike?

Protests will take place in around 150 countries on Friday

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Should you join the global climate strike on Friday?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

In May, millions of schoolchildren walked out of their classrooms across the world to protest for more action on the climate crisis.

Just in case governments did not get the message, they will be striking again on Friday - and this time, they are asking adults to join them.

The global climate strike is expected to take place in around 150 countries on September 20. But will it be effective?

While some argue that protesters should strike because the governments are moving "with such painful slowness", one former Oxford University professor says it could ruin his "vital work" on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Claim

The Guardian's Bill McKibben argues that there are "countless reasons" why you should join the global climate strike on Friday.

He writes: "Strike because the people who did the least to cause this crisis suffer first and worst – the people losing their farms to desert and watching their islands sink beneath the waves aren’t the ones who burned the coal and gas and oil...

"Strike because sun and wind are now the cheapest way to generate power around the world – if we could match the political power of the fossil fuel industry we could make fast progress.

"Strike because we’ve already lost half the animals on the planet since 1970 – the earth is a lonelier place."

McKibben accuses our governments of moving with "such painful slowness, treating climate change as, at worst, one problem on a long list".

He argues that the global climate strike is a great - and perhaps the last - opportunity to "transform our society towards justice and towards joy".

McKibben adds: "Strike because young people have asked us to. In a well-ordered society, when kids make a reasonable request their elders should say yes – in this case with real pride and hope that the next generations are standing up for what matters."

The Counterclaim

However, Professor Pete Dobson told Metro that the global climate strike protesters "could ruin vital work".

The climate change scientist, who is developing technology to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, said that the disruption could cause his team to "lose at least a few million pounds that could have gone towards saving the planet".

The former Oxford University professor said: "Unlike these protesters, I actually do something about the problem.

"In past demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion and similar groups, I have been appalled by the ignorance of students and that of their teachers and organisers.

"They are being coerced into becoming 'rent-a-mob'."

Dobson added: "The time spent on these activities would be better spent on learning the science and engineering about how to solve the problem.

"We do not need any more alerting to the issue."

The Facts

The global climate strike is inspired by the campaigning of 16-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.

Last summer, the teenager held a lone protest outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against her government's lack of action on climate change. The teenager accused her country of not following the Paris Climate Agreement.

In March, it was estimated that 1.4 million schoolchildren in 112 countries skipped class to protest against the lack of action on climate change. Smaller strikes also took place in May, June and August.

The next global climate strike on September 20 will take place three days before the UN Climate Summit in New York. A second wave of protests is scheduled for September 27.

According to NBC News, dozens of brands in the United States and Europe - such as Lush, Patagonia, and Burton - will be temporarily closing their businesses in solidarity with the protests.

The TUC has called for workers in the UK to stop work for half an hour in a show of solidarity, the i reports. Amnesty International has also asked headteachers across the world to allow their students to march.

There will be rallies held across UK cities on Friday, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Leeds. Events are listed on on the UK Student Climate Network website.

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