Climate activists perform at a protest in front of the German Embassy on Earth Day in Brussels on Friday. Reuters
Climate change campaigners held a wave of protests for “Earth Day” on Friday, pushing demands such as an immediate halt to European imports of Russian oil and gas, and an end to building fossil fuel infrastructure.
In Europe, activists in Berlin, Warsaw, Brussels and elsewhere targeted German government or embassy buildings. Germany is one of the European Union countries opposed to an embargo on Russian oil and gas, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, for fear of damage to their economy.
Around 50 activists outside Germany's representation to the European Union in Brussels chanted "be brave like Ukraine," as some lay on the floor pretending to be dead, wrapped in Ukraine flags and clothes painted to look bloodied.
Fridays for Future activists hold a banner during a climate strike in Berlin. Reuters
Nastya Pavlenko, a Ukrainian activist at the Brussels protest, said money spent on Russian fossil fuels was fuelling both climate change and the war in Ukraine.
"There is no money worth the lives of kids that are dying right now in Ukraine and the lives of people who will be displaced and killed due to climate change," she told Reuters.
About a dozen activists in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv also held a protest, with placards that spelled out "embargo now." Parts of Lviv were hit this week by Russian missile strikes that killed seven people.
A demonstrator holds a banner as climate activists protest in front of the German Embassy on Earth Day in Brussels. Reuters
Natalia Gozak, head of the EcoAction civil society group and one of those protesting in Lviv, said European politicians need to choose between an embargo's economic "inconveniences" and the deaths of Ukrainians.
In the United States, activists from the Extinction Rebellion group blockaded a New York newspaper printing facility to call for more media coverage of climate change.
Youth protesters also gathered in locations including Bangkok and Stockholm, where Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joined the school strike — a weekly protest she began as a solitary student in 2018 to demand urgent action to address climate change.
And in London, Extinction Rebellion activists dressed as oil slicks protested outside the offices of Vanguard, the world's second largest asset manager and largest investor in coal, with more than $300 billion in fossil fuels. Activists said they wanted to draw attention to the company's investments, which have largely "flown under the radar."
South Korean environmental activists wear outfits made of plastic waste during a campaign marking Earth Day against climate change in Seoul. AFP
The protests aim to amplify demands for climate action on “Earth Day,” when people worldwide celebrate and mobilise in support of protecting the environment. They come three weeks after a UN climate scientist report warned there is little time left for reining in greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
EUROPE UNDER PRESSURE
Since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, the EU has spent more than 38 billion euros ($41.2 billion) on Russian fossil fuel imports.
The EU's 27 countries have agreed to ban Russian coal imports from August, as part of sweeping sanctions also targeting Russian banks and business tycoons.
Countries including Italy and Germany have said they can wean themselves off Russian gas within a few years, and some European companies are already shunning Russian oil voluntarily to avoid reputational damage or possible legal troubles. But the EU states are split over whether to impose an immediate and full embargo on Russian fuels, which Germany and Hungary say would hammer their economies. The EU gets 40% of its gas from Russia.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday said a gas embargo would not end the war.
"If (Russian President Vladimir) Putin were open to economic arguments, he would never have begun this crazy war," he told Der Spiegel.
Environmental activists display placards next to mannequins dressed with plastic waste during a campaign against climate change in Surabaya. AFP
Warsaw-based climate activist Dominika Lasota, 20, said youth movement Fridays for Future would be changing its approach by holding smaller actions targeting specific governments opposed to fossil fuel sanctions, rather than organising the massive street protests that drew hundreds of thousands in past years and helped draw international attention to climate change.
"It's wartime. We have to brace for a longer marathon," Lasota said. "The war will not stop with the last bomb that will fall..., it will end once we end the [fossil fuel] industry and the system behind it."
Ukrainian NGOs also sent a letter on Friday to Germany's parliament demanding the country stop buying Russian oil and gas.
"Germany is one of its main consumers and thus is the main sponsor of war in Ukraine," said the letter. "You only need some political will and humaneness to impose a full embargo on Russian oil and gas."
Researchers from Cambridge University, the University of East Anglia and London-based SOAS looked at a "realistic scenario" known as RCP 8.5, where carbon and other polluting emissions continue rising in coming decades.
Researchers also hope to learn whether larger rewards will encourage more citizens away from their cars.
While most of her peers are preparing for university or enjoying summer vacation, 17-year-old Howey Ou is braving intimidation and criticism in China to save the world from climate catastrophe.
Now to collect data that can help presage drastic weather changes and keep people abreast of research in climate change, Air New Zealand is converting one of its domestic aircraft into a flying environmental monitor as part of a world-first project with Nasa.
Russia's Central Election Commission said on Friday that the election would for the first time be held over three days — from March 15-17.
The police shared a video in cooperation with the Monitoring and Control Centre within the 'Your Comment' initiative, showing a serious accident that occurred due to the driver's lack of focus on the road.
This gesture was part of RTA's yearly traffic safety initiatives, conducted in collaboration with Dubai Police General HQ, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), UNICEF, and supported by the Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (Emarat) and Continental Tires.