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Global day of action to demand climate justice

What we're covering

  • Rallies are taking place around the world to demand solutions to the climate crisis.
  • The protests come at the end of the first of two weeks of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, which saw global leaders make pledges on the end of coal and fossil fuel financing, but the deals fell short of expectations.
  • US Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Friday with key climate actions.
  • Swedish activist Greta Thunberg slammed COP26 as a “failure" on Friday at youth-led protests, dubbing it a “Global North greenwash festival."
Our live coverage of the protests has ended. Read up on the latest news below.
12:40 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Organizers say 250,000 people showed up for the climate protest in Glasgow today

Protesters take part in a rally organized by the Cop26 Coalition in Glasgow demanding global climate justice on Saturday November 6, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/PA Images/Getty Images)

Hundreds of thousands of people are understood to have turned out for climate protests across the world. In Glasgow alone, organizers say around 250,000 people gathered for demonstrations.

CNN has yet to verify those numbers with police, however, teams on the ground saw jam-packed protests with people from different social, culture and political group to send out one message to world leaders: The time to act is now.

As groups of protesters gathered in the city's Glasgow Green on Saturday afternoon, where climate activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate were preparing to address the crowd.

People participate in a protest rally during a global day of action on climate change in Glasgow on November 6, 2021, during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference.  (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

12:29 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

"Do you believe in leaders or in us?" Indigenous activist asks protesters

Members of the Indigenous Climate Action group from north Canada joined the People's March in Glasgow, singing: "We don't need your extractive industries," as they marched through Glasgow's streets.

Indigenous people are "among the first to face the direct impacts of global warming on the ecosystems or landscapes they inhabit, owing also to their dependence upon, and close relationship with the environment and its resources," according to the United Nations.

"Although they account for only around 5 percent of the world’s population, they effectively manage an estimated 20-25 per cent of the Earth’s land surface. This land coincides with areas that hold 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity and about 40 per cent of all terrestrial protected areas and ecologically intact landscapes. Indigenous peoples therefore play a key role in efforts to protect the planet and biodiversity," the UN said in April.

On Saturday afternoon, activists from Minga Indigena, a collective of groups and communities from indigenous nations throughout the American continent, spoke at Glasgow Green to scores of protesters.

"Do you believe in leaders or in us?" a Minga Indigena activist said.

“Just as our ancestors defended the lands, we will continue,” they added.

Members of Minga Indigena address a crowd of climate activists on Saturday in Glasgow. Ivana Kottasová/CNN

10:49 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

US Sen. Markey promises US Congress "will get this job done" on climate bill

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) speaks during a rally to highlight the efforts of Congressional Democrats to legislate against climate change outside the U.S. Capitol on October 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Organized by the League of Conservation Voters, the event hosted Democratic members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, a longtime climate hawk in the Senate, told COP26 attendees he’s confident Congress will pass President Joe Biden’s climate and economic bill – fulfilling Biden’s commitment to slash greenhouse gases.  

“I am telling every representative of every country I am meeting here, we will get this job done,” Markey said. “I am very confident that we will be able to pass the Build Back Better bill. I am very confident that the US will fulfill its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 50% by the year 2030.” 

Markey’s message to those at COP was that America was back and fully engaged in the climate space, after the Trump administration pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

“We are going to deliver on our promises that you can turn the page on the Trump era,” Markey said. “We’re putting these [clean energy] tax breaks on the book for a 10-year period. We’re going to act on methane. There will be a climate bank inside of this legislation for $22 billion that will unleash approximately $200 billion worth of private sector investment in new clean energy technologies.” 

Markey spoke at COP26 hours after the US House passed Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, sending it to the president’s desk. But Congress still hasn’t passed Biden’s remaining $1.75 trillion climate and economic bill, and a vote on that will likely be delayed until before Thanksgiving. 

House progressive lawmakers said they had secured a commitment from moderates they would vote for the major climate and economic legislation, but some climate advocates are uneasy. 

Ramon Cruz, the president of the Sierra Club, told Markey at Saturday’s COP26 event that the House vote on the infrastructure bill was not “ideal” from his point of view. 

“The events of last night in the US, unfortunately, are not ideal for us,” Cruz said. “It had been the intent of the Progressive Caucus members to go together hand in hand with the legislation that is really transformational – that changes people’s lives.”
11:05 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

COP26 President Alok Sharma welcomes US infrastructure bill as progress on climate

COP26 President, Alok Sharma speaksduring the Unifying for Change: The Global Youth Voice event on day six of the Cop 26 Summit at the SEC on November 4, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.  (Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

COP26 President Alok Sharma has welcomed the passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in the US Congress, saying that he hopes it will provide momentum for climate talks at Glasgow.

"As I've said before, I’m pleased we had a US administration that has put the US back in the frontline against climate change," he said at a news conference in Glasgow.

“I of course welcome the bill and I think it will help provide further momentum,” he said.

Read more about the bill here:

10:52 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Delegates at COP26 react to US passing infrastructure bill

President Joe Biden calls on reporters for questions as he speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The US Congress passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Friday night, which will invest tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. It also includes funding for a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers.

But Congress is still negotiating a larger climate and economic passage, that analyses show would go a long way to help the US achieve President Joe Biden's goal to slash US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

On Saturday, COP26 delegates reacted to the infrastructure bill's passage.

“I’m really looking forward to what Joe Biden is going to do and I have a lot of hope," said Alexander Reyes-Knoch, a member of the Peruvian delegation. "I think at least more than half of the world has a great hope of how the US will position itself and will be part of this movement.”

Elias Spiekermann, Germany’s Ministry for Environment Delegation, said it will “absolutely” concern him if Biden’s climate and economic bill does not pass through Congress.

Asked if he would support the White House exercising executive powers to help get Biden’s agenda through, Spiekermann continued:

“I mean, that's good for the climate. But then again, I guess it's also difficult to sell this to the American population," Spiekermann said. "Because it's probably difficult to make people understand why you should do it if you have a strong political group against it. So it is a sensitive topic, I guess.”

Samuel Vandermeulan, an environmental studies and political science student from the US who is attending COP26, expressed concern about the politics of climate change in the country.

“This is a good step. But the fact that something as important as climate change is still politically controversial in the US is embarrassing, I think," Vandermeulan said. "And so I'm very happy that as an American, that Biden seems to be taking a stronger stance in the world stage. But ... the rest of the world should be viewing it through a lens of skepticism until more substantive change comes about.”

9:24 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

From Scotland to Indonesia, protests around the world are calling for climate justice

As the climate summit continues in Glasgow on Saturday, thousands of people are demonstrating across the world, demanding that leaders take action on the climate crisis.

Here's a look at the climate protests unfolding across the globe today:

Demonstrators speak into megaphones during a protest as the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference takes place, in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 6. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

Members of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion lay in the street during a protest in Brussels, Belgium, November 6. (Julien Warnand/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A large puppet of a burning Koala is seen used by extinction rebellion protestors as they conducted a mock funeral on November 6, in Melbourne, Australia. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Members of the 'climate crisis resistance alliance' hold a protest in Palu, Indonesia, on November 6. (Adi Pranata/ZUMA Wire)

Environmental activists display portraits of world leaders in front of the Paris city hall on November 6, in France. (Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA-EFE-Shutterstock)
People participate in a rally during a global day of action on climate change in Seoul, South Korea, on November 6. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

People participate in a rally during a global day of action on climate change in Manila, Philippines, on November 6. (Maria Tan/AFP/Getty Images)

9:20 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

"Grannies against global warming": Protesters demand climate action for future generations

Liz and Mike Wignall joined the Glasgow demonstrations from Edinburgh. (Ivana Kottasová/CNN)

Thousands of climate action activists are marching through Glasgow today, demanding stronger action on the climate crisis as COP26 continues.

As the People's March kicks off on a rainy day in Glasgow, here's why some demonstrators say they've taken to the streets.

Alex Sidney, 18, cycled some 214 kilometers (132 miles) from Manchester to Glasgow with the environmental organization, Not 1 More.

“We wanted to show that you can travel in a carbon neutral way. It’s a form of protest," Sidney said.

“I want the leaders to take action. Radical action," Sidney added.

Alex Sidney, 18, rode his bike from Manchester to Glasgow to demonstrate at COP26, Ivana Kottasová/CNN

71-year-old Liz Wignall said that she and her husband, Mike Wignall, had come to Glasgow from Edinburgh to demonstrate in solidarity with younger generations.

"We’re here for our grandchildren and the future generations," said Liz, who was holding a placard that read "Grannies against global warming."

"We’re trying to convince [the leaders] that we want a meaningful action," Mike, 73, said.

"We want them to know that this is not the end," Liz added.

Tommy McClellan, also from Edinburgh, was playing the bagpipe at the start of the demonstration. The 58-year-old father of two said he is “desperately worried about the planet and future generations."

"I have two daughters myself. But it’s not just about humans. Even if humans go extinct, I don’t want us to leave a destroyed planet behind," McClellan said.

Ivana Kottasová/CNN

Across the demonstration, protesters are carrying signs calling for climate justice and action. Some read:
"Climate justice now”
“Keep 1.5 alive”
“I haven’t seen a polar bear… but I’d like to”
“It’s now or never…take action”
“People + planet over profit”
“Blah blah blah," (a reference a Greta Thunberg's speech, where she roasted world leaders on climate inaction)
“Every disaster movie starts with someone ignoring a scientist”
9:20 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Food scarcity an "existential threat," Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate says

Climate activist Vanessa Nakate speaks at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 6, 2021. (Alastair Grant/AP)

Protesters are gathering the rain at Glasgow, but indoors, the theme today is nature -- and all the solutions it can offer, if humans protect it.

In a session on food and agriculture, Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate said food shortages are already an "existential threat" as a result of climate change.

"The climate crisis is leaving millions of people hungry because there is no food," Nakate said.

Nakate added that although Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions, it has been suffering some of the most brutal impacts fueled by the climate crisis, such as hunger and death.

"Climate change has disrupted weather patterns in countries like mine, causing shorter and heavier rainy seasons plus longer dry seasons. Farms are being washed away by heavy rains, destroying crops. Crops are getting burned in intense dry seasons," she said.

The activist stressed the importance of tackling the issues that contribute to climate change. Nakate said that changing to a plant-based diet could lead to a great impact. 

"Of course, not everyone has the ability to make such changes. But most of us do something. And it is those who have the most power, who also have the most responsibility. Our leaders need to start aligning their policies with the science to help us drastically reduce emissions to zero starting now," she said.

Vanessa Nakate has urged world leaders to start diverting from the usage of fossil fuels."Stop investing in fossil fuels, stop digging up and burning fossil fuels and stop forcing fossil fuels back into the ground where we grow the food that sustains us," she said.

7:57 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Actor Idris Elba warns of future food shortages from the climate crisis

Idris Elba speaks during a session at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 6. (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

British actor Idris Elba brought some star power to a COP26 panel on food and agriculture, warning lengthy queues at supermarkets sparked by food shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic “is a reality for us in the future” if we don’t tackle climate change. 

Food shortages experienced during the pandemic were due to issues in supply chains , but Elba pointed out that supply chains would be hit hard "if we don't figure out what to do around climate change and what it's doing to our food systems."

Elba, who is the United Nations Ambassador for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said that IFAD has been "focussing on small scale farmers [who] deliver 80% of the food that we eat," saying that its a fact that consumers don't realize when they go to the supermarket.

"It's not obvious to us. But it is obvious to them [farmers], because every year when they put their crops in, the crops are lower, because the rain is different, the soil is different. And one day we're gonna go to [grocers] Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencers and the food's not going to be there," Elba said.