Ahead of the COP26 UN summit on climate change, young people gathered in Milan to put pressure on world leaders before they meet later this month.
Thousands took to the streets of the Italian city Saturday to urge policymakers to act.
It came on the final day of a preparatory meeting for delegates from around the world to determine where progress can be made before the summit begins Oct. 31 in Glasgow.
Activists voiced their frustration with politicians and big business during the march, saying that despite international meetings like the COP, not enough action has been taken.
“Despite the many demonstrations and the many international meetings like the pre-COP or the COP, there has been no turnaround in politics to fight climate change, they are still talking about reaching zero emissions by 2050, while we say that by 2030,” said 25-year-old activist Lorenzo Morandi.
The British president of COP26 said the presence of youth delegates and activists has energized the process.
“What we heard shames this group of world leaders, and there is no doubt that this group of young people and indeed young people around the world will hold this group of world leaders accountable if we are not able to do so at COP26 credibly saying that we have kept 1.5 degrees within reach,” Alok Sharma said.
The previous day, activists from Fridays for Future, including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate, led another climate march in Milan.
Speaking to demonstrators, Thunberg told the crowds that politicians are only “pretending to have solutions to the climate crisis,” adding that only “when people gather to make change happen” is there hope for the future.
The 12-day COP26 summit in early November is expected to make more ambitious commitments to limit global warming. The meeting will also focus on mobilizing finance and protecting vulnerable communities and natural habitats.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, who attended Saturday’s preparatory meeting in Milan, said he believed “tremendous progress” could be made at the upcoming U.N. climate talks in Scotland, but concrete commitments must be made by more governments in the next 30 days.