‘We are listening’: Italy says leaders will heed calls from young climate activists


  • Young activists in Milan for pre-COP26 talks
  • Draghi to demand climate commitment at G20 summit
  • Johnson tells young people: “Your future is stolen”
  • Activists table proposals ahead of COP26 talks

MILAN, Sept. 30 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday pledged world leaders to listen to demands from young climate activists ahead of the UN COP26 summit in November, after a meeting in Milan with Greta Thunberg.

Their proposals include a transparent climate finance system, sustainable and responsible tourism and the phasing out of the fossil fuel industry by 2030, which they want to include on the agenda of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, in Scotland. Read more

Activists from around the world converged on Milan this week for a Youth4Climate event addressed by Draghi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson as well as UK COP26 President Alok Sharma, who is coordinating preparations for the summit.

“You are right to demand accountability and change (…) your mobilization has been powerful and rest assured, we are listening to you,” said Draghi after a private meeting with Thunberg and others. activists.

Draghi wants the October G20 summit to commit to keeping a global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach and developing long-term strategies consistent with that goal.

“My feeling is that the leaders are all absolutely convinced of the need to act and act quickly,” he said.

Draghi promised campaigners he would push at the G20 summit to accelerate a $ 100 billion pledge to help vulnerable countries adapt and switch to cleaner energy.

“The prime minister agreed with us, but that is not enough. We want to see the action,” said Martina Comparelli, an Italian activist, who was part of the Draghi meeting.

Draghi’s speech was interrupted by chants, while outside the venue, activists briefly attempted to block the road and scuffled with riot police.

Speaking via video link, Johnson said young people have every right to protest and are paying the price for the reckless actions of their elders. “Your future is literally being stolen before your eyes,” he said.

He said if progress could be made in phasing out coal and the combustion engine, raising funds and planting trillions of trees, COP26 could be “the beginning of the end of change. climate “.

Italy and Britain are co-hosting COP26, which aims to get more ambitious climate action from the nearly 200 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement and agreed to try to limit the man-made global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Read more


Young Climate Champions are calling on policymakers to combine rhetoric and action and fork out the billions of dollars needed to wean the world from fossil fuels to cleaner energy in a year that has seen heat waves, record floods and fires.

Their Milan proposals will be considered by climate and energy ministers at the pre-COP26 meeting in the coming days.

Draghi urged all wealthy nations who pledged a decade ago to mobilize $ 100 billion a year to keep that pledge, adding that aid should come in the form of grants, not loans, to avoid increase the debt.

Italy’s energy transition minister later said he would propose a doubling of his climate finance contribution to € 1 billion per year, subject to government approval.

While new energy and funding pledges from the United States and China have made negotiators more optimistic, many G20 countries, including major polluters like China and India, have yet to updated their short-term climate action plans.

“You (young people) need to shed light on social media to make sure that we are pushing other countries to do more than they have done,” said US climate envoy John Kerry. “We have a wall of resistance in front of us and we must break it down.”

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Giulio Piovaccari; Writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Alexander Smith and Janet Lawrence

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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