Belgian youth demand system change to mitigate climate change

The Belgian youth group Comac has launched a campaign #GoToGlasgow to bring as many young people to Glasgow to mobilize in front of the COP26 Summit, demanding concrete policies to tackle climate change.

October 25, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Youth hit the streets of Belgium to demand radical action against climate change. Photo: COMAC

On Friday, October 22, thousands of students and young people hit the streets across Belgium as part of the climate strike demanding concrete policies to address climate change. Youth organizations such as Youth For Climate, Redfox, and Comac joined the mobilization in large numbers. Mobilizations were held in all the major Belgian cities including Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent, Louvain-La-Neuve, Antwerp, Leuven, Liege etc. The Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) expressed solidarity with mobilizations which have demanded system change to mitigate climate change.

As part of the mobilization toward the COP26 Summit: the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Comac launched the #GoToGlasgow campaign to bring as many young people to Glasgow to demonstrate in front of the official summit scheduled in the city.

The Glasgow Summit is the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC is a treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, by stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol (with in effect from 1997) and the Paris Agreement (with in effect from 2016), are two important phases in the implementations of the measures of the UNFCCC, aimed at the climate change mitigation, adaptation, and its financing.

As the world has become more and more vulnerable to the drastic changes in the climatic conditions and its catastrophic effects, marked by frequent flash floods, cyclones, raging wildfires, extreme winter/summer conditions, droughts etc., progressive sections have pointed out that the major contributors to climate change are yet to make serious commitments to help slow down the process.

Friday, October 22, thousands of students and young people hit the streets across Belgium as part of the climate strike. Photo: Comac

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis; report by IPCC Working Group I — released in August this year, states that “there are chances for crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach”.

Friday, October 22, thousands of students and young people hit the streets across Belgium as part of the climate strike. Photo: Comac

Towards the mobilization on Friday, Comac had stated that “capitalism has let multinationals destroy the planet freely. The climate crisis is a systemic crisis, and resolving it will require a large-scale, planned and coordinated effort to completely stop using fossil fuels. To achieve this, we’re going to have to collectively decide what measures to take, and stop prioritizing the profits of a few. Measures will no longer be enough: we need a climate and social revolution and tackle the big polluters. Change the system, not the climate!”

“Youth will not sit idly by as Global warming is accelerating and intensifying, but there is still time to save the climate. According to the latest IPCC scientific report, only “immediate, rapid and large-scale action” can still stop the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” added Comac.

Friday, October 22, thousands of students and young people hit the streets across Belgium as part of the climate strike. Photo: Comac

In solidarity with the student/youth mobilization, the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) has stated that “the young people are starting to mobilize to demand ambitious measures for the climate. It’s actually time for that to change. The hard working class is the first victim of climate change, while the richest and multinationals get away with it. Let’s confront real global warming contributors. And instead of pseudo-ecological taxes that hit the people hard, let’s give social and ecological alternatives to people like free public transport.”

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