As delegates within the COP26Conferencing hall in Glasgow heard promises new private-sector funding for climate change, protesters marched in the city on Wednesday in opposition to “greenwashing” — when companies claim to be protecting the environment while continuing to harm it.
More than 100 protesters, holding signs that read “Act now!” and “Stop Funding Fossil Fuels,” gathered outside a shopping mall to demand that companies take more substantial steps.
“For us, there’s very little hope,” said Akke Houtsoma, 20, an administrative worker who had traveled from the Netherlands to attend protests outside the climate conference. “I feel the most anxiety not about my future, but for the people right now who are suffering.”
The Wednesday climate conference was centered on how to finance a global shift towards cleaner energy sources. Even as a group of the world’s biggest investors, banks and insurers vowed to commit their more than $130 trillionProtesters were skeptical that climate goals would be achieved despite having assets.
“The promises coming out are quite good, but they are still just promises,” said Marilyn Spurr, 74, a retired high school teacher from Devon, England, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion, a British-based activist group. “If they step up to the mark, good for them, but so far we haven’t seen a lot of it.”
Activists argued that there should be stronger mechanisms to hold companies accountable for their promises, which many times never come to fruition. Of at least $1.1 trillion that private equity firms have invested in the energy sector since 2010According to data from Pitchbook (a company that tracks investments), most went towards fossil fuels. an analysis by the Private Equity Stakeholder ProjectThe nonprofit, which advocates for greater disclosure on private equity deals.
Protests scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Glasgow will draw tens to thousands. Fridays for Future, an international movement that has emerged from of, organizes a youth-led strike. Greta Thunberg’s solo strike in 2018 in Sweden, will see thousands march from Kelvingrove Park to George’s Square.