YOUTH climate activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate took to the stage at a rally in George Square and called out COP26 “greenwashing”.

The environmental campaigners took part in a march attended by thousands of young people from Kelvingrove Park to the city’s George Square.

Thunberg dubbed the climate summit held at the SEC campus a two-week celebration of “business as usual” while Nakate told attendees how Africa is bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

It is estimated that around 25,000 people joined the march in Glasgow on Friday afternoon.

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Thunberg told the rally: “This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global north greenwash festival.

“A two-week festival of business as usual and blah blah blah.

“The voices of future generations are drowning in their greenwash and empty words and promises. But the facts do not lie. And we know that our emperors are naked.”

The Swedish activist said “immediate, drastic, annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen” are needed to deal with climate change.

She added: “And the question we must now ask ourselves is, what is it that we are fighting for? Are we fighting to save ourselves and the living planet? Or are we fighting to maintain business as usual? Only to say that we can have both.

“But the harsh truth is that that is not possible in practice.

“The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with their fantasies, like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that.

The National:

Thunberg addressed thousands of youth in George Square

“All this while the world is literally burning, on fire, and while the people living on the front lines are still bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.”

Thunberg also said that leaders cannot ignore people power as she addressed the crowd. 

She said: “Out here, we speak the truth. The people of power are obviously scared of the truth. Yet no matter how hard they try, they cannot escape from it.

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“They cannot ignore the scientific consensus and above all, they cannot ignore us, the people, including their own children.

“They cannot ignore our screams as we reclaim our power. We are tired of their blah blah blah. Our leaders are not leading. This is what leadership looks like.”

Nakate, a climate activist from Uganda, told the rally: “Once again we are faced with another Cop event.

"How many more of these should they hold until they realise that their inactions are destroying the planet?

“Historically, Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions. And yet Africans are suffering some of the most brutal impacts fuelled by the climate crisis.

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Nakate told activists that Africa is suffering the consequences of climate change

“But while the African continent, while the global south, is on the front lines of the climate crisis, they’re not on the front pages of the world’s newspapers.”

Meanwhile, Brazilian activist Adri Maffioletti accused her country’s president of being a liar as she addressed climate protesters.

She said: “Our president, Jair Bolsonaro, is not here. Because he doesn’t have the capacity to him. All of his lies.

“Because he’s lying all the time – he’s lying about Brazilian people, he’s lying about … preservation of our forest. Liar, liar, our forests are on fire.”

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She added: “We are in an emergency. Our country is collapsing.”

And, Mikaela Loach, of the Stop Cambo campaign, told the climate rally that the UK Government is propping up “violent fossil fuel companies” with public subsidies.

She criticised the Government over the Cambo North Sea oil field and urged activists to be “audacious” in their demands.

She added: “I will be taking the UK Government to court over the North Sea oil and gas subsidies I mentioned before.

“We will hold them accountable and with the support from all of you … we will end public payments for big polluters.

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Thousands of young people marched from Kelvingrove park to George Square

“We will win because the power is with the people, the power is with all of us.”

We previously told how youth activists handed over a Global Youth Statement to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and COP26 President Alok Sharma on Friday as the COP26 conference focussed on youth and empowerment.

The statement called for action on a variety of issues ranging from agriculture and finance to energy and inclusion of underrepresented communities.

And, Sturgeon pledged to work with the Scottish Youth Parliament to put young people “centre stage” in the fight against the climate crisis.