- Millions of people are skipping school and work around the world to protest climate change.
- They are demanding “an end to the age of fossil fuels.”
- Climate activist Greta Thunberg is one of thousands participating in the New York City march.
- Thousands joined in marches in New York City, Chicago, Denver and more cities across the country.
Millions of people around the world are walking out of their schools and workplaces Friday to demand urgent action on climate change. The global climate strikes, which are taking place in more than 150 countries, were scheduled ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Action Summit on September 23.
The protests have been organized by young people around the world who are part of the “Fridays for Future” campaign, which has seen students walk out of their schools on Fridays to demand their political leaders take urgent action to address climate change.
“We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart,” organizers say.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg is participating in the protests in New York City, where 1.1 million students have been given permission to skip school to join in. She tweeted from the march that “New York City is looking huge! Lower Manhattan is absolutely packed with people.”
Follow live updates below.
Thousands join Portland march
Thousands of students rallied outside Portland City Hall and made demands of Mayor Ted Wheeler, CBS Portland affiliate KOIN reports. They also called for an end to the age of fossil fuels.
The rally began at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Protesters then marched to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for a climate conference.
Portland police said the demonstration Friday was permitted to march in the street starting at around 11:30 a.m. The march route goes from City Hall at Southeast 4th Avenue and Southwest Madison Street and across the Hawthorn Bridge.
Protesters held signs saying things like “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?” and “There’s no planet B.”
School district officials said they couldn’t be more proud.
“We believe this action by our students is a clear example of learning and advocacy we hope for in all our students. The subject matter aligns with both our district policies and core curriculum,” Portland public schools wrote in a letter to parents.
Thunberg says millions attended early marches
Greta Thunberg tweeted Friday saying at least 3 million people attended early protests across the globe, and that was before counting North and South America. She is expected to speak at a rally in New York City on Friday.
Demonstrators in lower Manhattan held signs that read “climate change is real”; “there is no Planet B”: and “if you did your job, we would be in school.”
Manhattan borough president Gale Brewster tweeted video showing protesters filling the streets from Foley Square to Centre Street and Chambers Street and across Broadway.
Brewster is one of a number of local New York City elected officials who were attending the strike, which took place outside City Hall. New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson tweeted he had “never seen so many people before. So inspired by these young people! There are people as far as you can see!”
Thousands join in near Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office
In San Francisco, thousands rallied near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at the Federal Building at Seventh and Market streets. Protesters took off marching down Market Street at about 10:30 a.m. chanting, “climate change has got to go” and “climate justice now,” CBS San Francisco reports.
They marched to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office at 1 Post Street and they plan to return to the Federal Building for a rally. Traffic and Muni service was blocked along a large segment of Market Street.
Organizers for the San Francisco action said that they are calling on Pelosi and Feinstein to back the Green New Deal, an ambitious climate action plan introduced by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez of New York.
They are also calling on corporations like Bank of America, Amazon and PG&E to divest from the fossil fuel industry and improve their own reliance on renewable energy sources.
Many students from Oakland schools were attending the rally on field trips, district spokesperson John Sasaki said.
Students are also expected to walk out of the University of California at Berkeley. As of about 11 a.m. PT, they were gathering at Sproul Plaza.
Students participating said that dire forecasts of rising global temperatures made them fearful of the consequences if there is not immediate action.
“I’m scared for our future, if we even have one,” said Otto, a 13-year-old student from San Francisco.
Thousands join Chicago strike
Thousands of people joined the strike in downtown Chicago, CBS Chicago reported. Protesters began gathering Friday morning at Grant Park and the plan is to march to Federal Plaza.
The Illinois Chapter of the Youth Climate Strike organized the protest. Speakers started at 12 p.m. CT, with the group calling on Governor J.B. Pritzker to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The bill aims to put the state on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050.
New York City students won’t be punished for leaving school
The New York City Department of Education said that students who had parents’ approval would not get in trouble for attending. Younger students can only leave school with a parent and teachers are barred from atending.
“We applaud our students when they raise their voices in a safe and respectful manner on issues that matter to them. Young people around the world are joining the #ClimateStrike this week–showing that student action will lead us forward,” the New York City Department of Education tweeted on September 12.
There are 1.1. million students in New York City’s public school system, the largest in the country.
Tens of thousands are expected at the downtown rally, and 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg is expected to address the crowd.
Germany agrees $60 billion climate policy package
The German government announced a $60 billion package of measures to address climate change on Friday as protesters marched across the country to demand urgent action.
“We believe that we can achieve the goals and that we’ve truly laid the foundations for this,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
The country aims to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
Despite the environment being one of the most important issues to German voters, Germany’s environmental protection has lagged behind other countries in Europe in recent years, and it’s on course to miss its emissions targets for 2020 by a wide margin, the Associated Press reports.
Kabul climate protesters march despite violence
Approximately 100 climate change protesters marched through the Afghan capital city of Kabul on Friday, following an armed personnel carrier and surrounded by soldiers with guns to protect them, the Associated Press reports.
Afghanistan has been declared the most dangerous country in the world by the Institute for Economics and Peace.
“We know war can kill a group of people,” one of the organizers, Fardeen Barakzai, said. “The problem in Afghanistan is our leaders are fighting for power, but the real power is in nature.”
Thousands of protesters turn out in London
Thousands of protesters have turned out in London, CBS News’ Imtiaz Tyab reports, as climate strikes take place across the United Kingdom.
Demonstrators are gathered outside the Houses of Parliament.
Weather experts say climate change is making Britain more rainy: For the past nine years, winters have been 5% wetter on average than they were between 1981 and 2010, according to BBC News.
Germany inches toward new climate policy
Following all-night talks in Berlin, the German government came closer to agreeing new measures for tackling climate change on Friday, local media reported, as protesters took to the streets to demand action.
How Europe’s biggest economy decides to tackle greenhouse gas emissions is being closely watched by other nations.
The environment is a major issue for German voters, and students have been holding large weekly protests, inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel planned to present details of the plan later on Friday.
Low turnout in Nigeria’s largest city
The turnout for climate strike protests in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, is low, BBC News reports. Approximately 30 people were in the streets.
Because it’s on the coast, Lagos will be affected by rising sea levels. More people were protesting in Abuja, however, where hundreds gathered.
“I want to breathe clean”
New Delhi in India is one of the world’s most polluted cities, and dozens of climate protesters gathered outside the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on Friday as part of the worldwide climate strikes.
“I want to breathe clean,” demonstrators shouted, according The Associated Press. Some carried signs with slogans like: “There is no Earth B.”
An estimated 100,000 children under 5 are killed by air pollution in India every year.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is dying
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, but half of its coral has died.
Scientists say warming waters are what pose the greatest threat to the system, last year causing a “mass bleaching event” that “cooked” it, BBC News reports. And coral is struggling to regrow.
The United Nations is considering adding the reef to its list of endangered sites.
“We are not sinking, we are fighting”
Thousands of protesters in Asia and the Pacific kicked off Friday’s global climate strike, which is expected to be the largest climate change protest in history.
In Australia, an estimated 300,000 people took to the streets. Events also took place on the low-lying islands of Vanuatu and Kiribati, which are facing disaster as sea levels rise.
“We are not sinking, we are fighting,” children in Kiribati chanted.
“There are a lot of people here who can feel the effects of climate change already, for example with typhoons,” one 23-year-old protester in the Philippines told French news agency AFP. Experts say increasingly violent storms and rising sea levels are already having an impact on the island nation.
Businesses supporting the climate strikes
Some businesses are letting workers take the day off to participate in the strikes, while others are closing outright, CBS News MoneyWatch reporter Irina Ivanova reports. More than 7,000 companies have pledged to draw attention to the protests by either donating ad space or putting banners on their sites.
CBS News put together a list of the businesses that are closing here.