Thousands of climate activists and anti G-20 campaigners marched through the streets of Rome on Saturday, protesting inaction by the world’s biggest economies on climate change.
Italy is hosting the Group of 20 – consisting of the top global economic powerhouses – this weekend ahead of the UN climate change conference next week.
With the leaders expected to discuss climate change and the COVID-19 recovery, protesters took to the streets to make their voices heard.
Activists belonging to Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and other groups said that world leaders are not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis.
Extinction Rebellion activists are asking to bring green-house gas emissions to zero, by 2025.
Several Italian labour unions and laid-off workers from Alitalia, Italy’s former national airline, and GKN automotive also took part in the protest.
“It’s useless to meet in Glasgow if there is no clear will to solve the problem,” said activist Giovanni Mori from Fridays for Future Italy.
“International cooperation is crucial, but if there is not will to act, it is useless to meet. The expectations for Glasgow so far are not good. I don’t see the will to solve the climate problem and treat it as an emergency,” he continued.
Viola Del Vescovo, an Extinction Rebellion protester, said “it says a lot the fact that 30 years of conferences on climate brought nothing, emissions are still increasing, the climate crisis is continuing, social injustice widened the gaps and a growing number of people are suffering.”
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi welcomed the G20 heads of state to Rome’s “La Nuvola” convention centre in the EUR neighbourhood, which was sealed off from the rest of the capital.
Italy hopes the G20 can secure key commitments from countries representing 80% of the global economy — and responsible for around the same amount of global carbon emissions — ahead of the UN climate conference.
Most of the heads of state and government who are in Rome will head to Glasgow for the climate conference as soon as the G20 is over.