COP26: 400 young people travel by train to Glasgow to demand action against climate change

A car named “climate reality”, another “transform society” and a third “stop talking and start acting.” This is the train that took some 400 young activists to Glasgow for the big climate conference COP26.

During the ten hours of travel from Amsterdam to the main city of Scotland, going by Brussels and London, these climate fighters, many of them teenagers, share a spirit of camaraderie, but also outrage and anger at the climate emergency.

Despite everything, many place little hope in this summit, which opened on Sunday and through which more than 100 world leaders and delegations from almost every country on the planet must parade until 12 November in the hope of achieving concrete commitments to limit the global warming.

“Policy makers will not achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, they will not limit the increase in temperature below + 1.5 ° C “, he tells AFP Johnny Dabrowski, an 18-year-old student from Warsaw, referring to one of the key commitments of the climate treaty signed in 2015.

He wants to become an environmental engineer to help change things and alleviate the inability of the world’s largest economies to reduce Emissions of greenhouse gases.

“We have to remove carbon from the atmosphere, it is a fact,” he says.

Also for the young woman Elin Wilhelmsson their commitment goes through work. A waste management engineer in the Swedish town of Aneby, she leads a small delegation of her country’s activists to COP26 and has the coveted “observer” status in the negotiations.

At 24 years old, this nature enthusiast promises to do her best as a watchdog.

The train trip, organized by the NGO Youth for Sustainable TravelIt is also an opportunity to highlight the virtues of the railroad, a means of transport with much lower carbon emissions than the airplane.

On average it emits ten times less CO2, defends during a stop in Brussels the general director of Eurostar, the railway company that connects the United Kingdom with the European continent through the tunnel under the English Channel, Jacques Dumas.

“Starting to panic”

Vinne Luyt, volunteer of Oxfam 22 years old and an International Relations student in the Belgian city of Ghent, came to express his support for the southern countries and regrets that many of their young people have not been able to attend COP26 because they have not yet been vaccinated against the Covid-19.

“Many young people would have come,” says this Belgian who made friends with activists from Colombia, Indonesia e India by videoconference.

“They are beginning to panic from the impact of the climate change in their daily life, “he says.

The current + 1 ° C warming relative to the pre-industrial era has already caused a number of devastating effects, such as spectacular fires in California or floods in Western Europe. But if nothing is done, the worst is yet to come, scientists warn.

On board the 20-car train there are also many journalists, including a new generation of reporters who have switched from heavy television cameras to smartphones.

“We are targeting young people,” the journalists explain. Lucas Wicky and Florian thomas, both in their twenties, who work for Brut, an online medium with editions in half a dozen countries, made up 100% of videos, some of which have more than 10 million views.

Halfway between London and Glasgow, the voice of an Avanti West Coast company employee echoes over the bustle of conversations: “My name is Fatin Abdullah and I’m very excited to be on this train, “she says with conviction.

Originally from Sudan, she participated three years ago in a meeting on climate change in Paris as a young delegate of an NGO and the experience left its mark on her.

He is now finishing a doctorate in mechanical engineering to find ways to store the heat generated by solar panels that can be used in developing countries, like his own, where many people lack electricity.

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