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Germany braces for 500 climate demonstrations as part of global green protest

Jill Petzinger
·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Young demonstrators hold up their posters and make soap bubbles as they take part in a "Fridays for Future" protest for climate action on August 16, 2019 in Berlin. (Photo by Monika Skolimowska / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT        (Photo credit should read MONIKA SKOLIMOWSKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Young demonstrators take part in a "Fridays for Future" protest for climate action on August 16, 2019 in Berlin. Credit: Monika Skolimowska/AFP/Getty Images.

The student-led “Fridays for Future” environmental movement will get some backup on Friday around the world, as adults take to the streets to demand more climate action to tackle climate change by their governments.

The Global Climate Strike demos will take place in more than 2,000 cities in over 150 countries on 20 September.

In Germany alone, more than 500 demonstrations have been registered for tomorrow — the same day that the German government has promised to unveil its €40 billion investment strategy to hit the country’s 2030 CO2-reduction goals.

“Fridays for Future” was started by Swedish 16-year old Greta Thunberg in August.

Thousands of students have protested every Friday since then, demanding politicians take action to hit the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and preserve the planet for the future generations.

Thunberg will be leading the climate-action demo in New York, ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September.

READ MORE: Germany set to spend €40bn in next four years to combat climate change

In Berlin, more than 10,000 protesters are expected to congregate at the Brandenburg Gate and outside chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in central Berlin, demanding climate action, including a shift away from fossil fuel-powered cars, and a faster exit from coal mining. Traffic blockades are also planned for the afternoon.

Verdi, one of Germany’s most powerful trade unions, is backing the strike, calling on its members to attend.

“Climate change must be tackled much more energetically than before. It threatens humanity as a whole,” Frank Bsirske from Verdi said in a statement. "That's why Verdi calls on everyone that can to be part of the action on September 20.”

Greenpeace, WWF, Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World), the German cultural council, the Munich Environmental Institute are some of the 350 groups involved.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist who has inspired mass youth protests, joins other young climate activists for a climate strike demonstration outside the White House on Friday, September 13, 2019, in Washington, DC.  The group of youth leaders rally to demand action from political leaders to address the climate crisis.   (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist, joins other young climate activists for a climate strike demonstration in Washington, DC. Photo: Getty Images

Antje von Broock, deputy managing director of the German Environment and Nature Conservation NGO, said the government “can and must decide on an effective climate protection law.”

While companies are not required to let their workers off, many are allowing their staff time off to attend.

The Berlin Senate recommended that core working hours should be suspended and people should make up the strike absence earlier or later in the day.

Flixbus, the hugely successful German bus startup, is offering passengers refunds for their bus rides to the demo—albeit in diesel-powered buses— and allowing their own employees the day off to attend. Flixbus, which also operates trains, says it plans to be carbon-neutral by 2030.