LONDON– Protesters took to the streets of London and the Scottish city of Glasgow on Saturday to call for faster action on climate change after record-breaking temperatures scorched Britain this week.
Activist groups including Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain led protesters in a sit-in in Parliament Square, London, to demand the Conservative Government stop issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration, taxing big polluters and helping the people help install more energy efficient heaters in their homes.
“Tuesday’s extreme heatwave was a warning of what we will see when the climate collapses — thousands of deaths, homes destroyed by wildfires and emergency services strained to the breaking point,” said Just Stop Oil’s Indigo Rumbelow. “We are so unprepared for Extreme Heat and it’s only going to get worse.”
Britain’s Met Office recorded 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in England on Tuesday, the highest temperature ever recorded in a country ill-prepared for such extreme heat. British summers are typically fairly temperate and few homes, schools or small businesses have air conditioning.
The heatwave paralyzed major train networks, damaged runways and saw 15 fire departments across the country reporting serious incidents. The London Fire Brigade said Tuesday was the busiest day for firefighters since World War II.
In Glasgow, climate activists staged a “die-in” protest to demand urgent action to tackle climate change. Protesters lay on the ground in one of the city’s busiest shopping districts, covered in white sheets with “causes of death” including heat stress, starvation and water shortages.
“We’ve been sounding the alarm about the global climate emergency for years,” said Wolf Saanen, 39. “Now that it’s arrived on our shores, will those with the power to change things finally listen?”
Some climate groups warned they will stage more destructive demonstrations in the autumn to bring Westminster – the seat of Parliament – to a standstill.
The groups also want the UK government to cut energy bills amid a mounting cost-of-living crisis expected to put further pressure on households in the autumn when the weather turns colder.
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