Protesters in UK decry climate change after record heatwave
LONDON (AP) — Protesters took to the streets of London and the Scottish city of Glasgow on Saturday to demand faster action on climate change in the wake of record high temperatures that scorched the United Kingdom this week.
Activist groups including Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain led protesters in a sit-in in London’s Parliament Square to demand the Conservative government stop granting new licenses for oil production and gas, taxes big polluters and helps people install more energy-efficient heating in their homes.
“Tuesday’s extreme heat wave was a warning of what we will face when the climate collapses – thousands dead, homes destroyed by wildfires and emergency services stretched to breaking point” , said Indigo Rumbelow of Just Stop Oil. “We are so unprepared for the extreme heat and it will only get worse.”
Britain’s Met Office weather agency recorded 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in England on Tuesday, the highest temperature on record in a country ill-prepared for such extreme heat. UK summers are generally quite mild and few homes, schools or small businesses have air conditioning.
The heat wave paralyzed major rail networks, damaged airport runways and saw 15 fire departments across the country declare major incidents. London firefighters 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 sprawled 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 shortage.
“We have been sounding the alarm about the global climate emergency for years,” said Wolf Saanen, 39. “Now that she has arrived on our shores, will those with the power to change things finally listen?”
Some climate groups have warned they will stage more disruptive protests in the fall to bring Westminster – the seat of Parliament – to a standstill.
The groups also want the UK government to cut energy bills amid a cost-of-living crisis that is set to weigh more on households in the autumn when the weather cools.
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