Even as governments agreed the ambitious goals of the 2015 global pact, it was clear citizens would have to mobilise to hold them to their promises.
The 16-year-old Swedish student, who sparked a global youth-based movement when she began a “climate strike” outside Sweden’s parliament last year, gave a typically blunt speech. She told MPs: “This ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind.”
Her arrival on Sunday coincides with a surge of concern about the climate. On Thursday the BBC screened a documentary about the crisis, narrated by David Attenborough. In recent days, the governor of the Bank of England, groups of scientists and members of the clergy have added their voices to the call for more ambitious cuts to emissions.
More than 60 demonstrations involving tens of thousands of young people are expected from Parliament Square in London to sites in Leeds, Manchester and Brighton. They follow the global strike on 15 March, when more than 1 million young people across the world took action to demand rapid action to tackle the climate crisis.