'We're running out of time' on climate change
Thousands of protesters hit the streets of Katowice to sound the alarm on climate change. They want world leaders meeting at the nearby climate conference to repeat the historic Paris agreement.
Time is running out
The protesters' symbol was a clock to signal to those meeting at the United Nations climate change conference (COP24) that time is running out if the world is to limit global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Negotiations at the COP have been tough, with disagreements on financing for developing countries and on how states should report their emissions cuts.
Sending up Bolsonaro
Some marchers made giant puppets, including of Brazil's president elect, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, to protest the leader's climate policies. Bolsonaro has threatened to follow US President Donald Trump and withdraw his country from the Paris climate agreement. Bolsonaro has also talked about loosening protections for the Amazon rainforest — the Earth's green lungs.
Air pollution woes
About seven million people worldwide die prematurely due to air pollution every year. Poland's air quality is particularly bad because of the country's dependence on coal for electricity and heating. Some protesters decorated pollution masks to make a statement about Poland's coal policy. During the COP, the country's president said there was no intention to phase out coal.
'Don't nuke the climate'
Some groups, like the International Atomic Energy Agency, are promoting nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. It would provide a stable and greenhouse gas-emission-free energy source, says the IAEA. A number of protesters turned up to advocate against nuclear, because there is no good way to deal with the radioactive waste it produces and because it is potentially unsafe, they say.
A sustainable Christmas
Sustaina Claus arrived at the climate march with his Christmas elves to preach the message of sustainability. The environmental activist says we need to stop overconsumption if we are to stop climate change and protect the planet's resources. Instead of buying mountains of gifts for your loved ones at Christmas, "you should give the gift of you."
Activists held at the border
NGOs said a number of environmental campaigners were refused entry at the Polish border or deported from the country, having been deemed a "threat" to national security. Climate Action Network, an umbrella group of climate groups, called the actions worrying. A spokeswoman for Poland's border guards said she could not say whether the refusals were connected to the COP, according to Reuters.
Cycling for the climate
Climate activist Lander Wantens cycled over 1,000 kilometers from Belgium to Katowice for the protest and to deliver a message to delegates to do more to combat climate change. He hopes that if the negotiators see "four guys from Belgium are crazy enough to bike to the climate summit in Poland in winter, maybe that's a signal that they have to work on an ambitious climate agreement."