'Global Climate Strike' held at city hall

About 60 people converged on the steps of city hall Friday morning as part of a series of "Global Climate Strike" events around the world urging world leaders to act more aggressively to combat climate change.

Many were carrying signs bearing such lines as "Stop Denying the Earth is Dying," "This Is A Crisis, Not A #Trend," and "This Generation Will Not Wait."

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The protests were partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly "Fridays for Future" demonstrations for a year, urging world leaders to step up efforts against climate change.

In Prince George, they have been held on Friday afternoons at Mr. PG since May. Caitlyn McCarville said she has been participating when she can. She said climate change is "definitely not good" and that it's been shown that activism works in terms of raising the issue with government.

Concern about the petrochemical complex proposed for the BCR Industrial site as raised.

"The future is not about investing in two dying industries - oil and gas and carbon plastics," said Zoe Meletis when she spoke to the participants.

In an interview, Meletis said economic development should be contingent on environmental sustainability.

"The two can't be delinked and I think new petrochemical plants too close to residences in a diversifying economy does not fit with that vision," she said.

That the complex will rely on natural gas extracted by fracking was also raised as a concern.

A review by the B.C. Environmental Assessment office for an ethylene plant - one of three major components of the complex - is now underway.

Mackenzie Kerr, the Green party candidate in Cariboo-Prince George attended the event.

"This in an incredibly important cause and we all could probably agree that the government should wake up and take it seriously," she said while speaking to the group. "It's such a victory,"

Thunberg told The Associated Press in an interview in New York. "I would never have predicted or believed that this was going to happen, and so fast - and only in 15 months."

Thunberg is expected to participate in a U.N. Youth Climate Summit on Saturday and speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit with global leaders on Monday.

"They have this opportunity to do something, and they should take that," she said. "And otherwise, they should feel ashamed."

The world has warmed about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) since before the Industrial Revolution, and scientists have attributed more than 90 per cent of the increase to emissions of heat-trapping gases from fuel-burning and other human activity.

Scientists have warned that global warming will subject Earth to rising seas and more heat waves, droughts, powerful storms, flooding and other problems, and that some have already started manifesting themselves.

Climate change has made record-breaking heat temperature records twice as likely as record-setting cold temperatures over the past two decades in the contiguous U.S., according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. Nations around the world agreed at a 2015 summit in Paris to hold warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) more than pre-industrial-era levels by the end of this century.

- with files from The Canadian Press

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