YOUNG people marched through Glasgow chanting “f*** the Tories” and slamming Rich List PM Rishi Sunak as they marked a year since the first anniversary of the COP26 summit in the city.

The demonstrators took aim at the UK Government and chanted: “Rishi is a billionaire, people die he doesn’t care, just as long as he has got, petrol for his super yacht.”

Sunak and his wife appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List this year - with a combined net worth of around £730 million.

Around 300 activists staged a climate strike in the city to highlight the “failure” of last year's COP26 event.

The demonstration, organised by Fridays For Future Scotland, saw participants march through the city centre from Kelvin Way to George Square, mirroring the route of last year's huge protest.

Adam Ballard, 16, one of the organisers behind Friday’s demonstration, said: “The climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis have the same root: the refusal to move away from fossil fuels.

The National: Demonstrators take part in the Fridays for Future Scotland march through GlasgowDemonstrators take part in the Fridays for Future Scotland march through Glasgow (Image: PA)

“There is no oil shortage; there is a corrupt system that prioritises profit over people.

“While ordinary people are forced to choose between heating and eating, the people in power and fossil fuel chief executives continue to make unimaginable profits.”

Anger over lack of action on fossil fuels

The march finished in George Square where a number of speakers took aim at the lack of action since COP26, where notably commitments to stop exploration for and production of more fossil fuels were watered down in the summit's final agreement - despite scientists and experts' warnings that this was needed to stop global warming going above 1.5C. 

The Tory UK government has recently opened up a new licensing round for the North Sea, much to the fury of environmental campaigners. 

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Juliet, a volunteer from the Stop Rosebank campaign, told the crowd: “Despite very clear warnings that we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground the Tories want to give out over 100 licenses to extract oil and gas in the North Sea.

“But collectively, we can stop these fields going ahead. Last year we fought Shell to pull out of the Cambo oil fields. This year the Government wants to approve an even bigger oil fields rows ban, but we aren't going to let them.”

Rosebank, off the west coast of Shetland, is owned by Equinor, Suncor, and Siccar Point, who also had a stake in Cambo, and would be one of the biggest offshore oil and gas fields in the UK. 

Leah Duffy, 15, from Glasgow, one of FFF's organisers, said that activsts were angry that they were "being ignored".

She added: "We’ve come to march a year since COP26 was in Glasgow, we’ve been shown that COPs don’t work.

The National: Youth campaigners started their march in the west end of GlasgowYouth campaigners started their march in the west end of Glasgow (Image: NQ Staff)

"There’s been 26 of them, there’s about to be 27, people’s voices aren’t being heard, it’s not good. We will be heard because we are still angry, we haven’t given up and we’re still here one year later."

Saoi O’Connor, 19, who is heading to Egypt for COP27, said that the most important thing she can bring is the "Glaswegian spirit of coming together".

Campaigners who had traveled from the Global South and other parts of the world told her they enjoyed how "welcoming and vibrant the city was, and how invested its people were in resisting alongside that". 

Sunak snubs COP27

The protest came as it emerged that Sunak would not be attending the COP27 summit in Egypt next month, despite the UK hosting the international climate conference last year.

On Friday, Sunak denied that his absence at COP27 is a failure of leadership, arguing it is “right” for him to focus on economic challenges at home.

He said he is “really proud” of the UK’s record on tackling climate change, particularly with regard to Cop – citing the summit in Glasgow last year.

Put to him that Labour has said his non-attendance in Egypt is a “massive failure of leadership”, he said: “No. The leadership that we have shown on the climate is unmatched almost along the world.”

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Speaking during a visit to a hospital in south London, he added: “It’s important to me that as Prime Minister we leave behind an environment that is better for our children and grandchildren. I’m very passionate about that. I’m very personally committed to it.

“I just think, at the moment, it’s right that I’m also focusing on the depressing domestic challenges we have with the economy. I think that’s what people watching would reasonably expect me to be doing as well.”

The goal of COP26 was to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5C compared with levels before the Industrial Revolution.

Reports say this is the threshold beyond which some scientists have said the dangers of global warming grow.

This week, a United Nations report showed pledges by countries to cut greenhouse gases will see the world warming by around 2.5C – well above agreed targets to limit dangerous climate change.

UN climate chief Simon Stiell warned that while there has been some progress this year, countries were “still nowhere near the scale and pace of emissions reductions” needed to limit temperature rises to 1.5C over this century.