1031 GMT January 17, 2019
The United States, despite withdrawing from a landmark accord aimed at curbing climate change, is stonewalling vital UN talks over how to fund poorer nations as they battle against global warming, multiple sources told AFP on Saturday.
US President Donald Trump caused global outrage by announcing the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but the decision cannot formally take effect until least 2020 and Washington has vowed to take part in climate negotiations to protect its interests.
The "Rise for Climate" protest movement – which organized events in dozens of countries on Saturday – wanted governments to end their reliance on fossil fuels and transition fully into renewable energy.
Beginning in Australia, a tall ship moved through Sydney Harbor in front of the Opera House as activists on board held up protest signs.
Its billowing sails featured banners that read "Rise for Climate; Action with 350" – referring to environment advocacy group 350 which spearheaded the global protest.
Thai fishermen and laborers whose livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels also kicked off the international day of protests in Bangkok on Saturday, where key UN talks are attempting to breathe life into the Paris Agreement on climate change.
As global warming races ahead of efforts to contain it, the discussions are deadlocked over a number of contentious issues, with activists demanding immediate action to prevent irreparable damage to the planet.
In the Thai capital, some 200 protesters assembled in front of the UN regional headquarters, where delegates were discussing how to implement measures agreed by world powers under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The talks aim to create a draft legal framework for limiting global temperature rises that can be presented to ministers and heads of state at a final round of discussions in Poland in December.
The delegates have been meeting since Tuesday, but have made little progress, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.
"The negotiators are not taking any action," Ruchi Tripathi, head of climate justice at charity ActionAid, told AFP.
Dozens of laborers and fishermen from the Gulf of Thailand, whose livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels and coastal erosion caused by climate change, joined Saturday's protest.
Many brought examples of their produce, including crabs and shrimp, and held banners demanding that delegates take action.
In Manila, more than 800 people, including one dressed as a T-Rex holding a "Go Fossil Free" sign, marched through the streets protesting the country's heavy reliance on coal.
Along with Bangkok, the Philippine capital is projected to be among the world's hardest hit urban areas by climate change impacts.
"We are among the most vulnerable and we are among those still stuck in an energy system that is backwards," campaigner Chuck Baclavon told AFP, adding that the government is out of excuses.
Around 10,000 school students and their teachers in northern India tied red ribbons to trees in a call to end deforestation.
"We came out in support of this global initiative because it draws attention to a very urgent and important issue," said Red Tape Movement founder Prabhat Misra.
In a separate initiative, the New Delhi local government launched a drive to plant half a million trees around the Indian capital on Saturday.
AFP and Deutsche Welle contributed to the story.