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Climate change: Hundreds in Wales miss school for 'strike' protest

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Young climate change protesters in Monmouth have started demonstrating alongside those around the world

Young activists have said they are “willing to sacrifice” their education in order to get action on climate change.

Hundreds of pupils in Wales have left school to take part in the global “climate strike” day wanting “an end to fossil fuels and climate justice”.

Wales has declared a climate emergency and set ambitious low emissions targets but protesters want more action.

“We’re not going to stand for inaction any more,” said activist Beth Irving.

“If I had any other option I wouldn’t be – as some people have put it – skiving off school.

“Something has got our attention and people have sat up and listened to us because we have broken that status quo and are challenging the system.

“We’re willing to sacrifice our own education in order to get people to talk about it and take action and there’s something powerful about young people sacrificing their own education – and that’s why it has come through.

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Parents and grandparents join young activists at the climate change protest in Monmouth

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Protesters are gathering in Guildhall Square in Carmarthen

“I don’t think we would have the same effect if we weren’t going to school on Friday.”

Beth has joined the protest in Cardiff as Welsh activists join the UK Student Climate Network in one of 11 demonstrations across Wales today – including in places like Swansea, Wrexham and Brecon.

The protests in Wales started in the Gwynedd seaside town of Tywyn before spreading to Monmouth.

“We want to show the government and assembly that we aren’t going to stand for inaction on climate change any more,” Beth told BBC Radio Wales.

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Media captionClimate change: How 1.5C could change the world

“We want to see change happen and happen now. Wales’ declaration of a climate emergency is important – but it’s not enough.

“What we haven’t seen is action to combat that; the Welsh low-carbon plan was put in place before that declaration and hasn’t been adapted to show the severity of the crisis.”

Wales’ future generations commissioner agrees with the students and said the country is “failing to take the action at the scale or pace needed”.

“The impact of climate change is already evident in Wales with 23% of our coastline being eroded because of rising sea water as well as the risk of losing one in 14 of our wildlife species,” said Sophie Howe.

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Media caption“Our children have no future at all”

“Yet it is still our younger generations who are leading the debate and holding governments to account on their lack of action to combat climate change.”

Ms Howe said she supported the climate strike and young people’s “dedication to keeping the climate emergency firmly on top of the global agenda”.

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Grandparents are joining their grandchildren in the climate change demonstrations in Wales

Wales has had two climate change protests this year at the Valero oil refinery site in Pembrokeshire and in Cardiff city centre.

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