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Environment

Climate change protests expected in Belgium ahead of COP24

media Climate change activists also gathered in Berlin, Germany on 1 December 2018 to protest against the use of coal. Photo: Christoph Soeder/DPA/AFP

Between 20,000 and 25,000 people are expected to protest against climate change in Brussels on Sunday coinciding with the start of the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland.

Demonstrators are expected to gather at 11:00 at the Belgian capital’s Gare du Nord, according to the Belga news agency. The march is expected to get underway at 13:00 and conclude at the Cinquantenaire park between 15:00 and 16:00. The demonstration notably includes separate routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

Video from the start of Sunday's protest in Brussels

"Despite the bad weather, people have turned out en masse and all generations are present," tweeted Charlotte Maréchal, a student in journalism attending the march.

Negotiating the "rulebook"

Representatives from some 200 countries are expected in the southern Polish city for the start of the climate change conference. Politicians face increasing pressure over the effects of global warming as scientists continue to make alarming warnings about the need to cut emissions.

One key absence will be the French Prime Minster, Edouard Philippe, who cancelled his trip to Poland following violent Yellow Vest protests over rising fuel prices in Paris on Saturday.

Three years ago in the French captial, the Paris Agreement was signed. Campaigners want to see the Poland conference reinvigorate the deal, which agreed on the need to stop the Earth’s temperature rising two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Katowice meeting aims to finalise the so-called rulebook for the Paris Agreement – the framework and rules that guide its implementation.

The outgoing president of COP23, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, has passed the relay to his Polish successor, Michal Kurtyka, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Environment.

Kurtyka has encouraged people to “Take Your Seat” at the conference asking them to make contributions through social media so that “the entire humanity” can participate.

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