Protesters march as UN climate talks hit fossil fuel snag

Protesters march as UN climate talks hit fossil fuel snag
A climate activists with a colorful mask attends the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) (Alik Keplicz)

KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — Thousands of people from around the world marched Saturday through the southern Polish city that's hosting this year's U.N. climate talks, demanding that their governments take tougher action to curb global warming.

Protesters included farmers from Latin America, environmentalists from Asia, students from the United States and families from Europe, many of whom said climate change is already affecting their lives.

"Climate change is the thing that frightens me the most," said Michal Dabrowski from Warsaw, who brought his young daughter to the march. "I'm a father and it's kind of crucial that she will have a decent life."

Marchers gathered in one of Katowice's main squares before setting off for the conference center where delegates from almost 200 countries are haggling over the fine print of the 2015 Paris accord to fight climate change.

Some protesters were dressed as endangered orangutans while others wore breathing masks to highlight the air pollution in Katowice, which lies at the heart of Poland's coal mining region of Silesia.

Climate activists shout slogans as they stop in front of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference venue during the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Climate activists shout slogans as they stop in front of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference venue during the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) (AP)

A group wearing polar bear costumes was expelled from the march after suggesting that fossil fuels should be replaced by nuclear power, a technology that many environmentalists object to.

Environmental activists from 10 Asian countries pose with their banners ahead of a march in Katowice, Poland, calling for action to curb climate change on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans)
Environmental activists from 10 Asian countries pose with their banners ahead of a march in Katowice, Poland, calling for action to curb climate change on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans) (AP)

Chanting "Wake up! It's time to save our home!" and holding banners including one reading "Make the planet great again," protesters marched through Katowice accompanied by a heavy police presence that included officers on horseback.

Climate activists stop in front of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference venue during the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Climate activists stop in front of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference venue during the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) (AP)

The "March for Climate" passed largely peacefully, though three people were detained after a small scuffle with police, a Katowice police spokeswoman said.

Activist dressed in polar bear costumes call for nuclear energy to replace fossile fuels on the sidelines of a climate march in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans)
Activist dressed in polar bear costumes call for nuclear energy to replace fossile fuels on the sidelines of a climate march in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans) (AP)

Earlier Saturday, environmental groups had complained that some of their activists were being turned back at the Polish border or deported. One Belgian activist was allowed to enter the country after her country's ambassador intervened with Polish authorities.

Polish police on horseback watch as environmental activists gather in Katowice, Poland, for the start of a march demanding action to curb climate on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans)
Polish police on horseback watch as environmental activists gather in Katowice, Poland, for the start of a march demanding action to curb climate on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans) (AP)

Poland has introduced temporary random identity checks ahead of the U.N. climate conference, arguing they were needed for security.

Fog and clouds blanket seen over Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. The two-week U.N. climate meeting COP24 in Poland is intended to finalize details of the 2015 Paris accord on keeping average global temperature increases well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Fog and clouds blanket seen over Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. The two-week U.N. climate meeting COP24 in Poland is intended to finalize details of the 2015 Paris accord on keeping average global temperature increases well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (AP)

Inside the U.N. meeting, negotiators were concluding the first week of talks, which are focused on finalizing the Paris rulebook that determines how signatories to the 2015 deal record and report their greenhouse gas emissions.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, a man who scavenges for pieces of plastic for a living walks across a mountain of garbage at the dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As the world meets again to tackle the growing threat of climate change, how the continent tackles the growing solid waste produced by its more than 1.2 billion residents, many of them eager consumers in growing economies, is a major question in the fight against climate change. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, a man who scavenges for pieces of plastic for a living walks across a mountain of garbage at the dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As the world meets again to tackle the growing threat of climate change, how the continent tackles the growing solid waste produced by its more than 1.2 billion residents, many of them eager consumers in growing economies, is a major question in the fight against climate change. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) (AP)

In a recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said drastic action would be needed to achieve the Paris accord's most ambitious target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, a woman who scavenges recyclable materials from garbage for a living is seen through a cloud of smoke from burning trash, surrounded by Marabou storks who feed on the garbage, at the dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As the world meets again to tackle the growing threat of climate change, how the continent tackles the growing solid waste produced by its more than 1.2 billion residents, many of them eager consumers in growing economies, is a major question in the fight against climate change. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)ea
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, a woman who scavenges recyclable materials from garbage for a living is seen through a cloud of smoke from burning trash, surrounded by Marabou storks who feed on the garbage, at the dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As the world meets again to tackle the growing threat of climate change, how the continent tackles the growing solid waste produced by its more than 1.2 billion residents, many of them eager consumers in growing economies, is a major question in the fight against climate change. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)ea (AP)

Illustrating the sensitivity of this message for some governments, major oil exporting countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia objected to "welcoming" the IPCC's report. The issue is now one of several that will be left to government ministers, who begin arriving in Katowice on Monday to try to break remaining deadlocks.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, a young boy who scavenges for recyclable materials for a living throws a rock in the air to pass the time as he takes a break while sitting on top of a mountain of garbage at the dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As the world meets again to tackle the growing threat of climate change, how the continent tackles the growing solid waste produced by its more than 1.2 billion residents, many of them eager consumers in growing economies, is a major question in the fight against climate change. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, a young boy who scavenges for recyclable materials for a living throws a rock in the air to pass the time as he takes a break while sitting on top of a mountain of garbage at the dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As the world meets again to tackle the growing threat of climate change, how the continent tackles the growing solid waste produced by its more than 1.2 billion residents, many of them eager consumers in growing economies, is a major question in the fight against climate change. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) (AP)

Environmental groups want countries to send a strong signal that they're ready for more ambitious action in the years ahead, but some protesters Saturday felt that governments alone would not do enough to fight climate change.

Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) (AP)

"I've had enough of just sitting and looking at politicians deciding things for us. It's time for us to tell them what we want and to start a grassroots revolution," said Anna Zalikowska.

Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) (AP)

Similar marches for the environment took place in France on Saturday, but those were overshadowed by a larger "yellow vest" protest in Paris staged by people angry over fuel tax increases.

Michal Dabrowski, left, Anna Zalikowska attend their daughter attend a climate march in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans)
Michal Dabrowski, left, Anna Zalikowska attend their daughter attend a climate march in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Jordans) (AP)

The tax rise, now put on hold, was aimed at encouraging drivers to reduce their use of fossil fuels, a measure experts say is necessary to nudge consumers toward cleaner alternatives.

A woman holds a poster when participating in a march calling for an end to fossil fuel use during the two-week COP24 global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec.8, 2018. (AP Photos/Frank Jordans)
A woman holds a poster when participating in a march calling for an end to fossil fuel use during the two-week COP24 global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec.8, 2018. (AP Photos/Frank Jordans) (AP)

Resistance to the fuel tax is a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron, who sees himself as the guarantor of the Paris accord.

Protestors participates in a march calling for an end to fossil fuel use during the two-week COP24 global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec.8, 2018. (AP Photos/Frank Jordans)
Protestors participates in a march calling for an end to fossil fuel use during the two-week COP24 global climate talks in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday, Dec.8, 2018. (AP Photos/Frank Jordans) (AP)

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has announced he's pulling the United States out of the agreement, claimed Saturday that "people do not want to pay large sums of money ... in order to maybe protect the environment."

Economists say the price of curbing climate change is actually far lower than the eventual cost of coping with the catastrophic famines, storms and sea level rises that will happen with a warming climate.

The Climate Action Network, an umbrella group for environmental organizations, on Saturday gave its Fossil of the Day award to the United States after Washington's diplomats objected to linking human rights to climate change.

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