Greta Thunberg led a huge show of strength for German climate activists on Friday but said none of the parties in Sunday’s election had adequate plans to tackle global warming.
The Swedish activist spoke to a crowd outside the German parliament building in Berlin, one of 470 cities where rallies were planned less than 48 hours before polls open.
Although many climate protesters are Green voters, this was not a rally for the party. Ms Thunberg, 18, did not give an endorsement.
“It is clearer than ever that no political party is doing close to enough,” she told her fellow Fridays for Future activists.
“Not even their proposed commitments are close to being in line with what would be needed to fulfil the Paris Agreement.
“Yes, we must vote, you most vote. But remember that only voting will not be enough. We must keep going into the streets and we must keep demanding our leaders to take real climate action.”
She said climate issues had not been taken seriously enough despite devastating summer floods that killed nearly 200 people.
Germany is the EU's richest country and its largest emitter of carbon dioxide – making it “objectively one of the biggest climate villains”, Ms Thunberg said. Emissions have fallen by about 41 per cent since reunification in 1990.
The three candidates for the chancellorship all talk about protecting the climate but disagree on how to achieve this.
Activists said there were 80,000 protesters in Hamburg and tens of thousands more in Berlin. “We’re flooding the government district before the sea level does,” they said.
Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrat candidate, tried to win over activists on Friday by praising their commitment to the cause.
“They have helped to ensure that climate change is at the top of the agenda,” he said. “It is right that they are on strike today.”
But activists turned down his olive branch, reminding voters that Mr Scholz is part of the current government as finance minister.
“Not to wreck the pleasant atmosphere – but we’re holding a strike against YOUR government, Olaf,” they responded on Twitter.