Thousands of people marched Saturday in Berlin to demand that Germany speed up its exit from coal-fired power plants, a day before the opening of a U.N. climate summit in neighboring Poland.
The protest in the German capital and a simultaneous march in the western city of Cologne were organized by environmental groups. Many demonstrators carried flags with slogans like "Stop Coal!" and "The future is coal-free." Some were dressed as burning trees or storm clouds to highlight the more frequent forest fires and fierce storms generated by a warmer climate.
German news agency dpa quoted police estimating the number of protesters in Berlin at about 5,000 and about double that in Cologne.
The summit opening Sunday in Katowice, Poland, seeks to build on the landmark 2015 Paris accord, when countries agreed to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the century's end.
German officials had hoped to present a blueprint for phasing out the country's use of coal over the coming decades, demonstrating the government's commitment to cutting Germany's greenhouse gas emissions, which have stalled in recent years.
But an expert committee postponed issuing its recommendations to the German government until after the U.N. conference. It has been under pressure from coal-producing states to consider in greater detail what can be done to create new jobs in coal mining regions.
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