Students across a warming globe pleaded for their lives, future and planet on Friday and yesterday, demanding tough action on climate change.

From the South Pacific to the edge of the Arctic Circle, angry students in more than 100 countries walked out of classes to protest what they see as the failures by their Governments.

Many more than 150,000 students and adults who were mobilised by word of mouth and social media protested in Europe, according to police estimates. But the initial turnout in the United States did not look quite as high.

Hundreds of schoolchildren take part in a climate protest in Hong Kong. Photo / AP
Hundreds of schoolchildren take part in a climate protest in Hong Kong. Photo / AP

Thousands of students protested on Friday across New Zealand.

Advertisement

"Borders, languages and religions do not separate us," 8-year-old Havana Chapman-Edwards, who calls herself the tiny diplomat, told hundreds of protesters at the US Capitol in Washington.

"Today we are telling the truth and we do not take no for an answer."

The co-ordinated "school strikes" were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish Parliament last year.

Students in Cape Town, South Africa take part in protest. Photo / AP
Students in Cape Town, South Africa take part in protest. Photo / AP

Since then, the weekly protests have snowballed from a handful of cities to hundreds, fuelled by dramatic headlines about the impact of climate change during the students' lifetime.

In 2015, world leaders agreed in Paris to a goal of keeping the Earth's global temperature rise by the end of the century to well below 2C compared with pre-industrial times.

Thousands of students demonstrate during a
Thousands of students demonstrate during a "Climate strike" protest in Zurich. Photo / AP

Yet the world has already warmed by 1C since then and is on track for an increase of 4C, which experts say would have far-reaching consequences for life on the planet.

Thunberg, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, said in Stockholm that the world faces an "existential crisis, the biggest crisis humanity ever has faced and still it has been ignored for decades".

- AP