UN climate summit: ‘You’ve stolen my childhood,’ Swedish activist Greta Thunberg tells world leaders
The 16-year-old campaigner said politicians have betrayed her generation by failing to tackle greenhouse emissions.
Sixteen-year-old Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg on Monday accused world leaders of betraying her generation by failing to act on climate change. “How dare you?” she asked at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. “My message is that we’ll be watching you.”
Thunberg told world leaders that instead of addressing the climate summit, she should have been at school. The 16-year-old campaigner has taken a year off from her studies. “This is all wrong,” said Thunberg. “I shouldn’t be up here. You come to us young people for hope. How dare you?”
She accused the world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood with their hollow promises. “Yet I’m one of the lucky ones,” she added. “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Thunberg added: “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear [on climate change]. How dare you continue to look away?”
She said she was angry and sad. “...If you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil, and that I refuse to believe,” she said. About 60 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took part in the summit organised by UN Secretary General António Guterres.
She also criticised the climate summit where countries were only committing to do more. “There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today because these numbers are too uncomfortable, and you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is,” she said. “You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations, are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you!”
Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump mocked at Thunberg in a tweet: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Trump, a climate change denier who pulled his country out of the landmark 2015 deal to fight global warming, was seen in a video outside another UN meeting, with Thunberg glaring at him angrily. Trump did not appear to face her in the video.
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