Greta Thunberg at UN Summit
Greta Thunberg joins climate change activists filing complaint at UN summit against carbon-polluting countries
Posted on 25.09.2019
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has captured the world’s attention in a fierce and passionate speech at the United Nations headquarters, accusing world leaders of failing to act on climate change.
The Swedish campaigner’s brief address electrified the start of the Climate Action Summit in New York.
The UN event was aimed at mobilising government and business to break international paralysis over carbon emissions, which hit record highs last year despite decades of warnings from scientists.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you,” said the 16-year-old, her voice trembling with anger at times.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”
- Greta Thunberg told the UN summit that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about were “not good enough”
- The teenage activist told world leaders that her generation would “never forgive” them for inaction on climate change
- She stared down US President Donald Trump when they crossed paths at the UN headquarters
Ms Thunberg told the UN that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only gave the world a 50 per cent chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4 degrees Celsius from the current level, which would meet the global goal of 1.5C — the benchmark temperature rise laid out by the 2015 Paris Agreement that will limit the impact of warming on world weather systems.
Those odds were not good enough, she said.
“We will not let you get away with this,” Ms Thunberg said.
‘How dare you?’
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, 16, gave an angry and emotional speech to hundreds of world leaders at the United Nations in New York City on Monday September 23rd, telling them their empty words and lack of action are a disgrace. “How dare you,” she thundered to wide applause.
Here is transcript of her speech:
My message is that we’ll be watching you?
This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. 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 money, and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.
The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees (Celsius) and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.
Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.
To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.
How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just “business as usual” and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than eight and a half years.
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.
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.
We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.
“The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
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