UNITED NATIONS, United States: Greta Thunberg was given a moment on the world stage after a year spent protesting on the streets. She did not disappoint by delivering a raw, emotive speech that accused leaders of betrayal and repeatedly asked “How dare you?”The Swedish teen has spoken only briefly at public events since the time she landed to the US in August.
On Monday’s Climate Action Summit, organized by UN chief Antonio Guterres to reinvigorate the Paris agreement, Thunberg was determined to make the most of the allotted time.
She started with “My message is that we’ll be watching you,” eliciting some laughter. However, it soon became clear that humor was not what she was going for. “This is all wrong,” Thunberg said, becoming visibly angry.“I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back to school on the other side of the ocean.”
Yet, you come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” the 16-year-old credited with re-energizing the global climate movement thundered.“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing.
“We are at the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
In her talks with leaders, she had been told that the youth were being heard and the urgency was understood. “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.”She reeled off a litany of damning facts and statistics to build up her argument.
She stresses that the popular goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 only gave the planet a 50 percent chance of avoiding a long term temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius, vital to avert catastrophe, and that “a 50 percent risk is simply not acceptable to us.”
“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,” she concluded. “But 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!”
Despite much pre-summit hype, the speech lit up Twitter and the truth of Thunberg’s words was carried out by the lack of major commitments that followed by the world’s biggest emitters.
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