You're failing us: Teen climate-activist delivers fiery speech at UN
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered an impassioned speech criticizing world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in the UN headquarters in New York on Monday. Fighting back tears, the 16-year-old activist had one question for world leaders, "How dare you?" as she called them out for failing to take drastic measures against climate change. Here are more details.
Addressing the summit, Thunberg said, "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean." She berated world leaders, saying, "You've stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words. Yet, I'm one of the lucky ones." Last year, Thunberg started a school strike outside the Swedish Parliament demanding stronger climate action.
Thunberg said, "People are suffering. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We're at 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 over 30 years, the science has been crystal clear."
Thunberg also criticized the current push to cut emissions by half in a decade, saying that it gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5°C. This, she added, comes at the risk of triggering irreversible chain reactions. She also pointed out that many of those figures fail to include feedback loops, tipping points, air pollution-masked additional warming, and aspects of justice and equity.
Thunberg said sternly, "How dare you continue to look away? How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years."
She said, "How dare you come here saying that you're doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight?" She added, "If you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you'd be evil, and that I refuse to believe." At the summit, Thunberg also encountered United States President Donald Trump, who made a brief appearance.
Thunberg was seen glaring at the US President as he passed by her. The "glare" has now gone viral. Shortly after her address, Thunberg, along with 15 other child activists, filed a legal complaint with the UN against five countries for violating their human rights.
The 16 children named Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey for not meeting their emissions goals, as agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The other activists include Alexandria Villaseñor, Ayakha Melithafa, Carl Smith, Carlos Manuel, Catarina Lorenzo, Chiara Sacchi, David Ackley III, Deborah Adegbile, Ellen-Anne, Iris Duquesne, Litokne Kabua, Raina Ivanova, Ranton Anjain, Raslen Jbeili, and Ridhima Pandey.