Hundreds of thousands of students striking over the past year to protest against climate change has ‘achieved nothing’ because greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, Greta Thunberg told activists at UN climate talks in Madrid.
The teenage climate activist, whose solo protest in Sweden in 2017 led to a global movement, spoke at a press conference saying that although schoolchildren had been striking around the world, this ‘has not translated into action’ from governments.
Thousands of young people were expected to gather at the UN climate conference and in the streets of Madrid on Friday, December 6, to protest against this lack of actions – as officials worked on a draft text to clarify aspects of the Paris agreement.
In the four years since the agreement – which is a commitment from the UN nations to combat climate change by dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions – was signed, greenhouse gas emissions have actually risen by 4%.
On top of that, talks this year are not expected to produce new commitments on carbon from the world’s biggest emitters, with Greta warning the world can no longer afford continued inaction.
The climate activist said, as per The Guardian:
I’m just an activist and we need more activists. Some people are afraid to change – they try so desperately to silence us.
The 16-year-old expressed hope for the UN negotiations, but doubted whether governments had got the message, stating: ‘I sincerely hope… world leaders and people in power grasp the urgency of the climate crisis, because right now it does not seem that they are.’
Although young people would keep striking if necessary, Greta said they wanted to stop, but will only do so if governments made credible promises and showed a willingness to act.
We can’t go on like this; it is not sustainable that children skip school and we don’t want to continue – we would love some action from the people in power. People are suffering and dying today. We can’t wait any longer.
The planned march was scheduled to coincide with protests and youth climate strikes around the world, with Bernie Sanders and Jane Fonda among the politicians and celebrities intending to join in.
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Young people voiced their frustration at protests inside and outside the conference centre on the outskirts of Madrid, as well as conducting a sit-down protest in the conference centre.
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