Teen ac­tivist calls out world lead­ers

The New Paper - - NEWS -

She calls on law­mak­ers to clean up ‘the mess they’ve made’ and act now to fight cli­mate change

KA­TOW­ICE, POLAND By the time 15-year-old Greta Thun­berg is 45, tens of mil­lions of peo­ple would likely have fled their homes after cli­mate change un­leashed a mael­strom of ex­treme weather, crop fail­ures and dev­as­tat­ing for­est fires.

Al­though it was her par­ent’s gen­er­a­tion and those be­fore who con­trib­uted to cli­mate change, it is bil­lions of young peo­ple like her who will bare its brunt.

And she has had enough.

“It’s us who are go­ing to live in this world. If I live to be 100 I will be alive in 2103 and that is a long time in the fu­ture,” she told AFP at the United Na­tions cli­mate talks.

“We will have to live with the mess that older gen­er­a­tions have made. We will have to clean it up for them. That is not fair.”

Greta has be­come a lead­ing name in the grow­ing cam­paign by youth across the planet, call­ing on law­mak­ers and cor­po­ra­tions to slash green­house gas emis­sions and avert run­away global warm­ing.

Of­fi­cials from nearly 200 na­tions are at a UN cli­mate sum­mit in Poland try­ing to agree on a rule­book that will make good on the pledges they made un­der the 2015 Paris agree­ment.

That treaty aims to limit global tem­per­a­ture rises to well be­low 2 deg C and be­neath the safer thresh­old of 1.5 deg C if pos­si­ble.

But with just 1 deg C of warm­ing so far, Earth is al­ready be­ing buf­feted by su­per­storms, droughts and flood­ing made worse by ris­ing seas.

And the World Bank has warned that if ac­tion is not taken by world gov­ern­ments, 143 mil­lion “cli­mate mi­grants” will be dis­placed by 2050.

Greta and her ac­tor fa­ther Svante are at the talks in the Pol­ish min­ing city of Ka­tow­ice to call on law­mak­ers to act now for the good of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

And they want every­one else to do their bit.

After learn­ing about the im­pacts of our car­bon emis­sions, Greta in­sisted that her fam­ily be­come ve­gan and give up fly­ing.

“For me none of this is sac­ri­fice, I don’t need those things,” she said.

“I un­der­stand that some peo­ple see it as sac­ri­fice. Peo­ple don’t want to stop fly­ing but it is just some­thing we have to do. There’s no other op­tion.”

Greta shot to fame back home after she be­gan a one-child strike out­side the Swedish Par­lia­ment in Au­gust, which she said she will con­tinue un­til the gov­ern­ment com­mits to ac­tion that will hon­our the prom­ises it made in Paris.

She said that de­spite the ir­refutable ev­i­dence of the dan­gers posed by cli­mate change, politi­cians still refuse to take the is­sue se­ri­ously.

“If they would have, the emis­sions would have gone down by now. They are still ris­ing,” said Greta.

“This is an ex­is­ten­tial threat we are fac­ing, and it is the big­gest cri­sis hu­man­ity has ever faced. We need to do some­thing now be­cause to­mor­row it might be too late.” – AFP

PHO­TOS: EPA

Greta Thun­berg protests out­side Swedish Par­lia­ment, call­ing for more to be done about cli­mate change.

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