Greta Thunberg (born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish climate activist. She is known for her strike outside the Riksdag in Stockholm, Sweden under the slogan Skolstrejk för klimatet (School Strike for the climate). This Swedish 15-year-old has been named one of the world’s most influential teenagers by America’s Time Magazine in a new ranking.
Greta Thunberg speech to UN secretary general António Guterres at COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland on the 3rd December 2018
“Before I start I just want to thank you, Antonio Gueterres, for speaking so clearly about the climate crisis, it brings a lot of hope to people.
For twenty five years countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conference asking our nations’ leaders to stop the emissions, but clearly this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise.
So I will not ask them anything. Instead I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis. Instead I will ask the people around the world to realise that our political leaders have failed us, because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness.
Rich countries like Sweden need to start reducing emissions by at least fifteen per cent every year to stay below two degree (Celsius) warm target. You would think that the media and every one of our leaders would be talking about nothing else but they never even mention it. Nor does hardly anyone ever mention that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction with up to 200 species coming extinct every single day.
Furthermore does no one ever speak about the aspect of equity clearly stated in the Paris agreement which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries, like mine, need to come down to zero emission within six to twelve years with today’s emission speed.
How can we expect countries like India, Columbia or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, don’t care even a second about our actual commitments to the Paris agreement.
So when school started in August this year I sat myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate. Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can solve the climate crisis. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.
And why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future. What is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society.
Today we use one hundred million barrels of oil every single day. The politics to change that, the rules to keep that oil in the ground, we can no longer change the world by playing by the rules because the rules have to be changed.
So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care about our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge. And since our leaders are behaving like children we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.
“Even if there is no hope we have to do something. Not having hope is not an excuse for not doing anything. Of course we need hope but the one thing we need more than hope is action because once we start to act hope is everywhere.”