Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate activist. She became known because of her Friday school strikes outside the Riksdag in Stockholm, Sweden under the slogan Skolstrejk för klimatet (School Strike for the climate). This Swedish 17-year-old has been named one of the world’s most influential teenagers by America’s Time Magazine. She has mobilised a worldwide movement of climate activists, called FridaysForFuture that brought 7.5 million young people to the streets in September 2019 to protest against political inaction on climate change.
Greta Thunberg was asked to address EU leaders at the European Union Parliament on Wednesday 4 March 2020 before the vote on the European Green Deal planned to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. WATCH THIS VIDEO of her address to the EU politicians.
This is an honest, urgent and informed delivery of the truth based on science. It is a reminder that we need to fundamentally rethink what it means to be human on this Earth. We need to review our priorities, health trumps the economy. There is no human wellbeing without healthy and thriving ecosystems, wildlife and wild habitats. If we continue not to treat this ongoing ecocide like the global crisis it is, it will become a life or death situation for humans, like a dangerous virus epidemic, and it will be too late.
The following is a transcript of Greta Thunberg’s speech to EU leaders
“My name is Greta Thunberg, I am a climate activist and a part of the Fridays for Future movement.
For over one and a half years we have been sacrificing our education to protest against your inaction. And in September over seven and a half million people all around the world took to the streets demanding you to unit behind the science in order to give us a safe future.
Then in November 2019 the European Parliament declared a climate and environment emergency. You said that the EU would lead against the existential threat of the climate crisis. This is wonderful news. When your children set off the fire alarm you went outside took a look and smelt the air. You stated that, yes, the house is actually burning. This was no false alarm. But, then you went back inside finished your dinner and watched your movie and went to bed without even calling the fire department. I’m sorry but this makes no sense at all. When your house is on fire you don’t wait a few more years to start putting it out. And yet this is what the commission are proposing today.
When the EU presents this climate law and net zero by 2050, you indirectly admit surrender, that you are giving up, giving up on the Paris agreement, giving up on your promises and giving up on doing everything you possibly can to ensure a safe future for your own children. Because this law is based on insufficient CO2 budgets that in reality gives us much, much less than a 50% chance of limiting average global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. And any climate law or policy that is not based on the current best available science and does not include the global equity, nor the annual emissions reductions needed starting now, will be completely insufficient of course.
Such law sends a strong signal that real sufficient action is taking place when in fact it is not. The hard truth is that neither the awareness nor the politics needed are anywhere in sight. We are still in a crisis that has never once been treated as a crisis. We do have lots of brilliant solutions. We have unprecedented wealth and financial assets. We have a lot of goodwill and countless people ready to do everything they can to help. What we do not have is awareness, leadership and, above all, time.
Our rapidly disappearing carbon budgets are the bottom line that sums up the current best available climate science, no matter how insufficient they may be as they do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, equity nor additional warming hidden by air pollution, they are still the most reliable roadmap we have to safeguard the future living conditions for humankind. But the contents of these budgets have never been taken into account in today’s politics. It has never been communicated in mainstream media. And yet here you are trying to create laws and policies once again ignoring it.
…..pretending that your plan or policy, disregarding the united science, will somehow solve the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced; pretending that a law that no one has to follow is a law; and pretending that you can be a climate leader and still go on building and subsidising new fossil fuel infrastructure; pretending that leaving out the global aspect of climate justice and equity will not risk breaking up the entire Paris agreement; pretending that empty words will make this emergency go away… this must come to an end.
No policy, plan or deal will be nearly enough as long as you continue to ignore CO2 budgets which apply for today. We don’t just need goals for 2030 or 2050, we above all need them for 2020 and for every following year to come. We need to start cutting our emission drastically at the source now. Your distant targets will mean nothing if high emissions continue like today’s business as usual, even for just a few more years, because that will use up our remaining carbon budget before you even have the chance to deliver on your 2030 or 2050 goals.
And since these negative emission technologies that this law fully relies on don’t exist today at a scale and perhaps never will, we simply need to change our behaviour, change our society and this is the uncomfortable truth that you cannot escape no matter how badly you want to or how hard you try. And the longer you keep running away from that truth the bigger your betrayal towards your own children.
The EU must lead the way. You have the moral obligation to do so and you have a unique economic and political opportunity to become a real climate leader. You yourself declared that we are in a climate and environment emergency. You said this was an existential threat, now you must prove that you mean it.
We will not be satisfied with anything less than a science based pathway which gives the best possible chance to safeguard the future living conditions for humanity and life on Earth as we know it. Anything else is surrender. This climate law is surrender…because Nature doesn’t bargain, and you cannot make deals with physics.
And we will not allow you to surrender on our future.