My generation won’t give up without a fight: activist Greta Thunberg
A year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house was on fire. I said I wanted you to panic.
I have been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But do not worry. Its good. Believe me, I have already done it and I assure you that it does not lead to anything.
And for the record, when we kids tell you to panic, we don’t tell you to go on like before.
We are not telling you to rely on technologies that do not even exist today on a large scale and that science has shown may never exist.
We’re not telling you to keep talking about achieving “net zero emissions” or “carbon neutrality” by cheating and playing with the numbers.
We are not telling you to “offset your emissions” by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being cut down at an infinitely higher rate. Student.
Planting trees is good, of course, but it is far from sufficient, and it cannot replace real attenuation or rewilding of nature.
Let’s be clear. We don’t need a “low carbon economy”. We don’t need to “cut emissions”. Our broadcasts must stop. And until we have the technologies that on a large scale can reduce our emissions to less, we have to forget about net zero – we need true zero.
Because the distant targets of net zero emissions will mean absolutely nothing if we simply continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget – which applies for today, not for distant future dates. If the high emissions continue as they do now, even for a few years, this remaining budget will soon be completely exhausted.
The fact that the United States is leaving the Paris Agreement seems to shock and worry everyone, and it should. But the fact that we are all on the verge of breaking the commitments you made in the Paris Agreement does not seem to bother those in power in the slightest.
Any plan or policy on your part that does not include sweeping emission reductions at source from today is totally insufficient to meet the 1.5 degree or well below 2 degree commitments of the Accord. from Paris.
And again, it’s not about right or left. We don’t give a damn about your party politics.
From a sustainability standpoint, the right, left as well as the center have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to face the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, this world is on fire right now.
You say kids shouldn’t worry. You say, “Just leave it to us. We will solve this problem, we promise we will not let you down.
And then nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises that make it seem like enough action is being taken.
Not all solutions are obviously available in today’s societies. We also do not have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become available to start drastically reducing our emissions.
So of course, the transition is not going to be easy. It’ll be hard. And unless we start facing this now together, with all the cards on the table, we won’t be able to resolve this in time.
In the days leading up to the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, I joined a group of climate activists demanding that you, the world’s most influential economic and political leaders, start taking the necessary action. We demand that at this year’s World Economic Forum, participants from all businesses, banks, institutions and governments:
Immediately cease all investments in the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels.
Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies.
And immediately and completely withdraw from fossil fuels.
We don’t want these things to be done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want them to be done now.
It may seem like we are asking a lot. And you will of course say that we are naive. But this is only the minimum effort needed to initiate a rapid and sustainable transition.
So either you do that or you will have to explain to your kids why you are dropping the 1.5 degree goal.
Give up without even trying.
Well, I’m here to tell you that unlike you, my generation won’t give up without a fight.
The facts are clear, but they are still too uncomfortable for you to discuss. You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up. But people won’t give up. It is you who give up.
Last week I met coal miners in Poland who lost their jobs because their mine was closed. And even they had not given up. On the contrary, they seem to understand the fact that we need to change more than you.
I wonder, what is the reason why you are going to tell your children that they have failed and leave them facing a climate chaos that you have knowingly caused them? The 1.5 degree goal? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to give up the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?
Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames hour by hour. You are still told to panic, and pretend you love your children above all else.
Speech by climate change activist Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 21