The 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg has delivered a sharp rebuke to world leaders, saying their inaction over global warming was failing future generations and pushing the world towards an era of “mass extinction.”
Ms Thunberg said the failure of politicians and lawmakers to tackle climate change meant “people are suffering, people are dying and entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are the beginning of a mass extinction.”
“How dare you” rely on the youth to rally support for climate activism and for hope, asked Ms Thunberg in an emotional speech delivered at the opening of the UN’s climate summit.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here, I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean,” she said. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
The young activist, who has sparked a world wide youth climate movement, told the leaders gathered for the summit that today’s youth were “watching” them and were beginning to understand their “betrayal.” She said the proposal to half global emissions by 2030 was insufficient, since it would not necessarily prevent an “irreversible chain reactions beyond human control” that would devastate the planet.
Ms Thunberg said she did not want to believe that world leaders fully understood the gravity of the situation but had chosen not to take action, because “then you would be evil, and that I refuse to believe.”
Without urgent action, said Ms Thunberg, future generations will suffer dire consequences. “If you choose to fail us, we will never forgive you.”