Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg on Wednesday accused political and business leaders of vainly seeking to burnish their own personal image with meaningless stunts rather than taking serious action against “climate change” at the United Nations COP25 summit.
The teenager spoke just hours after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called her a “brat.”
“It seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition,” the 16-year-old Swede told the meeting in Madrid, drawing sustained applause from an adoring audience.
“I still believe the biggest danger is not inaction, the real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” she added.
Thunberg said many pledges to balance out emissions in this way did not include the impact of shipping, aviation and international trade, and called for quicker action on a global scale.
“Zero in 2050 means nothing if high emission continues even for a few years,” said Thunberg, who has become a symbol of youthful condemnation against older generations and the political classes she accuses of foot-dragging over environmental issues.
“To stay below 1.5 degrees we need to keep the carbon in the ground.”
It was fantastic to see my friend and one of my heroes @GretaThunberg last week and go on a bike ride around Santa Monica together and I was so pumped to introduce her to my daughter Christina. Keep inspiring, Greta! pic.twitter.com/3Q6ZuInJHY
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) November 4, 2019
Earlier this week Thunberg said she was tiring of all the media attention her “climate work” has attracted, saying she would rather be left alone and leave the stage to others.
So far this year she has twice sailed across the Atlantic to draw attention to the state of the planet’s water resources, been chauffeur driven in an electric car from California to Canada to boost renewable resources in the motor industry and taken a cycling tour with Hollywood actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Thunberg also spoke at the United Nations, spent time with former U.S. President Barack Obama, received the keys to the city of Montreal and drove a Tesla electric car lent to her by Schwarzenegger.
Along the way Tesla CEO Elon Musk praised Thunberg for having “better reasoning & more heart than the vast majority of political leaders.”
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however.
In October she threatened to quit Facebook if the social media platform refused to silence her critics.
“I am, like many others, questioning whether I should keep using Facebook or not,” Thunberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Allowing hate speech, the lack of fact-checking and, of course, the issues of interfering with democracy… are among many, many other things that are very upsetting.”
“The constant lies and conspiracy theories about me and countless others, of course, result in hate, death threats and ultimately violence. This could easily be stopped if Facebook wanted to. I find the lack of taking responsibility very disturbing,” she added.