UNITED NATIONS – Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, the inspiration of the youth movement against climate change, and another three young activists denounced this Saturday in the United Nations, together with its Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the lack of any action being taken against climate change and asked for a world without toxic emissions.
As part of the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters, Thunberg, Argentina’s Bruno Rodriguez, Kenya’s Wanjuhi Njoroge, and Komal Karishma Kumar of the Fiji Islands, asked that the world’s leaders give an account of what they plan to do about this scourge and warned they will continue protesting in the streets as they did this Friday until something is done.
The four activists accompanied Guterres at the beginning of this meeting that precedes the Climate Action Summit next Monday, to which the top UN official has asked the world’s leaders to come with concrete, realistic plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next 10 years and 100 percent by 2050.
In a brief speech, Thunberg, who next Monday will address the world’s presidents and heads of state, said that yesterday’s protests requesting action against climate change “showed that we are united, and that we young people are unstoppable.”
This Friday, more than 4 million people, mostly youths, poured into the streets around the world to protest the climate emergency, according to protest organizers, who said that in New York they numbered more than 250,000.
The 16-year-old Swedish girl said that since she will speak this Monday at the Climate Action Summit, to be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others, she would prefer on this occasion to give up her time to her companions.
Bruno Rodriguez, 18, said “enough is enough. We don’t want fossil fuels anymore,” and that the world must “stop the criminal contaminant behavior of big corporations,” because 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Wanjuhi Njoroge, like Komal Karishma Kumar, insisted that the countries that have contributed least to the climate crisis are the ones suffering from it the most, though she noted that this isn’t the time to blame but to collaborate.
For her part, Kumar took aim at contaminating corporations saying “we demand action. Stop wasting time” and stop standing in the way to grab “short term profits.”
Guterres sat together with the young people on colorful chairs placed there for the occasion.
After the speeches by the four activists, Guterres said it had been pleasure to hear them, adding that the problem with world leaders is that they talk too much and don’t listen enough.
In his address, he expressed his support for the young activists and encouraged them to keep fighting: “I encourage you to keep your initiative. Keep your mobilization and more and more to hold my generation accountable,” Guterres said.
“My generation has largely failed until now to preserve both justice in the world and to preserve the planet,” he said.
Guterres also repeated the words of the young speakers to insist that the world’s poorest people and those least responsible for the climate crisis are the ones who suffer from it most, while launching a complaint against fossil fuels and specifically against the subsidies paid with taxpayers’ money to the coal and diesel industries, which, as he had said before, boost hurricanes, spread droughts, melt glaciers, bleach corals and destroy the world.
This Monday, world leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will share their specific plans, after hearing the address by Greta Thunberg, who will open the summit together with Guterres.