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Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN Climate Action Summit sent shockwaves through the Twittersphere. Her candor, anger, and deep frustration summed up the reason that we’ve gotten to this point in terms of climate change quite simply: the fossil fuel industry has for 30 years–since the science became available–thwarted political action to significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions. While profits were chosen over people but we still have time to alter our course and change our fate. You can read the full transcript of her speech here or watch the video above but this excerpt was particularly poignant:
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
The Right Reacts: Regardless, the attacks on Greta followed quickly from the likes of Fox News commentators (and even the President in a tweet) who attempted to discredit her character. However, it should be noted that these attacks occur because, as Mat Hopewrote for DeSmog UK, a large subsection of the commentariat driving the abuse of Greta is part of an established network of radical free-marketeer lobby groups — a network that has firm ties to the fossil fuel industry and funders of climate science denial.
Why This Matters: Thunberg is right, she shouldn’t have to be the one addressing a room full of adults that incremental action will not solve the climate crisis. However, the impact that one teenager has been able to have on people around the world is truly remarkable. We should have been able to do this job without Greta, yet it’s evident that the world needs a leader to rally behind. Yet if you want to show her your gratitude, you have to push the issue of climate change in your own community and most importantly vote for candidates that are willing to do the same.
Go Deeper: Hear a youth perspective on climate action and read Natalia Uro-DeLeon’s essay on why she’s imploring leaders to lead on climate issues. Natalia is a student at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA.
Yesterday at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to achieve “carbon neutrality before 2060” with the aim of hitting peak emissions before 2030. China had choice words for the Trump administration and its complete lack of international leadership on climate change action. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang […]
The world’s richest one percent cause more than double the CO2 of the poorest 50% according to a new study from Oxfam. From 1990 to 2015, CO2 emissions rose by 60%; experts saw the wealthiest one percent’s emissions rise three times more than those of the poorest half during that period.
Why this matters: While the wealthiest indulge in luxuries that contribute more to climate change, a federal report found that the poor will be among the earliest victims of climate crises and will be impacted the most.
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