Agence France-PresseJuly 05, 2021 11:57:29 am
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg launched a new volley on Thursday against the “role play” of political and economic leaders on the climate crisis, accusing them of using it as a business opportunity.
Appearing via video link at the Austrian World Summit on Climate Policy hosted by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, he described the reaction of those in power to the wave of climate activism.
“Over time, the public pressure got too much. So he started acting,” Thunberg said. “But act as in a role play. Play politics, play with words, play with our future.”
Thunberg, 18, scoffed at rich nations’ climate commitments as “grossly inadequate” in the face of “more and more extreme weather events … sweeping around us.”
This week, a heat wave in western Canada and the northwestern United States broke temperature records and has been linked to dozens of excess deaths.
“Let’s be clear: what you’re doing is not about climate action or responding to an emergency. It never was. It’s about communication tactics disguised as politics.”
– Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) July 2, 2021
Thunberg said the net zero emissions targets announced by major economies “could be a great start, if they weren’t filled with gaps and gaps” like “leaving out emissions from imported goods, international aviation and shipping.”
In addition, they are based on “grassroots manipulation” and the use of unproven technology, according to the activist, who rose to fame by organizing a series of school climate strikes that inspired a global movement.
“The climate crisis is today, at best, treated only as a business opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses and green technologies,” he said.
The summit, launched five years ago by Schwarzenegger, aims to highlight “concrete solutions and actions by global decision makers” in response to the challenge of climate change.
In his opening message, Schwarzenegger stressed the need for “encouragement, not just threats and despair.”
Making an ironic reference to his most famous role, he added: “We can end pollution, let’s get our message out together and work together.”
Participants in the event include Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, who leads the Commission’s work on its European Green Deal, and high-ranking representatives from multinational giants Ford and Apple.
Thunberg’s leadership was interrupted for technical reasons.