In Brief

Greta Thunberg accuses world leaders of ‘betraying’ young people

Teenage climate activist criticises international community for apathy on global warming

Greta Thunberg has attacked world leaders for their “betrayal” of young people through their apathy over the climate crisis.

Speaking at the United Nations climate summit, she said: “You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.”

In what The Guardian describes as a “stinging speech,” the teenage climate activist added: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

“The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she continued. “And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”

Although Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, told delegates that “the time for talking is over” he didn’t announce any phase-out of coal. While Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, did set out the end of coal mining in her country, her distant deadline of 2038 disappointed climate activists. China failed to put forward any new measures.

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If these positions dismayed Thunberg, she displayed a different emotion when she crossed paths with Donald Trump at the summit. As a widely shared video shows, when the US president arrived, Thunberg fixed him with a furious stare.

Later, Trump took a swipe at her on Twitter. Perhaps having seen the video of the stare she gave him, he shared a video of her emotional speech, adding a sarcastic comment that: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

The United Nations has warned that world is on track to warm by as much as 3.4C by the end of the century. This would escalate disastrous heatwaves, flooding, droughts and societal unrest. Major coral reefs and many other species face extinction.

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