Climate emergency: “We cannot solve the crisis without treating it as a crisis” Greta Thunberg warns COP24 Plenary
“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is, even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being unpopular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”
Fifteen year old Greta Thunberg, who started ‘climate fridays’ and ‘climate strike’ outside of the Swedish parliament some 17 weeks ago, addressed the high level segment of the United Nations climate conference, COP24 on December 12. Her speech was so clear, concise and direct, Is it any wonder that she is inspiring student climate strikes around the world.
She inspired a small group of Castlemaine students to step up in Australia ion November with School strike for climate action which saw 15,000 people March in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns Demanding Labor Stop Adani’s coal mine on 30 November.
She demolished the argument that just because you are small, or a country has a very small proportion of global pollution, that action should not be taken. She addressed the issues of generational theft and equity.
While not calling it an emergency, she articulated that we can’t solve the crisis until we name it as such.
Greta called for us to focus on what needs to be done, not on what is politically possible.
She called to keep fossil fuels in the ground and also to do so with a focus on equity. Just Transition should be a very important part of what is done to solve the climate crisis.
She is so young to articulate cynicism at the climate talks, but they have been going for some 24 years with so little progress. She warned the plenary and the parties assembled that change is coming, whether they like it or not.
“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not.”
Ms. Thunberg delivered her impassioned appeal on behalf of environmental non-governmental organisations at the UN climate change conference in Poland. The speech was made at the Resumed Second part of the high-level segment on December 12 addressing the COP24 plenary (On demand video). Watch the excerpt of her speech below:
“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old and I am from Sweden.
“I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now.
“Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I have leaned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines from all over the world by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that we have to speak clearly. No matter how uncomfortable that may be.
“You only speak of the green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular.
“You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess even when the only sensible thing to do is to pull the emergency brake.
“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is, even that burden you leave to us children.
“But I don’t care about being unpopular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.
“Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury.
“It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.
“The year 2078 I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me, maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there was still time to act.
“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.
“Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible there is no hope.
“We cannot solve the crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity.
“And the solutions within the system are so impossible to find that maybe we should change the system itself.
“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not.
“The real power belongs to the people.
On Friday 14 December she was back in Sweden, week 17 of her climate strike.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 14, 2018
While in Katowice, Poland outside the COP24 conference about 30 Polish students from two local schools gathered on the steps and sung: “All I want to say, is that they don’t really care about us.”
They had answered the call of Greta Thunberg and brought the global #ClimateStrike into the final day of the UN Climate talks in Katowice.
The 30 students were granted special access to enter the UN talks and carry their message to the delegates and Polish government: with only 12 years left to get the world off fossil fuels, and substantially decarbonized, leaders must act now.
Małgorzata Czachowska (15 years) a student striking in Katowice said: “For two weeks, Greta has been alone pushing leaders to deliver a climate deal. Today we answer her call and bring the call of young people everywhere to our leaders. The time for talk is over, the time for action is now.”
— Pelin Cengiz (@Pel_in_Ce) December 14, 2018
If you want to support students and kids in taking climate action in Australia, ask them first, here is how you can help.
Previous related story on Greta Thunberg: Greta Thunberg addresses UN secretary general António Guterres at COP24 on climate change
Speech to Resumed Second part of the high-level segment on December 12 addressing the COP24 plenary – (On demand video)