At this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, climate activist Greta Thunberg told corporate leaders, politicians, economists, and journalists, that “Our house is still on fire.” Thunberg, who’s castigated world leaders at public forums many times before, continued to harshly criticize them for failing to halt carbon emissions in any significant way. She did, however, note some optimistic observations about awareness of the issues at hand, and make clear that “This is just the very beginning” of the climate change movement.
In her eight-and-a-half minute speech (above), Thunberg told attendees of the annual gathering—which included presidents, billionaire CEOs, and award-winning journalists, among others—that “Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source, starting today, is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5 or well-below-2-degree [Celsius] commitments of the Paris Agreement.” She added that from the perspective of environmental sustainability, world leaders from across the political spectrum “have all failed” in their charge of tackling “the climate… emergency and [creating] a cohesive and sustainable world.”
That 1.5-2.0°C change Greta highlighted in her speech is a reference to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in 2018, which states that a rise in average global temperatures by that amount would almost certainly result in catastrophic climate changes. Catastrophic climate changes including a loss of nearly all of the world’s coral reefs, a complete dissolution of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean once every decade, and annihilation of nearly a fifth of the world’s plants and trees.
Thunberg called for members of the forum to “immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies, and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.” In terms of a timeline, she said that these changes shouldn’t be made in decades or even in 2021, but should be done now.
.@GretaThunberg has just given this message to Davos.
— World Economic Forum (@wef) January 21, 2020
Although much of Thunberg’s speech focused on criticizing the major producers of carbon emissions, she also took the media task. During a panel discussion that took place prior to her speech, Thunberg recapped the climate science described in the 2018 IPCC report, but then told members of the media that she didn’t think she had seen them once communicate this part of her message to the public. “I know you don’t want to report about this,” Thunberg told the audience attending the panel discussion, “I know you don’t want to talk about this, but I assure you I will continue to repeat these [IPCC report] numbers until you do.”
What do you think about Greta Thunberg’s remarks at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos? Do you think world leaders are finally primed to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy resources, or do there need to be a lot more popular movements before any real changes take place? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Feature image: World Economic Forum