Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday criticized a gathering of business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, for “causing destruction of the planet” by investing in fossil fuels and prioritizing short-term profits over people affected by climate change. Climate crisis.
Thunberg, along with youth activists Vanessa Nakati, Helena Gualinga and Louisa Neubauer, participated in a roundtable with the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
“The leaders are playing with the future of the people,” said Ugandan Nakati.
He said people in the parts of the world hardest hit by climate change are “clinging on with their lives and trying to survive another day, another week, another hour, another minute”.
Gualinga, a native Ecuadorian, said the world is on a “really dangerous path.”
The activists arrived with a “letter of infringement” signed by nearly 900,000 people and addressed to the heads of fossil fuel companies demanding that they halt all new oil and natural gas projects. Scientists say there can be no new fossil fuel projects if the world wants to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) according to the targets set in Paris in 2015.
Nakati added that the current levels of warming, which have reached 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit), mean that “many people on the African continent, in the global south, are already living through hell” of extreme drought, heat and floods.
Climate and sustainability were major topics at the conclave in Davos, which received criticism for too many words that translated into little direct action. Many of the sessions this year focused on the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, and there were panels on economic slowdowns, food insecurity, and technological innovation.
“The changes we need are unlikely to come from within (from the Davos meeting), and I think they will come from the bottom up,” Thunberg said. “Without massive public pressure from the outside, at least in my experience, these people will go as far as they can. As long as they can continue to get away with it, they will continue to invest in fossil fuels, and they will continue to ignore people’s needs for their own benefit.”
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