VIDEO: “How dare you?” Greta Thunberg addresses UN climate summit

‘We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money.’

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Scolded for doing little, leader after leader promised the United Nations on Monday to do more to prevent a warming world from reaching even more dangerous levels.

As they made their pledges at the Climate Action Summit, though, they and others conceded it was not enough. And even before they spoke, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg shamed them over and over for their inaction: “How dare you?”

Sixty-six countries have promised to have more ambitious climate goals, and 30 swore to be carbon neutral by midcentury, said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Echenique, who is hosting the next climate negotiations later this year.

Businesses and charities also got in on the act, at times even going bigger than major nations. Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced Monday that his foundation, along with The World Bank and some European governments, would provide $790 million in financial help to 300 million of the world’s small farmers adapt to climate change. The Gates foundation pledged $310 million of that.

“The world can still prevent the absolute worst effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new technologies and sources of energy,” Gates said. “But the effects of rising temperatures are already under way.”

As the day went on Monday and the promises kept coming, the United States seemed out in the cold.

Before world leaders made their promises in three-minute speeches, the 16-year-old Thunberg gave an emotional appeal in which she scolded the leaders with her repeated phrase, “How dare you?”

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” said Thunberg, who began a lone protest outside the Swedish parliament more than a year ago that culminated in Friday’s global climate strikes.

“I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money,” Thunberg said. “You are failing us.”

Later, she and 15 other youth activists filed a formal complaint with an arm of the U.N. that protects children, saying that governments’ lack of action on warming is violating their basic rights.

Outside experts say they heard a lot of talk Monday but not the promised action needed to keep warming to a few tenths of a degree. They say it won’t produce the dramatic changes the world requires.

“Sometimes I feel that Greta is still out in front of the Swedish parliament out on her own,” said Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, which targets carbon emissions across the world.

READ MORE: 16-year-old Swedish activist sails across Atlantic to attend climate meeting

“The ball they are moving forward is a ball of promises,” said economist John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Center for Global Change. “Where the ‘ball’ of actual accomplishments is, is another question.”

Of all the countries that came up short, World Resources Institute Vice-President Helen Mountford said one stood out: the United States for “not coming to the table and engaging.”

“What we’ve seen so far is not the kind of climate leadership we need from the major economies,” Mountford said. She did say, however, that businesses, as well as small- and medium-sized countries had “exciting initiatives.”

Nations such as Finland and Germany promised to ban coal within a decade. Several also mentioned goals of climate neutrality — when a country is not adding more heat-trapping carbon to the air than is being removed by plants and perhaps technology — by 2050.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, right, talks with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani before addressing the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Just Posted

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

School district launches survey for George Jay Elementary name change

The Greater Victoria School District wants to take public cues before decisions are made

Sidney handles plastic bags with wait-and-see approach

Officials say they will wait for courts and provincial action concerning single-use plastic bags

Greater Victoria developer rushes to demolish historic wall before Oak Bay applies heritage permit

Abstract Development punches holes in one of Oak Bay’s oldest stone walls

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read