The sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered her moving speech during the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations headquarters on Monday, saying “world leaders are failing the youth with their empty words.”
Thunberg was asked what would be her message to the world leaders today, after her impassioned message from last year has impacted a lot of children around the globe as she demanded action for climate change.
“We’ll be watching you,” Thundberg told world leaders.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” she exclaimed, starting her speech.
“You have stolen my dream, my childhood, with your empty words. And yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of economic growth? How dare you?” she added as she accused them of continuous dismissal of solving the global climate crisis.
“And you come here, saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and the solution needed are still nowhere in sight!” she said, shaming all the world leaders who attended the summit to give their pledge on cutting emissions and strengthening climate resilience.
“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But, no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that, because if you really understood the situation, and still kept on failing to act that you would be evil, and that I refuse to believe,” as she implicated their mistakes and lies to people.
“With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than eight and a half years,” the teen activist said after explaining how the environment is already deteriorating with all the harmful carbon dioxide coming from the usual business and technical solutions the world leaders have been creating.
“You are failing us. But young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said.
“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. The world is waking up. And change is coming whether you like it or not,” added Thunberg as she ended her speech.
After Thunberg’s speech, she joined the other young activists from Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Marshall Islands, Palau, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, and the United States in filing a communication to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The petition is against the five countries that contribute to the climate crisis.
Moreover, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the world leaders to take significant steps in addressing climate change.
“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win. The climate crisis is caused by us – and the solutions must come from us. We have the tools: technology is on our side,” he said.