Politicians are ‘role-playing’ and ‘pretending to wage war against fossil fuels’, says world-famous activist, Greta Thunberg, who tore into global leaders’ at the 5th Austrian World Summit on 1st July.
Accusing them of failing to take meaningful action, while levels of fossil fuel usage keep climbing, Thunberg was speaking virtually at the event.
In remarks that appeared to target the governments of both the US and the UK, she accused leaders of “pretending” to take the threat of climate change seriously, saying “when the protests get too loud, you make the protests illegal”.
The high-profile event was held at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, with guests from across the world discussing current climate issues with the host Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Under the banner ‘HEALTHY PLANET - HEALTHY PEOPLE’, this was the 5th annual event and in the opening address, Schwarzenegger said: “We will celebrate America’s re-entry into the Paris Agreement and continue the crusade for a healthy planet and healthy people. Together we can terminate pollution and create some real climate action.”
Greta Thunberg’s speech was so powerful and so emotive that it needs no further introduction.
But it definitely deserves a few minutes of your time!
Nature and physics are not entertained nor distracted by your theatre
A final wake up call
Transcript of Great Thunberg’s speech at the Austrian World Summit.
“Thank you for having me. Tomorrow, 150 weeks will have passed since we started the school strike for the climate.
And during this time, more and more people around the world have woken up to the climate and ecological crisis putting more and more pressure on you, the people in power.
Eventually the public pressure was too much and you had the world’s eyes on you.
So you started to act. Not acting as in taking climate action, but acting as in role-playing, playing politics, playing with words, and playing with our future.
Pretending to take responsibility – acting as saviours as you try to convince us that things are being taken care of.
Meanwhile the gap between your rhetoric and reality keeps growing wider and wider, and since the level of awareness is so low you almost get away with it.
But let’s be clear – what you are doing is not about climate action or responding to an emergency. It never was. This is communications tactics dressed as politics – disguised as politics.
You, especially leaders from high income nations, are pretending to change and listen to the young people while you continue pretty much exactly like before.
Pretending to take science seriously by saying ‘science is back’ while holding climate summits without even inviting one single climate scientist as speaker.
Pretending to wage war against fossil fuels while opening up brand new cola mines, oil fields and pipelines.
You don’t only continue business as usual as before, in many cases, you’re even speeding up and scaling up the process, pretening to have the most ambitious climate policies while granting new oil licences, exploring future oil fields, bragging about your so called ambitious climate commitments, which, if you look holistically are vastly insufficient and the get caught not even trying to reach those targets.
Pretneding to care about nature and biodiversity while the while the world is cutting down a forest area the size of a football field every second.
Pretending to be a climate leader while locking in a future Common Agricultural Policy that will make the Paris Agreement impossible to reach.
Pretending that you will ‘build back better’ after the pandemic, even though astronomical sumsa of money have already been locked in – and not in green projects, whatever ‘green’ means.
The G7 as an example, is spending billions more on fossil fuels and fossil fuel infrastructure than on clean energy.
This you compensate with beautiful words and promises that someone in the future will somehow undo your actions and make them ‘net zero’.
And when your empty words are not enough, when the protests grow too loud, you respond by making the protests illegal.
Of course we welcome all efforts to safeguard future and present living conditions, and these distant net zero emissions could be a great start if they weren’t full of gaps and loopholes like leaving out emission from imported goods, international aviation and shipping as well as the burning of biomass, using baseline manipulation, excluding most feedback loops and tipping points, ignoring the crucial aspects of equity and historical emissions, as well as making these targets completely relying on g=fantasy scale, barely existing negative emissions technologies.
But as your acts continue, more and more of us are seeing through your manuscripts and your role playing. The gap between your actions and words is becoming more impossible to ignore while more and more extreme weather events raging all around us.
And as a results, young people all over this planet are no longer falling for your lies.
Your distancing yourself further and further away from us and reality.
Some years ago, you could still claim that we’re moving in the right direction.
Today, that is no longer possible.
2021 is currently forecasted to be the year with the second highest emission rise ever.
You say we need to move slowly to bring the public along.
However, how do you honestly expect to bring the people along if you don’t treat this crisis like a crisis?
If it is one thing the pandemic has proven once and for all, it is that the climate and ecological emergencies have never have never once been treated as emergencies.
The climate crisis is today, at best, being treated only as business opportunity to create new green jobs, new green business and technologies.
As the pandemic unfolded, you didn’t say this will benefit the face mask manufacturing industry, or this will create new jobs in healthcare and hospitals.
Taking bold climate action will naturally bring many advantages and benefits.
Yet, needless to say, we will not be able to solve a crisis we do not treat as a crisis and that we do not understand the magnitude of.
Perhaps playing a role helps you sleep at night?
Saying things just for the sake of it, because the words are in your scripts.
But while you are busy working the stage, you seem to forget that the climate crisis is not something distant in the future.
It is already taking so much from the most affected people in the most affect areas.
This might just be a game to you. A game to win votes, popularity, points on the stock market or your next highly paid position in a company or lobbying firm.
The ones who focus on the packaging rather than the actual content, and the ones with the most beautiful speeches and the most short sighted, likable policies, wins.
You can and will of course choose to continue to play your parts say your line and wear your costumes.
You can and will continue to pretend , but nature and physics will not fall for it.
Nature and physics are not entertained nor distracted by your theatre.
The audience has grown weary.
The show is over.
Russell Jones is content and communications manager