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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Phase three presents new opportunities for Kootenay tourism

Message from MLA Michelle Mungall and MLA Katrine Conroy

Castlegar seniors asked to share their COVID experiences

Research project looks for information to help improve life for local seniors

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

400 gardeners receive free seeds courtesy of Kootenay Food

A variety of seeds were delivered, which included carrots, beans, kale and peas

Interior Health expands COVID-19 testing access in Kelowna

First-come, first-serve, no-appointment-needed testing centre opens in downtown Kelowna

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Most Read