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Greta Thunberg Speaks At Davos: "Act As If You Loved Your Children Above All Else"

In recent years, Greta Thunberg has gone from holding successful climate strikes in her native Sweden to the face of youths distressed by the coming effects of climate change and frustrated by the lack of coordinated international action to address the issue.

Although she has made her passionate thoughts on the matter known in many avenues, two of her most significant speeches saw her tell those gathered at the United Nations Climate Summit that they have "stolen [her] dreams and [her] childhood with [their] empty words" and those gathered at the World Economic Forum that their "house is on fire."

A year later, she made her return to Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday for this year's World Economic Forum summit to remind the political and economic leaders in attendance what exactly is at stake.

Thunberg began her speech by calling back to her words last year, in which she told those assembled at Davos that their house is on fire.

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As The New York Times transcribed, she made it clear that as long as global emissions put the world on track to reach the 1.5 degree global temperature increase breaking point as outlined in the 2016 Paris Accords, it would remain on fire.

At the time, she said this was something we should panic about and feels no differently this year.

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She also addressed that she had been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is dangerous.

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To this, she replied, "But don't worry. It's fine. Trust me, I've done this before and I can assure you it doesn't lead to anything."

And as this statement seemed to imply, that's the problem.

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She went on to say that more radical action is required than lowering emissions or reaching numbers that indicate "net zero emissions."

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She identified these numbers as the result of cheating and fiddling.

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She further stated that paying someone in Africa to plant trees doesn't accomplish much when the Amazon rainforest is being cleared at a much faster rate.

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As she said, "Planting trees is good, of course, but it's nowhere near enough of what is needed and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature."

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She also criticized the idea of setting target zero emission dates for the future rather than cutting emissions strongly at the source immediately.

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Because even if there are a few more years without this significant change, that 1.5 degree increase is all but guaranteed.

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As she said, "The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seems to outrage and worry everyone, and it should."

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"But the fact that we're all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least."

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So what, then, did she have in mind to avoid the breaking point?

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To answer that, she made the following demands to all of the companies, governments, institutions, and banks represented at the World Economic Forum:

Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.

Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies.

And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.

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To be clear, the demand wasn't to do this by 2050 or even by 2021, but now.

Instagram | @gretathunberg

She acknowledged that this will be difficult, but said that it's the minimum requirement needed for this goal and that dismissing it is tantamount to giving up the future of the planet without a fight.

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In closing, she asked those gathered how they will justify failing to act as demanded to their children.

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As she said, "That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?

"Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else."

h/t: The New York Times

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