wedish teenager and now the quintessential global face of the urgent call for climate action, Greta Thunberg, addressed the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos on January 21, 2020. It was the schoolgirl’s second appearance at WEF, last year being the teenager’s breakaway year as a global climate action icon. The Swede first hit the headlines in 2018 when she went on School Strike for Climate in her hometown, calling on the Swedish government to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. She protested outside the Swedish Parliament every day for three weeks missing school while she did so.Ever since, Greta’s name has become synonymous with climate activism, as she has been known to make some of the world’s most powerful leaders, especially US President Donald Trump, uneasy with her straight talking jibes.
At Davos this year, she reminded world leaders that she had called for panic. “One year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. 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.”
Rebuking world leaders for their inaction over the climate crisis, Geta said, “Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low carbon economy’. We don’t need to ‘lower emissions’. Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”She also put forward some demands to the World Economic Forum and participants that included top companies, banks, institutions and governments.She called for an immediate halt to all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction,An immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies, and an immediate and complete divestment of fossil fuels.In her concluding remarks, she shamed the world leaders yet again.
“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”