Leaders are happy to set targets for decades ahead, but flinch when immediate action is needed, she says
Greta Thunberg has blasted politicians as hypocrites and international climate summits as empty words and greenwash. Until humanity admits it has failed to tackle the climate crisis and begins treating it as an emergency like the coronavirus pandemic, society will be unable to stop global heating, she said.
In an interview with the Guardian, Thunberg said leaders were happy to set targets for decades into the future, but flinched when immediate action to cut emissions was needed. She said there was not a politician on the planet promising the climate action required: “If only,” said the teenager, who will turn 18 in January.
But she is inspired by the millions of students who have taken up the school strike she began by herself in Sweden 116 weeks ago. Since then she has addressed the UN and become the world’s most prominent climate campaigner. She also has hope: “We can treat a crisis like a crisis, as we have seen because of the coronavirus. Treating the climate crisis like a crisis – that could change everything overnight.”
“So the first thing we need to do is understand we are in an emergency [and] admit the fact that we have failed – humanity collectively has failed – because you can’t solve a crisis that you don’t understand,” Thunberg said.