It Is ‘Strange,’ Says Greta Thunberg, That Biden Is Seen as a Climate Leader

Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. In August 2018, outside the Swedish parliament building, Greta Thunberg started a school strike for the climate. Her sign reads, “Skolstrejk för klimatet,” meaning, “school strike for climate”. Author Anders Hellberg

“The U.S. is actually expanding fossil fuel infrastructure,” the 18-year-old Swedish climate activist said in a new interview.

JAKE JOHNSON December 28, 2021

In an interview published in The Washington Post Magazine on Monday, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg said it is “strange” that some consider U.S. President Joe Biden a climate leader even as his administration fails to take the ambitious steps necessary to tackle the intensifying planetary crisis.

When asked whether she is “inspired” by Biden or other world leaders, Thunberg pointed out that “the U.S. is actually expanding fossil fuel infrastructure” under the current administration.

“I’ve met so many people who give me very much hope and just the possibility that we can actually change things.”

“Why is the U.S. doing that?” she asked. “It should not fall on us activists and teenagers who just want to go to school to raise this awareness and to inform people that we are actually facing an emergency.”

“People ask us, ‘What do you want?’ ‘What do you want politicians to do?'” added Thunberg, who helped spark a global, youth-led climate protest movement with a solo strike outside of the Swedish Parliament building in 2018. “And we say, first of all, we have to actually understand what is the emergency.”

“We are trying to find a solution of a crisis that we don’t understand,” she continued. “For example, in Sweden, we ignore—we don’t even count or include more than two-thirds of our actual emissions. How can we solve a crisis if we ignore more than two-thirds of it? So it’s all about the narrative.”

While Biden has touted his decision to bring the U.S. back into the Paris agreement, his pledge to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and other initiatives as a show of leadership in the face of an existential threat to humanity, his administration has also approved oil and gas drilling permits at a faster rate than former President Donald Trump’s did.

During Biden’s presidency, according to a report released earlier this month by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved an average of 333 oil and gas drilling permits per month this year alone—40% more than it did over the first three years of Trump’s White House tenure.

“When it comes to climate change policy, President Biden is saying the right things. But we need more than just promises,” Alan Zibel, the lead author of the report, said in a statement. “The reality is that in the battle between the oil industry and Biden, the industry is winning. Despite Biden’s campaign commitments to stop drilling on public lands and waters, the industry still has the upper hand. Without aggressive government action, the fossil fuel industry will continue creating enormous amounts of climate-destroying pollution exploiting lands owned by the public.”

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Thunberg’s interview with the Post came at the end of a year that saw planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions quickly rebound to pre-pandemic levels as the U.S. and other major nations continued to burn fossil fuels at an alarming and unsustainable rate.

As Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate Research noted Tuesday, “2021 saw the second-biggest absolute increase in fossil CO2 emissions ever recorded.”

Despite the failure of world leaders to act with sufficient urgency as the climate crisis fuels devastating extreme weather events across the globe, Thunberg said she is “more hopeful now” than she was when she kicked off her lonely school strike in 2018.

“In one sense, we’re in a much worse place than we were then because the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are higher and the global emissions are still rising at almost record speed. And we have wasted several years of blah, blah, blah,” said Thunberg. “But then, on another note, we have seen what people can do when we actually come together.”

“I’ve met so many people who give me very much hope and just the possibility that we can actually change things,” she added. “That we can treat a crisis like a crisis.”


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COP26 News review day 5

COP26 news today is Fridays for Future Scotland’s protest in Glasgow. Greta Thunberg has called COP26 a failure.

Greta Thunberg speaks at Fridays for Future Scotland’s protest in Glasgow.

George Monbiot: Never mind aid, never mind loans: what poor nations are owed is reparations [ed: I recommend reading this article]

At Cop26 the wealthy countries cast themselves as saviours, yet their efforts are hopelessly inadequate and will prolong the injustice

The wealthy nations, always keen to position themselves as saviours, have promised to help their former colonies adjust to the chaos they have caused.

Never mind aid, never mind loans; what the rich nations owe the poor is reparations. Much of the harm inflicted by climate breakdown makes a mockery of the idea of adaptation: how can people adapt to temperatures higher than the human body can withstand; to repeated, devastating cyclones that trash homes as soon as they are rebuilt; to the drowning of entire archipelagos; to the desiccation of vast tracts of land, making farming impossible? But while the concept of irreparable “loss and damage” was recognised in the Paris agreement, the rich nations insisted that this “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.

By framing the pittance they offer as a gift, rather than as compensation, the states that have done most to cause this catastrophe can position themselves, in true colonial style, as the heroes who will swoop down and rescue the world: this was the thrust of Boris Johnson’s opening speech, invoking James Bond, at Glasgow: “We have the ideas. We have the technology. We have the bankers.”

But the victims of the rich world’s exploitation don’t need James Bond, nor other white saviours. They don’t need Johnson’s posturing. They don’t need his skinflint charity, or the deadly embrace of the bankers who fund his party. They need to be heard. And they need justice.

Continue ReadingCOP26 News review day 5

COP26 News Summary day 1

COP26: Nicola Sturgeon catches up with activist Greta Thunberg

NICOLA Sturgeon has said the “voices of young people” must be heard loudly after meeting with climate campaigners Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate this morning at Cop26.

Scotland’s First Minister said the “next few days should not be comfortable for leaders, the responsibility to act must be felt”.

Sturgeon was photographed with the two young activists bumping elbows inside the blue zone at COP26, before she was due to speak on a panel about the role of states and regions in fighting climate change.

What happened at Cop26 today – day one at a glance

A summary of the main developments on the first day of the UN climate summit in Glasgow

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sails under Erskine Bridge

The ship had hoped to dock opposite the summit venue, but stopped at the King George V dock at Shieldhall.

Sinn Fein launches ‘green energy’ document at Cop26 to help tackle climate emergency

“The COP26 summit is an important opportunity to send a clear message on the actions that will need to be taken by governments to tackle the climate emergency,” she said.

“Today at the summit, attended by world leaders, Sinn Féin have launched a document on green energy and tackling the climate emergency.

“Just like the Covid19 pandemic, climate change doesn’t recognise borders and we need an all-Ireland approach,” Ms O’Neill added.

“We must secure a fair transition to a low carbon economy and increase support for rural communities and family farms.

Boris even manages to turn up late to the last-chance saloon John Crace

Johnson is something of a late convert to the reality of climate change. We know that and he knows that. He’s even admitted it was only when he got to Downing Street and academics walked him through the science that the penny really dropped. So you might have thought the prime minister would have chosen to play it fairly straight in welcoming everyone to Glasgow. Just thank them all for coming and make them aware of the responsibility they carry for saving the planet.

Only Boris just can’t do serious. He needs the attention. He needs the laughs. So he started what should have been a plea to world leaders to put aside their self-interest and work constructively together with a reference to James Bond. If he’d stopped at that, he might have got away with it. But Bertie Booster is compulsively needy. So the rest of his short speech was peppered with bad gags. Cows farting. Boris possibly still being prime minister in 2060 when he’s 94. Further references to not everyone being able to look like James Bond.

Boris Johnson will travel home from Cop26 by private plane

Boris Johnson is flying back from the Cop26 climate conference on a private plane rather than the train after spending two days warning world leaders to reduce their emissions.

Queen tells Cop26 in video address it’s ‘time for action’ on climate

In her message, recorded after she announced she would be unable to attend the conference due to medical advice to rest, she added: “Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: we none of us will live forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.”

Continue ReadingCOP26 News Summary day 1

‘What Betrayal Looks Like’: UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

Dixie Fire in California

A home burns as flames from the Dixie Fire tear through the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California on July 24, 2021. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/09/17/what-betrayal-looks-un-report-says-world-track-27degc-warming-2100

“Whatever our so-called ‘leaders’ are doing,” said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, “they are doing it wrong.”

JAKE JOHNSONSeptember 17, 2021

The United Nations warned Friday that the planet is barreling toward 2.7°C of warming by the end of the century, a nightmare scenario that can be averted only if policymakers take immediate and sweeping action to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Even if the 191 parties to the Paris climate accord meet their current commitments, global greenhouse gas emissions will still rise 16% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, according to a new report published by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Failure to meet this goal will be measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods.”

The goal of the 2015 Paris agreement is to limit global warming to below 2°C—and preferably to 1.5°C—above pre-industrial levels. An analysis released earlier this week found that the climate targets and actions of just one country—The Gambia—are in line with the critical 1.5° goal.

“This is what betrayal looks like,” Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in response to the latest U.N. findings. “Whatever our so-called ‘leaders’ are doing, they are doing it wrong.”

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of U.N. Climate Change,

said in a statement that the international community must “peak emissions as soon as possible before 2030 and support developing countries in building up climate resilience.”

“The 16% increase is a huge cause of concern,” said Espinosa. “It is in sharp contrast with the calls by science for rapid, sustained, and large-scale emission reductions to prevent the most severe climate consequences and suffering, especially of the most vulnerable, throughout the world.”

The U.N. analysis came as U.S. President Joe Biden met with world leaders and announced that the United States is partnering with the European Union in an effort to cut methane emissions—a powerful driver of global warming—by nearly 30% by the end of the decade.

In its landmark report last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasized that a “strong, rapid, and sustained” reduction in methane emissions is necessary to prevent the worst of the planetary crisis.

The IPCC also estimated that keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would require a 45% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030—a mark that the international community is currently on track to miss badly, according to the new U.N. report.

António Guterres, the secretary-general of the U.N., said in a statement Friday that 2.7°C of planetary heating would be “catastrophic” and that world leaders are “rapidly running out of time” to act.

“This is breaking the promise made six years ago to pursue the 1.5°C goal of the Paris agreement,” said Guterres. “Failure to meet this goal will be measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods.”


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Continue Reading‘What Betrayal Looks Like’: UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

Greta Thunberg Says Humanity Must Not Be Fooled by ‘Bullsh*t’ Climate Targets of World Leaders

Published on Thursday, April 22, 2021 by Common Dreams

The Swedish campaigner says insufficient goals and empty rhetoric represent the “biggest elephant there’s even been in any room.” by Common Dreams staff

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg in a video released shortly before the Biden administration kicked off a two-day virtual summit of international leaders to address the climate crisis. “The gap between what needs to be done and what we are actually doing is widening by the minute,” says Thunberg. “The gap between the urgency needed and the current level of awareness and attention is becoming more and more absurd.” (Photo: Screenshot/NowThis News)

Just before U.S. President Joe Biden’s two-day virtual summit on the climate crisis got underway, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday shared a video message calling out the “bullshit” of world leaders who she says are failing to take the steps necessary to confront the planetary emergency.

“While we can fool others and even ourselves, we cannot fool nature and physics.”
—Greta Thunberg

Posted online by NowThis News, the video featuring Thunberg comes as a warning from the well-known global climate campaigner that the people of the world should not be fooled by the lofty rhetoric they will hear at the summit.

“At the Leaders’ Climate Summit, countries will present their new climate commitments, like net-zero emissions by 2050,” Thunberg says in the video. “They will call these hypothetical targets ‘ambitious.’ But when you compare our insufficient targets with the overall current best available science, you clearly see that there’s a gap. There are decades missing.”

Watch the video: 

The 18-year-old founder of “Fridays for Future” and inspiration for the global climate strike movement also penned an open letter first published in Vogue on Thursday, making much the same argument.

“You may call us naïve for believing change is possible, and that’s fine,” Thunberg wrote. “But at least we’re not so naïve that we believe that things will be solved by countries and companies making vague, distant, insufficient targets without any real pressure from the media and the general public.”

Thunberg continued:

Of course, we welcome all efforts to safeguard future and present living conditions. And these targets could be a great start if it wasn’t for the tiny fact that they are full of gaps and loopholes. Such as leaving out emissions from imported goods, international aviation and shipping, as well as the burning of biomass, manipulating baseline data, excluding most feedback loops and tipping points, ignoring the crucial global aspect of equity and historic emissions, and making these targets completely reliant on fantasy or barely existing carbon-capturing technologies. But I don’t have time to go into all that now.

The point is that we can keep using creative carbon accounting and cheat in order to pretend that these targets are in line with what is needed. But we must not forget that while we can fool others and even ourselves, we cannot fool nature and physics. The emissions are still there, whether we choose to count them or not.

“The gap between what needs to be done and what we are actually doing is widening by the minute,” she added. “The gap between the urgency needed and the current level of awareness and attention is becoming more and more absurd. And the gap between our so-called climate targets and the overall, current best-available science should no longer be possible to ignore.”

Speaking of world leaders in the Thursday video and the shortcomings of their climate proposals thus far, Thunberg said, “Let’s call out their bullshit,” because the gap between what their rhetoric and what’s actually needed is “the biggest elephant there’s even been in any room.”

Along with other witnesses, Thunberg is testifying before congressional lawmakers on Thursday during a hearing convened by the House Subcommittee on the Environment.

Watch the hearing—titled “The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis” and slated to begin at 10:00 am ET—live:

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Continue ReadingGreta Thunberg Says Humanity Must Not Be Fooled by ‘Bullsh*t’ Climate Targets of World Leaders

‘Hypocrites and greenwash’: Greta Thunberg blasts leaders over climate crisis

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/09/hypocrites-and-greenwash-greta-thunberg-climate-crisis

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.

Continue Reading‘Hypocrites and greenwash’: Greta Thunberg blasts leaders over climate crisis

Earth has lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice in less than 30 years

‘Stunned’ scientists say there is little doubt global heating is to blame for the loss

A total of 28 trillion tonnes of ice have disappeared from the surface of the Earth since 1994. That is stunning conclusion of UK scientists who have analysed satellite surveys of the planet’s poles, mountains and glaciers to measure how much ice coverage lost because of global heating triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists – based at Leeds and Edinburgh universities and University College London – describe the level of ice loss as “staggering” and warn that their analysis indicates that sea level rises, triggered by melting glaciers and ice sheets, could reach a metre by the end of the century.

“To put that in context, every centimetre of sea level rise means about a million people will be displaced from their low-lying homelands,” said Professor Andy Shepherd, director of Leeds University’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.

The scientists also warn that the melting of ice in these quantities is now seriously reducing the planet’s ability to reflect solar radiation back into space. White ice is disappearing and the dark sea or soil exposed beneath it is absorbing more and more heat, further increasing the warming of the planet.

Greta Thunberg: After two years of school strikes, the world is still in a state of climate crisis denial

Science doesn’t tell anyone what to do, it merely collects and presents verified information. It is up to us to study and connect the dots. When you read the IPCC SR1.5 report and the UNEP production gap report, as well as what leaders have actually signed up for in the Paris agreement, you see that the climate and ecological crisis can no longer be solved within today’s systems. Even a child can see that policies of today don’t add up with the current best available science.

We need to end the ongoing wrecking, exploitation and destruction of our life support systems and move towards a fully decarbonised economy that is centred on the wellbeing of all people, democracy and the natural world.

If we are to have a chance of staying below 1.5C of warming, our emissions need to immediately start reducing rapidly towards zero and then on to negative figures. That’s a fact. And since we don’t have all the technical solutions we need to achieve that, we have to work with what we have at hand today. And this has to include stopping doing certain things. That’s also a fact. However, it’s a fact that most people refuse to accept. Just the thought of being in a crisis that we cannot buy, build or invest our way out of seems to create some kind of collective mental short circuit.

This mix of ignorance, denial and unawareness is at the very heart of the problem. As it is now, we can have as many meetings and climate conferences as we want. They will not lead to sufficient changes, because the willingness to act and the level of awareness needed are still nowhere in sight. The only way forward is for society to start treating the crisis like a crisis.

Continue ReadingEarth has lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice in less than 30 years