Greta Thunberg Condemns UN Climate Summit as a “Greenwash Festival”

Eighteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called COP26 a “failure” when she addressed the Fridays for Future rally in Glasgow, which drew around 25,000 demonstrators. Thunberg had dismissed climate leaders one month before the UN climate summit, citing political inaction. “The COP has turned into a PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains the governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action,” said Thunberg on Friday. “This is not a conference. This is now a Global North greenwash festival.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be final.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace ReportAs we bring you Climate Countdown, I’m Amy Goodman. Yes, we are covering the Glasgow summit from the United States, from Glasgow itself and from places around the world for those who couldn’t make it to Glasgow.

Greta Thunberg (18 years old) is a Swedish climate activist. Friday’s for Future was a student movement that organized a rally in Glasgow. Fridays For Future is an international student movement that grew from Greta Thunberg’s climate strike outside of the Swedish parliament, which began in 2018.

GRETA THUNBERG: It is no secret that COP26 has been a failure. It should be obvious that the same methods that led us into the crisis can not solve it. More people are realizing this. Many are starting to ask themselves, “What will it take for the people in power to wake up?”

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But let’s be clear: They are already awake. They know exactly what they’re doing. They know what priceless assets they are willing to sacrifice to maintain business as usual. They are not passively creating loopholes or shaping frameworks to their advantage and continue to profit from this destructive system. Leaders make this an active choice to continue allowing the exploitation and destruction of natural resources and human lives to continue.

The COP It has become a PR event in which leaders give beautiful speeches and announce fancy targets while the governments from the Global North countries continue to refuse to take any significant climate action. It seems that their main goal is to continue fighting for the status quo.

COP26 was named the most exclusionary COP Every day. This is not a conference. This is now a Global North Greenwash Festival, a two week-long celebration of business and normalcy, and blah blah blah. The voices of future generations are drowning out in their greenwash, empty words, and promises. The facts are clear and we know that the Emperor is naked.

To keep emissions below the Paris Agreement targets, and to minimize the risk of triggering irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, we must make drastic annual emission cuts that are unlike anything the world has seen before. And as we don’t have the technological solutions that alone will do anything even close to that, that means we will have to fundamentally change our society. And this is the uncomfortable result of our leaders’ repeated failure to address this crisis.

At the current emission rates, our remaining CO2 budgets that would give us the best chance of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end this decade will be gone. And the climate and ecological crisis, of course, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is directly tied to other crises and injustices that date back to colonialism and beyond, crises based on the idea that some people are worth more than others, and therefore had the right to steal others — to exploit others and to steal their land and resources. It is foolish to believe that we can solve this crisis by addressing its root cause.

This is not something that will be discussed in the COP. It’s just too uncomfortable. It’s much easier for them to simply ignore the historical debt that the countries of the Global North have towards the most affected people and areas. The question is, what are we fighting for? Are we fighting for the survival of ourselves and the planet or are we trying to keep things as they are?

AMY GOODMAN: Greta Thunberg is speaking at the Fridays for Future rally, Glasgow, where is taking place the U.N. Climate Summit.