Greta Thunberg: the world must ‘break’ old contracts, build new systems to save the climate

LONDON (Reuters) – Swedish activist Greta Thunberg said Thursday that the world needed economic reform to have a chance to beat climate change and that countries should be prepared to break old agreements and contracts to meet green goals.

The 17-year-old spoke to Reuters TV after she and other activists sent an open letter to European leaders urging them to take emergency measures and saying that those in power had practically “given up” seeking a real solution.

“We need to see it as, above all, an existential crisis. And as long as it is not treated as a crisis, we can have as many of these climate change negotiations and conferences and conferences as possible. It won’t change a thing, ”Thunberg said, speaking on video from his home in Stockholm.

Thunberg, who criticized world leaders at a UN climate summit last year for believing in the “fairy tales” of eternal economic growth, said that only a fundamental change to the existing system would control climate change.

He cited a UN study published in November that suggested that planned investments to boost fossil fuel production are likely to move away from the temperature targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“So that means that if we want to stay below these targets, we have to make it possible to break and abandon valid contracts and agreements. And that is not possible within the current system, “said Thunberg.

“So yes, then obviously we have to think differently. And yes, we have to think outside the box. ”


The demands in the letter, released ahead of Friday’s European Council summit, included an immediate cessation of all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, in parallel with a swift end to fossil fuel subsidies.

The letter also called for binding annual “carbon budgets” to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that countries can emit to maximize the chances of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 ° C, a goal enshrined in the climate agreement. Paris 2015.

He called on European governments to support calls for the Hague-based International Criminal Court to adopt a new crime of “ecocide” to prosecute those responsible for the large-scale destruction of the natural world.

Thunberg emerged as the face of a growing youth-led climate movement after a lone vigil that began to be held outside the Swedish parliament in 2018 that inspired children and teenagers around the world to organize school strikes on Friday afternoons.

“At first, I was very concerned,” Thunberg said, describing the fears about climate change that motivated her to embrace activism. “But when I started doing something, hope arose from that. Because hope comes from action. ”

With the climate protests largely fueled online by the coronavirus pandemic, Thunberg joined with climate scientists, activists, and celebrities, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and author Margaret Atwood, in signing the letter posted at https: //

FILE PHOTO: Greta Thunberg, climate change activist, speaks during a Friday-the-future protest in Turin, Italy, on December 13, 2019. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane

“The longer we continue to pretend that we are on a reliable path to reduce emissions and that the actions required to prevent a climate disaster are available within the current system … the more valuable time we will lose,” the letter said.

He called for climate policies to be designed to protect workers and the most vulnerable and reduce economic, racial and gender inequalities, as well as measures to “safeguard and protect” democracy.

Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alexandra Hudson

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