Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday September 24, 2019
‘How dare you’: Teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg scolds world leaders at UN climate talks
Scolded for doing little, leader after leader promised the United Nations on Monday to do more to prevent a warming world from reaching even more dangerous levels.
As they made their pledges at the Climate Action Summit, though, they and others conceded it was not enough. And even before they spoke, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg shamed them over and over for their inaction: “How dare you?”
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres concluded the summit by listing 77 countries that committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, 70 nations pledging to do more to fight climate change, with 100 business leaders promising to join the green economy and one-third of the global banking sector signing up to green goals.
“Action by action, the tide is turning,” he said. “But we have a long way to go.”
Businesses and charities also got in on the act, at times even going bigger than major nations. Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced Monday that his foundation, along with The World Bank and some European governments, would provide $790 million in financial help to 300 million of the world’s small farmers adapt to climate change. The Gates foundation pledged $310 million of that.
“The world can still prevent the absolute worst effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new technologies and sources of energy,” Gates said. “But the effects of rising temperatures are already underway.”
As the day went on Monday and the promises kept coming, the United States seemed out in the cold.
Before world leaders made their promises in three-minute speeches, the 16-year-old Thunberg gave an emotional appeal in which she scolded the leaders with her repeated phrase, “How dare you.”
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” said Thunberg, who began a lone protest outside the Swedish parliament more than a year ago that culminated in Friday’s global climate strikes.
“I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.
Thunberg told the UN that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only gives the world a 50 per cent chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4 C from now, which is a global goal. Those odds, she said, are not good enough.
“We will not let you get away with this,” Thunberg said. “Right now is where we draw the line.”
As this all played out, scientists announced that Arctic sea ice reached its annual summer low and this year the ice shrank so much it tied for the second lowest mark in 40 years of monitoring. (Hamilton Spectator)