[Vision2020] 1-21-20: Full Speech by Greta Thunberg at World Economic Forum in Davos

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Thu Jan 23 14:31:50 PST 2020

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/21/our_house_is_still_on_fire “Our
House Is Still on Fire”: Full Speech by Greta Thunberg at World Economic
Forum in Davos

*AMY GOODMAN:* We end today’s show with the words of a 17-year-old: Swedish
climate activist Greta Thunberg. She just turned 17 in the last weeks. She
addressed world leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos,

*GRETA THUNBERG:* One year ago, I came to Davos and told you that our house
is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling
people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do.
But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me. I’ve done this before. And I can
assure you: It doesn’t lead to anything.

And for the record, when we children tell you to panic, we’re not telling
you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies
that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never
will. We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net zero
emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with
numbers. We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying
someone else to plant trees in places like Africa, while at the same time
forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate.
Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is
needed, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.

And let’s be clear: We don’t need a low-carbon economy. We don’t need to
lower emissions. Our emissions have to stop, if we are to have a chance to
stay below the 1.5-degree target. And until we have the technologies that
at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net
zero. We need real zero, because distant net-zero emission targets will
mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide
budget that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions
continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be
completely used up.

The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seemed to outrage and
worry everyone. And it should. But the fact that we are all about to fail
the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to
bother the people in power even the least. Any plan or policy of yours that
doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source starting today is
completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5- or well below 2-degree
commitments of the Paris Agreement.

And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about
your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the
left, as well as the center, have all failed. No political ideology or
economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental
emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world, because that world,
in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.

You say children shouldn’t worry. You say, “Just leave this to us. We will
fix this. We promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.” And
then nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence: empty words and
promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken.

All the solutions are obviously not available within today’s societies, nor
do we have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become
available to start drastically reducing our emissions. So, of course, the
transition isn’t going to be easy. It will be hard. And unless we start
facing this now, together, with all cards on the table, we won’t be able to
solve this in time.

In the days running up to the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum,
I joined a group of climate activists demanding that you, the world’s most
powerful and influential business and political leaders, begin to take the
action needed. We demand, at this year’s World Economic Forum, participants
from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt
all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end
all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil
fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050 or 2030 or even 2021; we
want this done now.

It may seem like we are asking for a lot, and you will of course say that
we are naive. But this is just the very minimum amount of effort that is
needed to start the rapid sustainable transition. So, either you do this,
or you’re going to have to explain to your children why you are giving up
on the 1.5-degree target — giving up without even trying.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, unlike you, my generation will not give up
without a fight. The facts are clear, but they are still too uncomfortable
for you to address. You just leave it, because you just think it’s too
depressing and people will give up. But people will not give up. You are
the ones who are giving up. Last week, I met with Polish coal miners who
lost their jobs because their mine was closed. And even they had not given
up. On the contrary, they seem to understand the fact that we need to
change more than you do.

I wonder: What will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave
them facing a climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it
seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of
securing future living conditions without even trying?

Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the
hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all
else. Thank you.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Seventeen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg
addressing world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
She spoke just after President Trump spoke at the gathering, touting the
economy but not talking about the climate crisis, which is the focus of the
World Economic Forum in Davos. That does it for our show. We’ll post her
whole speech online at democracynow.org.
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