Faced with a Global Climate Emergency, ‘My generation will not give up without a fight’ – Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, at a 2019 climate action rally in Vancouver B.C. in

The Now 17-Year-Old Swedish Activist and Winner of the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize, Who Last Year Triggered A Global Climate Action Movement, Laid It On The Line for International Leaders this January 21st at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

“Planting trees is good, of course,” she said, “but it’s nowhere near enough. … 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. … We must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

“Our house is still on fire,” added the young climate activist, in conclusion. “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.”

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted January 22nd, 2020 in Niagara At Large

“We are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else.”

Greta Thunberg made the cover of Time Magazine this December 2019 as its “Person of the Year’ during a year she played a leadership role in building a world-wide movement for climate action.

Those were among the final words that Greta Thunberg, who was named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ this past December 2019, and who has emerged as a hero to countless millions around the world, including this veteran environment writer, for her clarion call for climate action, to an audience, generations older than her, at the World Economic Forum this January 2020 in Davos, Switzerland.

You will act, she told them, if you love your children above all else.

I have often whispered the same words as I have thought about so many people who are members of my Baby Boomer Generation, and about generations younger than older than mine, who have children and, in some cases, grandchildren of their own, yet continue wanting to delay action on addressing the climate crisis, or continue to deny that there is anything humans are doing that is driving us, ever more rapidly, to the point of no return.

I have whispered those words and thought of people like Ontario’s current premier Doug Ford, who has four young daughters of his own, yet is stupidly and short-sightedly gutting the province’s environmental protection rules, and is spending tens-of-millions of our tax dollars on propaganda campaigns and court battles against the federal government’s efforts to put a higher cost on carbon pollution as one way to encourage people to burn less carbon-based fuels.

Then there is our current Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who is spending billions of dollars subsidizing a tar sands industry that has no hope for any real growth in the 21st century when he could be using that money to help people in Alberta and other western promises shift to industry, including ones in the renewable energy field, that will grow the jobs of the future.

Climate activists confront Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall a year ago over his government’s decision to spend billions of dollars on a pipeline for the tar sands.

Or what about a politician more local like Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati who continues to support plans by a China-based corporation to construct commercial and residential buildings in an area of his city that is home to large numbers of trees and provincial significant wetlands we need, more than ever, to convert carbon to oxygen.

Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodiati, front row and second from right, with then Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, in the fall of 2015 in Beijing, China, signing a “memorandum of understanding” with agents for China’s totalitarian state, to carry out an urban development project inside Niagara Falls’ sprawling Thundering Waters Forest. The forested area is also host to signficant wetlands that are part and parcel of our binational Niagara River watershed. Citizen groups in Niagara are fighting to stop Diodati and company from moving forward with development at this location.

They are among those who need to have their ears cleaned out, and be tied to a chair, and made to listen to what Greta Thunberg and the countless millions around the world who support her – young and at least some of us who are older than Greta and other members of her generation – are trying to say.

And if they don’t listen and get going now with the job of getting us to a “real zero” on climate changing carbon pollution, we have to vote them out of office and elect new leaders who will.

Now here is the full text for the address that Greta Thunberg delivered this January 21st, 2020 to delegates at the World Economic Forum –

“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.

Greta Thunberg, from an address she delivered to world delegates at the United Nations in September 2019

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 are 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.

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.

A poster that Alberta tar sands supporters produced before Greta Thunberg arrived in the province for a climate rally the fall of 2019

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 US. is leaving the Paris accord seems to outrage and worry everyone, and it should. But the fact that we’re 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-degree or well-below-2-degrees commitments of the Paris Agreement.

Some of the scorched landscape a few years ago in Fort McMurray, Alberta, in the heart of tar sands country, after one of the growing number of wildfires ravaging this and other regions of the world. Apparently, many in Alberta, including the current premier, Jason Kenney, are willing to risk more of this. And they expect the rest of us to cover the costs with our tax money.

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.”

Greta Thunberg is now drawing huge crowds of supporters, many of them young people, where ever he goes in the world to raise the call for climate action

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, 2030 or even 2021. We want this done now.

It may seem like we’re asking for a lot. And you will of course say that we are naïve. 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’re still too uncomfortable for you to address. You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up. But people will not give up. You are the ones who are giving up.

In 2019, Greta Thunberg won the support of United Nations Secretary-General Antonnio Guterres, who has granted her a forum at UN meetings to call for climate action

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 fuelling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else.

Thank you.”

To watch and hear Greta Thunberg, deliver this address, click on the screen below –

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

2 responses to “Faced with a Global Climate Emergency, ‘My generation will not give up without a fight’ – Greta Thunberg

  1. We also have a jobs and inequality crisis in Canada which partly involves gross mis-treatment of whistleblowers who report corporate wrongdoing. And this problem is not confined to Canada. Someone needs to “…do a Greta Thunberg…:” in some form to force the politicians and business leaders to deal with this and stop the willful ignorance and bigotry which serves to keep this stupid mess going,

    Like

  2. How did Trump respond to Thunberg at Davos?
    She’s an angry person who needs to be quiet. She’s a doomsayer. And the best – She got the Time cover!
    Talk about petty, childish.
    PROJECTION, PROJECTION, PROJECTION!
    Whatever he accuses of others is a reflection of himself.
    This guy could be…and has been…the source of an encyclopedia of mental disorders.

    Like

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