Greta Thunberg at the UN: “How dare you? You Stole my Dreams and my Childhood! “

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Greta Thunberg speaks at the UN platform on 23 September 2019 in New York

This short speech at the UN climate summit is one of the most impactful that the 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg has spoken since arriving in the United States in late August 2019.

“How dare you! Monday 23rd September 2019 young climate activist Greta Thunberg to world leaders gathered at the UN to reinvigorate the Paris climate agreement and called on to abandon fossil fuels to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse.

Responding to the call of the UN Secretary-General, 66 states have now subscribed to the principle of carbon neutrality by 2050, the UN announced Monday morning in the preamble of this unpublished summit. So far, only about 20 countries have included this horizon in their national law or initiated this process. The European Union hopes to reach a consensus between the Member States in 2020.



The summit precedes the annual General Assembly of the United Nations and some sixty heads of state and government have to take the floor to announce strengthened commitments.

“I should not be here, I should be at school”

The tone was given at the opening by a hard-hitting speech by the young Swede Greta Thunberg, who blatantly blamed the leaders for their inaction.

“I should not be here, I should be at school, on the other side of the ocean,” said the high school student in a sabbatical year, her voice shaking with anger. ” How dare you? You stole my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.

Whole ecosystems collapse, we are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you are talking about is money, and fairy tales of eternal economic growth? How dare you !

Donald Trump with Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo at the UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23, 2019.
Donald Trump with Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo at the UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23, 2019. (© AFP / SAUL LOEB)

Surprised, US President Donald Trump, who attended the UN for other events, sat for a few minutes in the hall, while the United States declined to participate. He listened and then applauded Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before heading off to another event.

Will not be completely absent from the main event of the day? Taste of provocation on the part of the one who announced the withdrawal with a crash of the United States of the Paris agreement? The brief visit of the Republican billionaire caused perplexity.

“Friendly” events

In addition to the United States, Brazil and Australia do not participate in the summit, for lack of things to announce. But China, which eats coal and emits twice as much greenhouse gas as the United States, will speak through the voice of its head of diplomacy, Wang Yi.

India’s Narendra Modi, whose country is like coal-loving China, described the rampant growth of renewable energy in his country.

Without naming Greta Thunberg, Emmanuel Macron was struck by the speeches of the young people who preceded him. “No official can remain deaf to this demand for justice between generations,” he said.

We need this youth to help us change things (…) and put more pressure on those who do not want to move.

Exceeding the time limit of three minutes per leader, he applauded Russia, which ratified Monday the Paris agreement, and repeated that the last French coal plants would be closed in 2022. As for Europe, it called for all imports to be zero carbon and zero deforestation.

On the plane to New York, the president had deemed “friendly” the big demonstrations of young people on Friday but judged it would be more useful to put pressure on “those who can not move” … for example Poland.

Emmanuel Macron (right) with Sebastian Pinera (left) and Ivan Duque in New York on September 23, 2019
Emmanuel Macron (right) with Sebastian Pinera (left) and Ivan Duque in New York on September 23, 2019. (© AFP / LUDOVIC MARIN)

Zero carbon

Carbon neutrality means that countries are committed to minimizing their emissions and offsetting the balance, for example by replanting trees, which absorb carbon from the air.

This goal was considered so radical in 2015 that the term had been excluded from the text of the Paris Agreement, but it is in progress, made more urgent by the heat waves of last summer, cyclones and images Glaciers melting almost sight.

“We hope that this group of countries and progressive local authorities and authorities will prepare the second wave, to show where modernity is, where progress is,” Laurence Tubiana told AFP. architects of the Paris Agreement.

The past five years should be the hottest time ever recorded, according to a report released Sunday by the UN. The Earth is on average warmer by 1 ° C than in the 19th century, and will end at least + 3 ° C in 2100 in the current state of commitments.

Monday’s promises have no legal value. The summit is only a “stepping stone” to the Glasgow COP26 meeting in late 2020 when countries are expected to submit revised climate commitments to the UN.

To date, only 59 of the 195 signatories to the Paris Agreement have announced their intention to do so. The United States is not one of them.

Environmental activists on September 23, 2019 in Washington.
Environmental activists on September 23, 2019 in Washington. (© AFP / MANDEL NGAN)

Greta Thunberg at the UN: "How dare you? You Stole my Dreams and my Childhood! " 1

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