In her long-awaited speech before the COP25 leaders, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has firmly denounced the climate inaction of world leaders. "Rich countries have to do their part and get to zero emissions much faster than anticipated and then the poor will have to do the same so that the most unfortunate people can improve their standard of living," he said.
Halfway through the second week of COP25, the most anticipated day arrived ... At least, by the media. Since Greta Thunberg set foot on Madrid soil, the newsrooms have not stopped accumulating minutes of recording waiting for a few words from the young activist who, until now, had decided to use the undoubted media interest that arouses to give prominence to other experts and colleagues. He barely spoke at the press conference held last Friday - before a demonstration he had to leave for security reasons - and he did not do so yesterday either, although everyone was expecting him, when he decided that others would take the floor to address the climate emergency. When the summit faces the final stretch, Greta Thunberg has taken the spotlight alone for the first time to give his long-awaited speech at the high-level event held in the plenary hall before some of the most powerful leaders in the world. The young Swedish woman intervened after Gonzalo Muñoz, champion of COP25, and the acting minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, sitting next to her during all the speeches.
"Where are the adults in the room?" Greenpeace CEO Jennifer Morgan wondered just minutes before Thunberg took the stand. His serene gesture foreshadowed that it was not going to be an intervention like the one a few months ago in New York, in which his anger, on the verge of tears, went around the world. «A year and a half ago I didn't talk to anyone unless I had to. Later, I found a reason to speak. I've made many speeches since then and I know that you have to start with something personal or emotional to attract attention, like wondering how dare they», Explained the young woman in reference to that same speech. «Today I am not going to do it, because then those words are the only thing that attract attention and those who listen do not remember the facts and do not know why I said those words. We no longer have time to put science aside. For a year I have been constantly talking about it over and over again, but as it continues to be ignored I will have to repeat it, "he warned.
How do you get this message across without being alarmist? I really would like to know »
In what is probably her most mature and calm speech to date, Greta Thunberg - soon to turn seventeen - recalled the importance of heeding scientists' warnings and reducing emissions to curb global warming.
«This is not my political opinions, we are talking about science.
Many scientists say that these figures are very moderate, but they are accepted by the IPCC. They are global data that do not refer to fundamental equity aspects for the Paris Agreement to work around the world, "he claimed to the applause of those present while sending a message to the most powerful so that the transition is carried out in a fair way: "Rich countries have to do their part and reach zero emissions much faster than anticipated, and then the poor will have to do the same so that the most unfortunate people can improve their standard of living."
That moment - when she alluded to the people who are already dying from the climate crisis - was the only rhetorical concession that the young woman allowed herself during the little more than ten minutes of intervention. “Every fraction of a degree counts, so I repeat: that's what we have to focus on. They have to focus.
How do you react to these figures without feeling at least some level of panic?
How do you react to the fact that nothing is being done without feeling at least a little angry? How do you get this message across without being alarmist? I'd really like to know, ”he flung into the air.
We, the people
As he has done in most of his speeches, Thunberg has been very critical of some of the actors present at the summit, responsible for a large part of global CO2 emissions. “Since the signing of the Paris Agreement, banks have invested 1.9 trillion dollars in fossil fuels. One hundred companies are responsible for 71% of emissions. The G20 countries account for almost 80% of emissions and 10% of the richest population in the world produces half of the emissions, while the 50% of the poorest only a tenth.
We have work to do, but some have more work than others"He commented before launching his umpteenth call to action.
“Recently a group of rich countries announced that they would reduce their emissions, citing percentages and dates when they would become carbon neutral. That is extraordinary at first glance, but even if the intentions are good, this is not leadership. On the contrary: most of these promises do not include aviation and maritime transport, consumption… ».
"If people are not aware of what is happening, they will not be able to exert pressure on those in power and they will do nothing"
“If we do not understand the situation in a comprehensive way, we are not going to solve this crisis. Holistic solutions must be found and this is what this COP should focus on, but it seems that it has become an opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambitions. We cannot set distant dates to promise ourselves that we will act: that will only cause more damage because the changes are not yet in sight. The necessary policy does not exist at present despite what they may hear from the world's leaders, "claimed serena while denouncing the political inaction of the most powerful countries. “I have been fortunate to be able to travel the world and the lack of awareness is the same everywhere, even more so among those elected as leaders.
There is no feeling of emergency and they do not behave as if there is one: during an emergency you change your behavior.
If there is a child sitting in the middle of the street while cars speed by, you drive him away and rescue him. Without that sense of urgency, how can we understand that we are facing a crisis? If people are not aware of what is happening, they will not be able to put pressure on those in power to act, and without that pressure, leaders will do nothing. It is an endless cycle, "he denounced.
However, the closing statement of the young activist turned into a strong call for unity to change the world. In a less poetic way than on other occasions, Thunberg once again insisted that, together, the climate emergency can be tackled. “In three weeks we begin a decade that will define our future.
In these desperate times, we need to see a sign of hope.
There is, I've seen it. It will not come from governments or large corporations, but from people, from the population that is beginning to wake up. Once we do, people can change things because they are ready and willing. That is our hope and we have it because we live in a democracy every day, at all hours, not just in elections. It is public opinion that leads the free world. Every great change in history has come from the people. We do not have to wait, we can start, right now, the peoples, "he firmly concluded.
A few months ago, the same leaders meeting in New York ignored his desperate cry before the UN. Since then, the only thing that has changed is the date on the calendar. With a few days to go until the last climate summit of the decade comes to an end, there has still been no momentous decision or announcement - at the expense of the imminent presentation of the European Green Deal at COP25 - Greta has once again unsentimentally repeated. Your message: if inaction is a danger, pretending that solutions are being put in place is another even greater when the clock indicates that there is less and less time.
By Guadalupe Bécares, for Ethic