Climate Change

Davos 2020: Above all else, act now, says Greta

Only solution to climate emergency is to immediately stop emissions, she said

By Pallavi Ghosh
Published: Tuesday 21 January 2020
Photo: @GretaThunberg / Twitter

Reduce emissions immediately, rather than focusing on what can be done in 2030 or 2050, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told world leaders on January 21, 2020, at Switzerland’s Davos.

Her message was clear. “Our emissions have to stop,” she said on the first day of the four-day-long annual meet of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Neither politics nor economic models have been able to chalk out an action plan to tackle the climate emergency, she said, while pointing to the failed commitments of the signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

While the United States faced criticism for walking out of the agreement, high carbon dioxide emissions were symptomatic of a global failure involving many countries, she said.

“We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers,” said Thunberg, while questioning the efficacy of climate change mitigation efforts by various countries.    

“Planting trees is good of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what needs to be done and it cannot replace real mitigation or rewilding nature,” she added.

There was no time to wait for advanced technologies to reach societies willing to bring down emissions drastically, Thunberg said while talking about solutions.

She asked all companies, banks, institutions and governments attending the Davos event to halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, end all fossil fuel subsidies and completely divest from fossil fuels as an immediate measure.

Thunberg also emphasised on the importance of science and scientific studies forming the basis of climate talks across the globe during an earlier panel discussion titled ‘Forging a path toward a common future’. She was among four young speakers sharing the stage during the discussion with TIME magazine’s Chief Executive and Editor, Edward Felsenthal.

Along with Salvador Gómez-Colón of Puerto Rico, Natasha Mwansa of Zamibia and Autumn Peltier of Canada, Thunberg urged for greater awareness and action to fight the global problem of climate change.

Thunberg quoted the IPCC SR 1.5 report that was released in 2018. We still have a fair chance of limiting global average temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius, only if we don’t exceed the carbon budget of 420 gigatonnes carbon dioxide left, the report had said.

The need of the hour is to have actions commensurate with the climate crisis the world is experiencing.

“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. We are still telling you to panic, and to act as if you loved your children above all else,” said Thunberg.  

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