Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Monday accused world leaders attending the UN Climate Action Summit of stealing her childhood with their “empty words” on combating climate change.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you!” the 16-year-old climate activist said.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” Thunberg said in an emotional speech at the opening of the summit in New York City.
She said the world was not doing enough in combating climate change. “How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight,” Thunberg added.
Thunberg said that leaders around the world are failing children, who have now started to understand their betrayal. The eyes of the entire future generations are upon them, she said.
“And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you,” Thunberg said during her concluding remarks.
The UN Climate Action Summit was convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Guterres had earlier warned world leaders that they would have to offer action plans in order to qualify to speak at the summit, which is aimed at boosting the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming.
The UN chief in his opening remarks tried to capture the urgency of Climate change saying, “Nature is angry. And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature, because nature always strikes back, and around the world nature is striking back with fury”.
World leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were some of the leaders who addressed the one-day gathering.