The Greta Thunberg effect: at last, MPs focus on climate change

(The Guardian, 23 Apr 2019) Michael Gove admits to feeling guilt as young activist says: your fossil fuels policy is beyond absurd.

Greta Thunberg took her climate message to the heart of power in Westminster on Tuesday, with a quiet but powerful message to MPs that prompted politicians to declare contrition for their failure to act.

After the noise of Brexit in parliament and the disruption of Extinction Rebellion outside, the 16-year-old Swedish activist cut an extraordinarily composed figure as she arrived with her trademark braids, hand-painted placard and a speech that forced politicians to reflect on a crisis that is growing steadily worse despite three decades of political promises.

“This ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind,” she told the packed audience of MPs, officials and fellow school strikers. “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.”

There was no let-up for the audience. The UK, she said, was very special due to its “mind-blowing historical carbon debt”, a reference to the country’s record as the birthplace of industrialisation. But this was also, she said, because its claims of world-leading progress on cutting emissions are partly the result of “creative accounting” and are belied by the government’s plans for more high-emissions projects.

External link

The Guardian, 23 Apr 2019: The Greta Thunberg effect: at last, MPs focus on climate change