"You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that, because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe."
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday, and she promptly held world leaders responsible for failing to address climate change, according to CBS News. This came three days after the biggest climate strike in history was held all over the world. The meeting was organized by UN Secretary-General António Guterres so that the members could come up with stricter emission standards so that they could slow the effects of climate change. The 16-year-old has become one of the leading voices as a climate change activist and is raising awareness about the consequences of a warmer planet.
"People are suffering. People are dying and dying ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth," she said Monday, as she visibly fought back tears. "How dare you! For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight."
"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here," said Thunberg, whose lone protest culminated in Friday's global climate strikes. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you." In 2018, she was the only one protesting, but her efforts have gotten her this far, with the whole world joining hands.
The teenage eco-warrior informed the UN that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only gives the world a 50% chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) from now, which is a global goal. She also added that the odds are just not good enough. "We will not let you get away with this," Thunberg said. "Right now is where we draw the line."
An emotional Thunberg sat in front of the General Assembly and plainly told those in attendance, "You have stolen my dreams." "How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," she said. "You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that, because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe."
The UN, on their website, wrote: Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.
The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. Also, in true Greta style, sailed to New York City for the event from Sweden on a zero-emissions sailboat.