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Wednesday 16 October 2019

'You have stolen my dreams', Greta tells UN summit

Greta Thunberg at the UN. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty
Greta Thunberg at the UN. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

The eyes of future generations are on world leaders to take urgent action on climate change, teenage activist Greta Thunberg has told the UN.

In an impassioned speech at the UN climate action summit, the 16-year-old, who has inspired a global climate strike movement, told delegates they would not be forgiven if they failed to tackle warming.

Ms Thunberg, who travelled to the US by yacht to avoid flying, said she should not be up on stage, but in school in Sweden.

"You come to us young people for hope - how dare you? You have stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words," the teenager said.

"People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing, we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and the fairytale of endless economic growth. How dare you?"

Solutions

She set out the scale of the challenge in cutting emissions to keep temperature rises to 1.5C.

Beyond this, scientists have warned the impacts of climate change will become much more severe - warning that at current rates, the remaining budget for emissions would be used up in eight-and-a-half years.

The teen also warned the situation could not be solved by "business as usual" and some technological solutions.

"The eyes of all future generations are on you. If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you," she added.

More than 60 world leaders were set to speak at the event in New York, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Speaking ahead of his address to the summit yesterday Mr Varadkar said the Government is planning to phase out oil exploration in Irish waters.

Mr Varadkar was also due to tell the UN that all new revenues raised from carbon tax will be ring-fenced by the Government to fund climate action in the coming years.

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