Greta Thunberg: 'Pretty much nothing' has been done about climate crisis

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK

Climate activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday “basically nothing” has changed since she started protesting about climate change 18 months ago.

“Pretty much nothing has been done,” Thunberg said at a panel Davos on Tuesday. “Emissions of CO2 has not reduced and that is what we are trying to achieve.”

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist made the comments at one of the opening sessions of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting, commonly known as Davos. Her comments came after she was asked what had changed since she launched her student climate strike movement in August 2018.

“In one aspect, lots has happened that no one could have predicted,” Thunberg said. “This has sparked general awareness and a movement. All these many, many young people from many different places pushing together to form this alliance of movements.

“People are more generally aware now. The climate and environment is a hot topic now, thanks to young people pushing.”

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg attends the 50th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on 21 January. Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

But she said that awareness had not translated into action and “basically nothing” had been done about reducing emissions and tackling the warming planet.

Thunberg said people must “start listening to the science” and “start treating this crisis as the crisis it is.”

Thunberg urged world leaders and the media to take climate change more seriously, warning the planet has just eight year’s worth of ‘carbon budget’ left to avoid dangerous warming to the globe over the next 100 years.

“These numbers aren’t people’s opinions or political views, this is the current best available science,” she said in prepared remarks at the end of the session.

“Richer countries need to get down to zero emissions much faster and then help poorer countries do the same.”

She added: “These numbers also don’t include most feedback loops, nonlinear tipping points, nor additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution.”

“Without treating this as a real crisis we cannot solve it and we cannot solve it from a holistic view.”

Thunberg appeared alongside other young activists from around the world on a panel titled “Forging a Sustainable Path towards a Common Future”.

She is attending Davos for the second year in a row, with sustainability and climate change high on the agenda of the elite gathering. This year’s Davos conference is titled “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World” and WEF warned ahead of the event that environmental risks are the biggest threat to global stability over the next decade.

Thunberg, who was named TIME’s 2019 person of the year, said in an open letter to Davos attendees ahead of the conference that they must immediately abandon all fossil fuels. Climate activists have also been protesting in Switzerland ahead of the event.

Earlier on Tuesday, Green Finance Institute chief executive Rhian-Mari Thomas said during a TV interview at Davos abandoning fossil fuels would lead to a “disorderly transition” to clean energy. Thomas said industry would have to work with polluting energy companies to help move them towards more sustainable energy sources.