Thunberg chides leaders for 'blah, blah, blah' over climate crisis
Activist Greta Thunberg lambasts leaders for 'empty words and promises'
MILAN: Swedish activist Greta Thunberg opened a youth climate summit yesterday by lambasting three decades of government inaction, accusing world leaders of having "drowned" future generations with "empty words and promises".
Speaking weeks ahead of a crunch United Nations (UN) climate meeting in Glasgow, Miss Thunberg accused governments of "shamelessly congratulating themselves" for insufficient pledges to cut emissions and promises of financing.
Hurling leaders' own words back at them, the 18-year-old laid bare to delegates at the Youth4Climate event in Milan the gap between words and action.
"There is no Planet B, there is no planet blah, blah, blah," Ms Thunberg said to warm applause.
Echoing a speech by UN climate summit host Boris Johnson in April, she continued: "This is not about some expensive politically correct dream of bunny hugging, or build back better, blah blah blah, green economy, blah blah blah, net zero by 2050, blah blah blah, climate neutral blah blah blah.
"This is all we hear from our so-called leaders: Words, words that sound great but so far have led to no action, our hopes and dreams drowned in their empty words and promises."
The three-day event in Milan gathers some 400 youth activists from nearly 200 countries, who will submit a joint declaration to a pre-summit attended by some 50 climate ministers.
The activists' proposals will be evaluated by the ministers and some will make their way to the summit in Glasgow in November.
"So-called leaders have cherry-picked young people to meetings like this to pretend they are listening to us, but they are not listening," Miss Thunberg said.
Ugandan youth activist Vanessa Nakate echoed Miss Thunberg's exasperation at leaders' lack of urgency.
"How long must children sleep hungry because their farms have been washed away, because their crops have been dried up because of the extreme weather conditions?" she asked.
"How long are we to watch them die of thirst and gasp for air in the floods?" - AFP, REUTERS