Greta Thunberg: Five years after Paris 'we are speeding in the wrong direction'

Issue 

Five years on from the Paris Climate Agreement, Swedish climate activist and founder of Fridays for Future Greta Thunberg slams governments for wasting time. She argues that, based on the science, the climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved without system change.

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My name is Greta Thunberg and I’m inviting you to be a part of the solution.

Five years ago, world leaders signed the Paris Agreement, and they promised to keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C and to pursue 1.5°C to safeguard future living conditions.

Since then, a lot has happened, but the action needed is still nowhere in sight. The gap between what we need to do and what is actually being done is widening by the minute. We are still speeding in the wrong direction.

The five years following the Paris Agreement have been the five hottest years ever recorded. And during that time, the world has also emitted more than 200 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Commitments are being made, distant hypothetical targets are being set, and big speeches are being given.

Yet, when it comes to the immediate action we need, we are still in a state of complete denial, as we waste our time creating new loopholes with empty words and creative accounting.

If you read through the current best available science, you realise that the climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved without system change. That’s no longer an opinion; that’s a fact. The climate crisis is only a part of a bigger sustainability crisis.

For too long we have been distancing ourselves from nature, mistreating the planet, our only home, living as if there was no tomorrow. At the current emission rate, our remaining CO2 budget for 1.5°C will be completely gone within seven years, long before we will even have a chance to deliver on our 2030 or 2050 targets.

But I’m telling you, there is hope, because the people have not yet been made aware. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis, nor can we treat something like a crisis unless we understand the emergency. So let’s make this our main priority. Let’s unite and spread awareness.

Once we become aware, then we can act. Then change will come. This is the solution. We are the hope. We, the people.

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