The World Is On Fire: Greta Thunberg At World Economic Forum

“Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature. We don’t need to lower emissions....Emissions need to stop."

Rudrani Gupta
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The  50th annual meet of the World Economic Forum started on 21 January. The meet and will reach its end on January 24. The Forum witnessed the presence of international business and world leaders like Donald Trump.  Seventeen-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg who has shaken the world with her campaigns to stop climate change  also participated in the event. She was one of the ten teenage "climate heroes" who were invited to the Forum. Thunberg had attended WEF 2019 when she spoke about the need for urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. She was one of the speakers on Tuesday in the panel discussion entitled, “Forging a Sustainable Path Towards a Common Future”. Greta said in the discussion that nothing much has been done to tackle climate emergency for a sustainable future.


Key Takeaways:

  • World Economic Forum's 50th Annual Meet started on January 21, 2020. Climate Activist Greta Thunberg was invited along with ten other teenage "climate heroes".
  • Greta attended the WEF 2019 also where she spoke about the urgent need to take actions to preserve the environment. In WEF 2020, she marks that no change has happened. 
  • Carbon emission has continued to rise with no reduction. 
  • Greta along with other teenage activists urged the world leaders and the audience to stop investing in fossil fuels and emissions because the world is on fire.  

Stop investing in fossil fuels

According to the agenda report by World Economic Forum Thunberg along with other young climate, activists stated that they will urge the policymakers at the Forum to stop investing in fossil fuels. According to the report, they will demand that companies and governments to “immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels."

Standing by this demand, Greta started her speech at WEF 2020 stating the International Panel on Climate Change report from 2018 that showed how reduced carbon emission can bring global warming down to 1.5 degrees celsius. According to CNBC, the report stated, “the remaining carbon budget would need to fall below 570 gigatons of carbon dioxide in the coming years if the world is to have a 67% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Also Read: Meet Greta Thunberg, The 16-Year-Old Nobel Prize Nominee


Referring to the increasing Global Warming, Greta said, “With today’s emissions levels, the remaining budget is gone in less than eight years. These aren’t anyone’s views. This is the science.”

Need for substantial actions

According to The Guardian, Greta recalled her speech at WEF last year where she wanted the audience to panic and start preserving the climate from the crisis. She said, “I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is,” But, this year, Greta notes that the “panic” she wanted to create did not bring any change and the house is still on fire. She said, “No political ideology or economic structure has managed to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world…currently the world is on fire”.

She referred to some efforts that have been taken to preserve the environment and said that this is just the beginning. There is a need to do more substantial actions. According to The Guardian, Greta talked about President Trump’s one trillion trees pledge and said, “Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature. We don’t need to lower emissions....Emissions need to stop”.

Listen to Young Activists

At the Forum, Greta further urged the audience and the world leaders to listen to what the young activists have to say about the climate crisis. She said,I'm not a person that can complain about not being heard. The science and voice of young people is not the centre of the conversation, but it needs to be".


Picture Credit: STP

Also Read: Climate conferences are male, pale and stale: It’s time to bring in women

Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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