The young climate activist Greta Thunberg grabbed the spotlight at World Economic Forum 2020 for bringing climate activism to Davos. She wrapped up her week with “Friday for Future” climate strike at Davos on Friday, January 24. Thunberg was targeted by US Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said in a press meeting on Thursday that Greta needs to “study economics” before demanding to disinvest in fossil fuels. The young activist took to Twitter and dismissed Mnuchin’s criticism saying, “My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up.”
“So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” Greta added.
Mnuchin’s comments on Greta and climate activism
According to a report by NDTV, on being asked about Greta’s demand to disinvest in fossil fuels, Mnuchin responded, “Is she the chief economist? I’m confused … After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”
Mnuchin said that he did not believe there are only a few years left to avert climate apocalypse. “There are a lot of other important issues threatening civilization. I think that the youth needs to understand: climate is one issue that needs to be put in contexts with lots of other things,” he added, citing health and nuclear proliferation.
Trump’s criticism of young activists
Mnuchin was not the only US leader at Davos who took a jibe at Greta’s climate activism. Reportedly, at the panel discussion, Greta pointed out Trump’s announcement of one trillion tree initiative, saying that planting trees is not enough to deal with the climate emergency. She remarked that nothing much has been done to avert climate emergency and demanded a complete end to fossil fuels.
My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up. – Greta Thunberg
In his speech at another event on Tuesday, Trump went on to criticize the young climate change activists, without calling out Greta particularly. He called them “perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse” and suggested that the world should reject them. He added, “They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers. They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 70s, and an end of oil in the 1990s,” quotes New York Times.
We are being criticised like that all the time: Greta
Greta Thunberg ended her climate change activism at Davos by organizing a climate strike on Friday. She joined in the Friday for Future strike on the streets of Davos with many young activists. Speaking to a news conference before starting the demonstrations, Greta spoke on the criticism that comes her way. She said, “Of course it has no effect. We are being criticised like that all the time. If we cared about that, we would not be able to do what we do. We put ourselves in the spotlight.”
Speaking about her demands from world leaders about ending emissions, Greta mentioned that in the midst of the criticism, all her demands have been ignored. She said, “We had a few demands (coming into the World Economic Forum). Of course, these demands have been completely ignored. We expected nothing less.”
Picture Credit: Evening Standard
Rudrani is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.