News World Greta Thunberg to U.S. Congress on climate change: 'Wake up'

Greta Thunberg to U.S. Congress on climate change: ‘Wake up’

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a global movement for climate change, delivered a strong message to U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday: “Wake up.”

Wrapping up a six-day visit to Washington, D.C., the 16-year-old Thunberg rallied a room full of Democratic lawmakers and activists, urging them to follow scientific warnings and push for strong measures to combat climate change.

“This is not the time and place for dreams. This is the time to wake up,” Thunberg said behind a lowered podium at the ornate House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee room.

Thunberg spent the day in Congress and on the steps of the Supreme Court, lending her star power to join U.S and youth activists who were drumming up attention and support ahead of a global climate strike on Friday.

She began with a pointed message before a U.S. congressional hearing: “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.”

Thunberg, founder of the “Fridays For Future” weekly school walkouts to demand government climate-change action, submitted a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the hearing in lieu of testimony. It urged rapid, unprecedented changes to the way people live in order to keep temperatures from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by 2030.

“People in general don’t seem to be aware of how severe the crisis” is, Thunberg said, urging lawmakers to “unite behind the science” and take action, saying that people need to treat climate change “like the existential crisis it is.”

Thunberg was one of four students invited to a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, to provide the next generation’s views on climate change.

“BIGGEST CARBON POLLUTER”

Her first appearance took place last Friday in front of the White House, where she encouraged fellow young activists to keep fighting to be heard. She did not mention President Donald Trump, a climate change denier who moved to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement early in his tenure, in her remarks.

On Wednesday, she called out the United States for being the “biggest carbon polluter in history” and the top producer of oil.

“And yet you are also the only nation in the world who has signaled with strong intention to leave the Paris agreement because it was a bad deal for the U.S.,” she said.

Trump earlier in the day announced plans to revoke California’s ability to set emissions standards for vehicles that are more stringent than the federal standards – the latest move in his administration’s multi-pronged attack on California’s efforts to reduce vehicle emissions, which could slow the deployment of electric and more efficient vehicles.

A conservative climate-change advocate at Wednesday’s hearing, 21-year-old Benji Backer from Wisconsin, told lawmakers that young conservatives also favour climate change action, but through an approach focused on technology and allowing the continued use of fossil fuels. “As a proud American, as a life-long conservative and as a young person, I urge you to accept climate change for the reality it is and respond accordingly. We need your leadership,” he said.

Backer praised Thunberg and other climate activists for putting the issue at the forefront of politics, but said there was time to take more measured action.

In addition to meetings on Capitol Hill, Thunberg met former President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Obama described the teenager on Twitter as “already one of the planet’s greatest advocates.”

Though Thunberg mostly addressed admiring Democratic lawmakers, she also spoke to some Republican lawmakers at the House hearing.

Republican representatives praised the students for raising awareness about climate change but disagreed over what action the United States should take when emerging economies continue to emit greenhouse gases as their economies grow.

Representative Garret Graves from Louisiana said his state was affected by rising sea levels and that he supported the U.S. emission reduction target enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, but he criticized the pact for how it treats emerging economies like China.

“I think that signing on to an agreement…that allows for China to have a 50% increase in greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2030 is inappropriate,” he said.

Thunberg responded that in her home country, Sweden, people similarly criticize the United States for not taking enough action. “The same argument is being used against you,” she said.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Rain on the way all across Cyprus, snow on Troodos mountain

Rain all across Cyprus is on the way and so is snowfall on Troodos mountain, according to the Mediterranean island’s Met Office. The depth of...

Cyprus’ municipal solid waste per inhabitant among highest in EU

Cyprus' municipal solid waste per inhabitant is one of the highest in the EU, according to data released on Tuesday by the island's Statistical...

Help desk for “CyprusFlightPass” e-platform in operation as of Monday

A help desk assisting passengers who intend to travel to Cyprus from abroad and may have queries regarding the use of the e-platform “CyprusFlightPass”...

UK to unveil hotel quarantine plans, public told not to book vacations

Britain will announce on Tuesday whether it will bring in mandatory quarantine in hotels for some or all arrivals, the country's coronavirus vaccination minister...

Sokratis joins Olympiakos after Arsenal exit

Former Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has joined Olympiakos Piraeus on a deal until the end of the 2022-23 season, the Greek Super League champions...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...