- On Monday, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg addressed heads of state and other government officials who had gathered in New York for the UN climate summit.
- Thunberg, 16, tweeted Monday that she, along with 15 other children from across the globe, had filed a legal complaint.
- The complaint accuses Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey of inaction on global warming that violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- French President Emmanuel Macron told Europe 1 that her stance was “very radical” and was likely to “antagonize societies.”
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On Monday, the teen Swedish activist Greta Thunberg addressed heads of state and other government officials who had gathered in New York City for the UN climate summit — and it certainly wasn’t a speech anyone will be forgetting in a hurry.
While delivering a withering and impassioned rebuke to the UN, the Swedish climate activist accused five of the world’s major leaders of betraying younger generations through inadequate action on the worsening climate crisis.
“I shouldn’t be up here,” Thunberg told the United Nations Climate Action Summit, visibly moved and angry. “I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean. You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Thunberg tweeted Monday that she, along with 15 other children hailing from 12 countries, had filed a legal complaint accusing five countries of inaction on global warming that violated the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The treaty, which is 30 years old, is one of the most widely ratified in history and children have been able to file legal complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child since 2014, according to France Info.
“Today at 11:30 I and 15 other children from around the world filed a legal complaint against 5 nations over the climate crisis through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Thunberg tweeted.
—Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 23, 2019
Why the biggest culprits among the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitters haven’t been included in the complaint
The complaint called out nations that have ratified the treaty but that, according to the activist, had failed to uphold their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey were mentioned in the petition.
The children slammed the countries, stressing that the greenhouse-gas cuts the countries agreed to were still inadequate in helping reach the goal set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Scientists have warned that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius in global average temperatures will result not just in rising sea levels but in a hike in the regularity and severity of heat waves and other serious consequences.
The five named countries join 44 others that ratified the convention’s power to hear complaints against them; however, the United States and China, which are the biggest culprits among the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitters, haven’t signed the section of the treaty allowing children to seek justice for infringements.
As a result, China and the US were not included in the complaint.
As a result of this petition, the committee will have to investigate before making recommendations to the states against which the complaint was made.
The children involved are demanding that countries involved immediately adjust their climate goals and work with other nations to address the crisis.
Macron describes Thunberg’s stance as ‘very radical’
In response to Thunberg’s complaint, French President Emmanuel Macron told Europe 1 that it was “very radical” and was likely to “antagonize societies.”
“All the movements of our youth — or our not-so-young — are helpful,” Macron said. “But they must now focus on those who are furthest away, those who are seeking to block the way.”
The head of state stressed that he didn’t feel “that the French government nor the German government, currently, were blocking the way.”
Macron also said he wanted young people to “help us put pressure on those who are blocking the way” and to “partake in very clear action.”
US President Donald Trump chose to make light of the incident.
On Twitter, he shared a video of Thunberg delivering the scathing talk to world leaders at the summit, accompanied by the caption: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019