Climate activist Greta Thunberg has ruffled numerous feathers after suggesting the UK is “lying” about its status as a climate leader.
Speaking at a UNICEF press briefing, three years after she launched her ‘Fridays For Future’ campaign, the teenage environmental activist condemned governments around the world for continuing to treat the climate crisis as a “faraway, distant problem”.
Turning her attention to Britain, the 18-year-old reduced rebuffed Boris Johnson’s claim – made in April this year – that the country has almost halved its carbon emissions over the past 30 years.
“There is a lie that the UK is a climate leader and that they have reduced their CO2 emissions by 44 per cent since 1990, or whatever,” she said.
She continued: “And of course if you don’t include all emissions of course the statistics are going to look much nicer. But, if you include things like aviation, shipping, outsourcing, and the imports … and the burning of biomass, it doesn’t really look that good.
“So I’m really hoping that we will stop referring to the UK as a climate leader, because if you look at the reality, that is simply not true.”
Her assessment divided opinion online, with a number of commentators condemning her comments:
Why has Saint Greta got such an obsession with the UK? Why doesn't she focus on the real culprits....China, USA and India?
However, others came to Thunberg’s defence, highlighting how the graphs posted by Harwood actually proved her point as they missed out key carbon-emitting sectors.
@RuthSocial @tomhfh Also the graphs don’t include our consumption emissions so don’t give a full picture.
— Fashion and Frappes (@Fashion and Frappes)
Another person pointed out: “So in response to her point that the UK is burnishing its position by only reporting certain categories of emissions you have posted a bunch of charts which only report one category of emissions?”
@tomhfh @DJSkelton So in response to her point that the UK is burnishing its position by only reporting certain cat… https://t.co/a61u6s0olB
The Swedish teen founded ‘Fridays For Future’ on August 2018, 2018, at the age of 15. The youth-led movement encourages students to skip school on Fridays to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.
The launch of UNICEF’s new report, which prompted Thunberg’s criticism of the British government, coincides with the third anniversary of the strike movement.
In a series of tweets to mark the occasion, she wrote: ”We kids most often don’t do what you tell us to do. We do as you do. And since you grown-ups don’t give a damn about my future, I won’t either. My name is Greta and I’m in ninth grade. And I am school striking for the climate until election day.
“This is what I wrote exactly 3 years ago - August 20th 2018 - during the first day of the school strike. 3 years later I am still here, but alongside millions from all over the world. Since the first school strike the world has emitted over 120 billion tonnes of CO2.
“The changes necessary are still nowhere in sight. This crisis has still never once been treated as a crisis. But people are waking up and demanding climate justice. And we’ll always continue the fight for our future and present. We have no other choice.”