Greta's perfect response to Trump's swipe

 

US President Donald has taken a subtle jab at a young activist, just hours after she ripped into him and other world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

But climate activist, Greta Thunberg, made sure she had the final word.

Ms Thunberg gave a powerful speech on Monday at the summit in which she accused world leaders of ignoring climate change.

Tears streamed down the 16-year-old's face as she chided them with the repeated phrase, "How dare you", in an emotional appeal for action.

Mr Trump later shared a video of her speech on Twitter and appeared to take a swipe at the teen.

"She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So Nice to see!" he wrote above a video of a visibly distressed Ms Thunberg.

But the Swedish schoolgirl took it in her stride, changing her Twitter bio soon after to describe herself as: "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future".

Ms Thunberg was lauded for the move by supporters on social media with the hashtag #GretaThunbergOutdidTrump quickly trending on Twitter in the US.

Her response was described by one commentator as "the ultimate mic drop" while others shared the tagline: "Make America Greta again".

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, Monday, September. 23, 2019. Picture: AP /Jason DeCrow.
Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, Monday, September. 23, 2019. Picture: AP /Jason DeCrow.

Mr Trump - who has denied climate change, called it a Chinese hoax and repealed US carbon-reduction policies - was not scheduled to attend but made the surprise visit before leaving to attend a religious freedoms meeting.

Heads of state from around the world, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have descended on the Big Apple this week to make new pledges to curb global-warming emissions.

Ms Thunberg accused them of ignoring 30 years of "crystal clear" science behind the climate crisis, saying: "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth - how dare you."

The Swedish schoolgirl, who travelled from Europe to New York for the summit on a zero-emissions sailboat, first came to worldwide attention when she started a lone protest outside her country's parliament more than a year ago. It was that very decision which culminated in Friday's global climate strikes.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here," she told the international heads of state.

"I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.

"Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.

Greta Thunberg stares down Donald Trump. Picture: Supplied
Greta Thunberg stares down Donald Trump. Picture: Supplied

"You say you hear us, and that you understand the urgency...I do not want to believe that. "Because if you really understood the situation, and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe."

She told the UN that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only gives the world a 50 per cent chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4C from now, which is a global goal. Those odds are not good enough, she said.

"We will not let you get away with this," Ms Thunberg continued. "Right now is where we draw the line."

Following Ms Thunberg's speech, she and 15 other children filed a complaint with the UN alleging that five of the world's major economies have violated their human rights by not taking adequate action to stop the unfolding climate crisis.

The 2019 Climate Action Summit kicked off at the UN on Monday, where world leaders gathered to discuss serious strategies to mitigate climate change.

Representatives of participating nations were told by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to come up with "concrete, realistic plans" to further their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and get to net zero emissions by 2050.

Leader after leader told the UN that they will do more to prevent a warming world from reaching even more dangerous levels. But as they made their pledges, they conceded it was not enough.

Sixty-six countries have promised to have more ambitious climate goals and 30 swore to be carbon neutral by midcentury, said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Echenique, who is hosting the next climate negotiations later this year.

Heads of nations such as Finland and Germany promised to ban coal within a decade. Several also mentioned goals of climate neutrality - when a country is not adding more heat-trapping carbon to the air than is being removed by plants and perhaps technology - by 2050.

Mr Trump dropped by, listened to German Chancellor Angela Merkel make detailed pledges, including going coal-free, and left without saying anything.

The US did not ask to have someone speak at the summit, UN officials said. And the UN Secretary-General had told countries they couldn't be on the agenda without making bold new proposals. Even though there was no speech by Mr Trump, he was repeatedly referenced.

In a none-too-subtle gibe at Mr Trump's plans to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Chinese state councillor Wang Yi said countries "must honour our commitments and follow through on the Paris Agreement".

"The withdrawal of certain parties will not shake the collective goal of the world community," Mr Wang said to applause.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the UN's special climate envoy, thanked Mr Trump for stopping by, adding that it might prove useful "when you formulate climate policy", drawing laughter and applause on the floor of the General Assembly.

Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands, said she represented "the most climate vulnerable people on Earth".

Her tiny country has increased its emission cut proposals in a way that would limit warming to that tight goal of 1.5C since pre-industrial times. "We are now calling on others to join us," Ms Heine said.

UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres opened the summit Monday by saying: "Earth is issuing a chilling cry: Stop." "Time is running out," Mr Guterres said. "But it is not too late."

Earlier, video footage of a frosty exchange shows Mr Trump appearing to ignore Ms Thunberg as he walks straight past her with his entourage. She can be seen with her eyes fixed on him, holding her steely gaze as he moves through the corridor.

 

 

- With AP

 

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin


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