Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit


With the eyes of the country on Westminster it may have distracted us from the UN New York Climate Action Summit and its fearful message of the need to redouble efforts to counter the effects of humanity’s run-away acceleration towards destroying its own home, and that of every living creature that will be affected.

The Guardian printed the whole of Greta Thunberg’s speech yesterday under the sobering title quotation, “If you fail to act on climate, we will never forgive you.” Her words sting, as they should, and world leaders, with the rest of us, must feel the anger. But there is cool, calm logic in her analysis too.

The analysis that she provided in her speech earlier this week was based upon percentage risk. In other words, she was commenting on how close to the scientific estimation of utter disaster countries are apparently prepared to go, in some sort of gamble that things can be kept in check. The evidence is that far from the scientists over-playing the danger, the state of things is probably significantly worse than they fear.

So Greta Thunberg states it as it is, “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.” Then comes her analysis of the scientific data compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, regarding the Carbon Dioxide emissions and how little time there is to reverse the critically high state of things accepted by the nations of the world today. It makes grim reading.

As she draws her speech to a close, she says: “…. you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you.”

John Mann