Davos: Greta Thunberg accuses WEF attendees of fuelling the ‘destruction of planet’

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday (January 19) accused the attendees of the World Economic Forum (WEF) of fuelling the destruction of the planet, as she spoke during a round-table discussion in Davos between climate campaigners and International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol. Thunberg participated in the discussion along with fellow activists Helena Gualinga from Ecuador, Vanessa Nakate from Uganda and Luisa Neubauer from Germany. The four activists called out energy companies and financial institutions that were financing investments in fossil fuels. 

“We are right now in Davos where (there are) basically the people who are mostly fuelling the destruction of the planet,” Thunberg said, news agency AFP reported. “The people who are at the very core of the climate crisis, the people who are investing in fossil fuels etc, and yet somehow these are the people that we seem to rely on for solving our problems,” she added. 

Thunberg pointed out that without massive public pressure from the outside, these people would go as far as they possibly could, as long as they could get away with it. “They will continue to invest in fossil fuels. They will continue to throw people under the bus for their own gain.”

The Swedish climate activist also said that the global emissions of greenhouse gases were still increasing. Apart from Thunberg, Helena Gualinga from Ecuador said during the round-table discussion that she, Greta, Vanessa and Luisa created a “cease and desist” letter to oil CEOs urging them to phase out from new fossil fuels. 

“They, we know that they knew there’s a report that has come out saying that they knew way before us what they were doing when they were exploring for oil. They knew what the consequences would be of C02 gas emissions. They knew the irreversible consequences, the huge impact it would have on people’s livelihood if the huge impact it would have on the environment,” Gualinga said, news agency Reuters reported. 

Earlier this week, these four activists launched an online petition demanding energy firms stop any new oil gas or coal extraction projects. On Thursday, Helena Gualinga said the petition was reaching nearly 900,000 signatures which showed the commitment of the youth, which also showed the commitment “of civil society and people and the change that we are demanding.”

Meanwhile, International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol said that his presence alongside the four activists was a very important signal he wanted to give the world. “We have to see that climate change needs to get more attention. Unfortunately, the attention to climate change is sliding down,” Birol said and highlighted that the energy sector had to be transformed or  “we have no chance whatsoever to reach our climate targets”.


(With inputs from agencies)

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