Climate campaigner, Greta Thunberg, has lashed out at EU politicians, accusing them of failing to recognise the gravity of the climate emergency.
According to Thunberg, the EU's €750bn recovery plan is inadequate for handling the issue of climate change, and proves that politicians are still not taking the climate emergency seriously.
“They are still denying the fact and ignoring the fact that we are facing a climate emergency, and the climate crisis has still not once been treated as a crisis,” said Thunberg. “As long as the climate crisis is not being treated as a crisis, the changes that are necessary will not happen.”
An agreement on the recovery fund was reached by EU leaders earlier this week, in which 30% of the package was pledged towards climate policies. However, the exact details were not specified.
Leading figures in the European school strikes movement, including Thunberg, called the package insufficient. A key figure in the German school strikes movement, Luisa Neubauer, said that politicians were frustrating young people.
“We are asking our leaders to take care of the most fundamental thing: the safety of us, the safety of people around the world, the safety of our futures,” said Neubauer. “It is worrying on a democratic level when you ask for such substantial things, which seem so obvious, and yet you see how leaders are widely ignoring it, or not considering it to be as important as other things.”
Another key person in the school strikes movement in Belgium, Adélaïde Charlier, called out politicians who don't make changes to policy, despite adopting the language of the climate action movement:
“When leaders minimise the climate crisis, I feel it is more dangerous than leaders that outright deny it…because then we actually feel we can rely on them and we are actually on the right path and that is dangerous and wrong.”
An open letter has been written by the group urging EU leaders to act swiftly to avoid worsening the consequences of the climate crisis.
The letter includes some of the world's leading scientists in its 80,000 signatories, and argues that the current coronavirus crisis has proven that leaders are capable of taking urgent action when they see it fit, but that leaders have not shown the same level of urgency in response to the climate crisis.
“It is now clearer than ever that the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, neither from the politicians, media, business nor finance,” the letter says. “And the longer we keep pretending that we are on a reliable path to lower emissions and that the actions required to avoid a climate disaster are available within today’s system…the more precious time we will lose.”
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