Teenager rebukes the EU on climate policy

Greta Thunberg #schoolstrike4climateGreta Thunberg is the initiator of the movement #schoolstrike4climate. Photo: Facebook

Greta Thunberg gives it to the EU on climate policy

Head of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker had to face the music when climate activist Greta Thunberg (16) came to Brussels. “It’s their mess that we clean up!” she thunders.

Greta Thunberg gives it to the EU on climate policy

Head of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker had to face the music when climate activist Greta Thunberg (16) came to Brussels. It’s their mess that we clean up, she rebukes.

“Tens of thousands of kids school go on strike for the climate in the streets of Brussels. Hundreds of thousands are doing the same around the world. We are striking because we have done our homework, and some of us are here today,” Thunberg states.

Flanked by the leaders of the student actions in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, she speaks before a hall full of EU tops, including the Chief of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

“People always tell us they are so hopeful – that they hope we youngsters will save the world. But we are not hopeful,” Thunberg continues adding:

“We simply don’t have time to wait for us to grow up and take over!”


Greta Thunberg has already become an icon for student actions, which are now spreading from one country to the next in Europe. It all began when she initiated her strike for the climate in Sweden last year.

On Thursday, she is marching together with the Belgian students which she has inspired.

It was Anuna de Wever and Kyra Gantois who took the initiative for the marches in Belgium, where tens of thousands of students are skipping school every Thursday for the last few weeks in order to attend.

Gantois tells NTB that she has no idea how it got so big.

“Anuna and I only made a video where we said, «come and join us!» And then people came,” she muses.

Demands stricter EU goals

“Their demand is for a substantial increase in the effort. The level of ambition of the EU is far from big enough!” Thunberg thunders.

She points to the ambition of cutting climate gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 – a target which Juncker proposes to increase to 45 per cent. That is, however, not enough, according to Thunberg.

She believes that the EU must cut emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2030, if the climate targets are to be achieved.

“Many politicians won’t talk to us. Good! We don’t want to talk to them either. We want them to talk to the researchers instead. Listen to them! We just repeat what they say and have said for decades,” she elaborates.


Thunberg, hotly tells off those who claim that the student action is a result of Russian manipulation on the web, and criticises the children for skipping school.

“Those are just desperate attempts to avert the focus from the issue,” she asserts.

“If you think we should attend school instead, then I think you’d rather put your work aside and take our place in the streets. Or even better: Join us! Then we might make this go even faster. Just don’t ask students not to do anything, ” the climate activist bawls out, adding.

“You can’t just sit on your thumbs and wait for hope to come. Then you act just like a pampered, irresponsible baby!”

“We’ve begun to clean up your mess. And we don’t give up until we’re done!” she exclaims.

Glad for the engagement

Juncker, for his part, has little to add when he gets the word afterwards. He jokes that he still hasn’t recovered completely after Wednesday’s meeting with the Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May.

“But I’m glad to see youngsters demonstrate in favour of the climate in Europe,” Juncker responds. Juncker winds up with that he, himself, demonstrated outside of school hours when he was young.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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