Last Thursday, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke in front of the French Parliament as part of a cross-party group about climate change called “Let’s Accelerate.” Thunberg, 16 years old, is best known for initiating school strikes to bring attention to the lack of governmental action on climate change. The protests began last August and since then have spread throughout 100 countries. In April, she gave an emotional TED talk on the topic as well.
In this speech, Thunberg directly references the most current IPCC report with the 2018 carbon budget. According to Thunberg, this budget will be gone within 8.5 years. In her bold fashion, Thunberg says, “Not one single time have I heard any politician, journalist, or business leader even mention these numbers. It is almost like you don’t even know they exist as if you have even read the latest IPCC report on which the future of our civilization is depending. Or, maybe you simply aren’t mature enough to tell it like it is.”
Her appearance was decried by many French conservatives, whom according to France 24 refer to her as the “Justin Beiber of ecology,” and an “apocalyptic guru.” Thunberg addresses those who did not attend the event in her speech. She said, “Some people have chosen not to listen to us, and that is fine we are, after all, just children, you don’t have to listen to us. But you do have to listen to the united science, the scientists, and that is all we ask, just unite behind the science.”
On the heels of this event, Thunberg announced via Twitter that she will be attending the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York in September. Since she does not fly due to carbon emissions caused by air travel, Thunberg plans to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a racing yacht.
According to the New York Times, the boat Thunberg has been offered to use for the journey—the Malizia II—features solar panels and underwater turbines for electricity generation. The head of the boat’s racing team, Pierre Casiraghi, told the New York Times that only a handful of similar zero-emission ships similar to the Malizia II exist. He stated to New York Times reporters that “we’re not going to use any fuel unless we have an emergency.”