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Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has slammed EU politicians for failing to acknowledge the severity of the climate crisis. After the EU sealed a historic €750 billion (US$870 billion) coronavirus recovery deal, Thunberg criticised leaders for not putting sustainability and climate policies at the heart of the package.
In the early hours of Tuesday (July 21), EU leaders reached an agreement on the recovery fund after a marathon 5-day summit. While many hailed the deal as a victory, Thunberg along with other leaders of the youth climate strike movement quickly pointed out that only 30% of the fund will go towards climate policies, with little details to back up these plans.
The Swedish climate activist says it demonstrates the failure of EU leaders to recognise the scale and severity of the climate emergency.
“As long as the climate crisis is not being treated as a crisis, the changes that are necessary will not happen,” said Thunberg in conversation with the Guardian.
Whether it is the fight for social, racial, climate or environmental justice, gender equality, democracy, human-, indigenous peoples’- LGBTQ- and animal rights, freedom of speech and press, or the fight for a balanced, wellbeing, functioning life supporting system. If we don’t have equality, we have nothing.
Youth Climate Activists in an Open Letter to the EU
Meanwhile, Luisa Neubauer, a student climate protest leader in Germany, told the paper that it was hugely concerning that no urgent policy measures on climate action were outlined in the deal.
“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.”
Earlier this month, the group of student climate strikers wrote an open letter to EU leaders demanding they act immediately to avoid complete climate catastrophe. The letter has since been signed by over 100,000 people, including major names from all walks of life, from environmental journalist George Monbiot to Naomi Klein and actor Mark Ruffalo, along with over 320 of the world’s top scientists.
“When you signed the Paris Agreement the EU nations committed to leading the way. The EU has the economic and political possibility to do so, therefore it is our moral responsibility. And now you need to actually deliver on your promises,” said the letter.
The letter also acknowledges the intersectionality between environmental and all other forms of justice, from racial, social and gender to democratic equality, a point that has been reiterated in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the brutal death of George Floyd in late may.
“Whether it is the fight for social, racial, climate or environmental justice, gender equality, democracy, human-, indigenous peoples’- LGBTQ- and animal rights, freedom of speech and press, or the fight for a balanced, wellbeing, functioning life supporting system. If we don’t have equality, we have nothing. We don’t have to choose, and divide ourselves over which crisis or issue we should prioritize, because it is all interconnected.”
Lead image courtesy of AFP.