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Greta Thunberg
courtesy of Instagram/@gretathunberg

Greta Thunberg addresses world leaders about their ties to fossil fuels

With other young climate activists, she’s placing renewed pressure on the global elite ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos

Greta Thunberg’s address at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos was likely many people’s introduction to the teenage climate activist. On the back of her (ongoing) school strikes, she spoke fearlessly to the global elite, urging them to take action against climate change, and this year she’s be back with more strong messaging.

In a new opinion piece for the Guardian, she (and other young climate activists) have again addressed those that will attend the conference in Davos – some of the world’s most prominent political, financial, and business leaders – urging them to cut ties with the fossil fuel economy.

“We demand that at this year’s forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels,” she writes, along with her co-writers, who hail from around the world.

“We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want this done now – as in right now.”

The message is a typically stark acceptance of where we’re at, environmentally. It places the potential remedy centre-stage – like last year, when Thunberg pointed out, “the main solution is so simple that even a small child can understand it” – although the activists acknowledge that it “may not be easy” to enact.

“But the climate crisis is also extremely complicated,” they add, “and this is an emergency. In an emergency you step out of your comfort zone and make decisions that may not be very comfortable or pleasant.”

Since Thunberg’s address in early 2019, she’s helped inspire the declaration of a climate emergency and the biggest environmental protest in history. She’s also been the target of many, weirdly obsessive attacks from Donald Trump (which, let’s be honest, can only be a good sign).

However, as she points out in the article, global banks and other financial players continue to spend millions investing in and subsidising fossil fuels. Let’s hope renewed pressure at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, which begins January 21 and will be attended by climate activists and school strikers, will persuade them to move in the right direction.