Greta Thunberg: COP27 is a ‘scam’ that provides platform for ‘greenwashing, lying and cheating’
The Independent, 31 October 2022
Greta Thunberg has described climate summits such as the Cop27 conference taking place in Egypt next week as a “scam” that is “failing” humanity and the planet by not leading to “major changes”.
The Swedish activist said people in positions of power were using the high-profile gatherings for attention and were “greenwashing, lying and cheating”.
“As it is now Cops not are not really going to lead to any major changes, unless of course, we use them as an opportunity to mobilise,” she said on stage at the Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival on Sunday where she was promoting her new work The Climate Book, an anthology of essays on the climate crisis from over one hundred experts.
Activists must try to “make people realise what a scam this is and realise that these systems are failing us”, she added.
This week the UN warned that there is “no clear pathway” in place to limit global heating to 1.5C – a target from the 2016 Paris Agreement – as only a handful of countries had strengthened their pledges to take action.
In a wide-ranging keynote address and on-stage interview with the journalist Samira Ahmed, Ms Thunberg spoke on everything from politics and activism to how to deal with eco-anxiety.
Asked for her thoughts on the controversial tactics of groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, who have recently made headlines, including by throwing soup over Van Gough’s Sunflowers, the teenager said there were a broad range of actions so couldn’t generalise but that she thought it was “reasonable” to expect climate activists to try different kinds of actions.
“We’re right now in a very desperate position and many people are becoming desperate and are trying to find new methods because we realise that what we’ve been doing up until now has not done the trick,” she told Ahmed.
As for upsetting people, she said “harming people is one thing and making someone annoyed is a different thing”.
By Gloria Dickie
LONDON (Reuters) – Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday called out next month’s United Nations climate summit in Egypt for being “held in a tourist paradise in a country that violates many basic human rights.”
Speaking at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre where she was promoting her new book, “The Climate Book”, 19-year-old Thunberg dismissed the looming climate summit, known as COP27, as an opportunity for “people in power… to [use] greenwashing, lying and cheating.”
While Thunberg did attend protests in Glasgow last year for COP26, she said she won’t attend COP27, scheduled to be held from Nov. 6 to Nov. 18 in Sharm El Sheikh.
“The space for civil society is going to be extremely limited,” she said. “It’s important to leave space for those who need to be there. It will be difficult for activists to make their voices heard.”
Public demonstration is effectively banned in Egypt and limits on accreditation and attendance badges for activists have been a point of contention at previous U.N. climate summits.
Thunberg rose to prominence in 2018 at the age of 15 by staging school strikes in her native Sweden, becoming the face of the youth activist climate movement.
During Sunday’s event, she decried the “sustainability crisis” as a “crisis of information not getting through.”
Her book includes explanatory articles from over 100 climate experts, including renowned climate scientists Katharine Hayhoe and Michael Mann, as well as authors including Margaret Atwood.
“I wanted it to be educational, which is a bit ironic since my thing is school strikes,” she said.
Asked to comment on recent protest actions by Just Stop Oil activists which saw them throw soup at Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at London’s National Gallery, Thunberg said, “People are trying to find new methods because we realize that what we have been doing up until now has not done the trick. It’s only reasonable to expect these kinds of different actions.”