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Greta Thunberg: The World is Waking Up



Greta Thunberg



UN General Assembly, New York


This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. 
I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope? How dare you! 
You have taken away my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. 
People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! 
For more than thirty years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough. 
When the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight. 
You say you ‘hear’ us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I don’t want to believe that. Because if you fully understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. 
And I refuse to believe that. 
The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in ten years only gives us a 50 per cent chance of staying below 1.5°C and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. 
Fifty per cent may be acceptable to you. 
But since those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution, nor the aspect of equity, then a 50 per cent risk is simply not acceptable to us, we who have to live with the consequences. We do not accept these odds. 
To have a 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5°C global temperature rise, the best odds given by the IPCC, the world had 420 gigatonnes of CO2 left to emit back on 1 January 2018. 
Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business as usual and some technical solutions! 
With today’s emission levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8.5 years. 
There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. 
Your generation is failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. 
And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. 
We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. 
The world is waking up. 
And change is coming, whether you like it or not.