This Monday, Greta Thunberg, the teen Swedish activist spoke in the presence of heads of state and other government officials who had assembled for the special United Nations climate summit in New York City and the impassioned speech certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry. While delivering a contemptuous and fervent rebuke to the UN, the Swedish climate activist accused five major world leaders of betraying the younger generations through inadequate action on the deteriorating climate crisis.
A visibly moved and angry Thunberg addressed the UN summit saying, “I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean. You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Also, Thunberg tweeted that she, along with 15 other children from 12 countries, had filed a legal complaint suing five countries of inaction on global warming that violated the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The 30 years old treaty is one of the most widely ratified in history and according to France Info, children were empowered to file legal complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child since 2014.
Today at 11:30 I and 15 other children from around the world filed a legal complaint against 5 nations over the climate crisis through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
These 5 nations are the largest emitters that have ratified the convention.https://t.co/ZSyDMTYFSF
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 23, 2019
According to the activist, the complaint hailed nations that have endorsed the treaty but had failed to uphold their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey were named in the petition. The children criticized the countries, stressing that the greenhouse-gas cuts guaranteed by the countries were still inadequate in helping achieve the goal set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Scientists across the world have warned that an increase of 2° Celsius in global average temperatures will result in rising sea levels as well as in a surge in the regularity and severity of heat waves and other somber consequences. The five mentioned countries join 44 other nations that ratified the convention’s power to hear complaints against them. However, the biggest culprits among the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitters viz. the United States and China haven’t signed the section of the treaty that permits children to seek justice for infringements. Therefore, China and the US were not counted in the complaint.
Consequent to this petition, the committee will have to investigate before making recommendations to the countries against which the complaint was lodged. The children are demanding that the five countries must immediately adjust their climate goals and work with other nations to address the crisis.
In a response to Thunberg’s legal stand, French President Emmanuel Macron told Europe 1 that it was “very radical” and was likely to “antagonize societies.”
Macron said, “All the movements of our youth — or our not-so-young — are helpful. But they must now focus on those who are furthest away, those who are seeking to block the way.”
The French head of state emphasized that he didn’t feel “that the French government nor the German government, currently, were blocking the way.”
Macron also stated that he wanted young people to “help us put pressure on those who are blocking the way” and to “partake in very clear action.”
US President Donald Trump chose to joke about the incident. On Twitter, he shared a video of an emotionally charged Thunberg delivering the derisive talk to world leaders at the summit, with the caption: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”