Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg filed a complaint with the United Nations on Monday alleging that five of the world’s major economies violated her human rights by not fighting climate change hard enough.
Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede, was joined by 15 other children from 12 countries. They announced the move at a press conference across the street from the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York.
“The message that we want to send is that we’ve had enough,” Thunberg declared.
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
Thunberg delivered her message more forcefully in a speech at the climate summit earlier in the day. She bitterly accused world leaders of destroying her future with their inaction on climate change.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said. “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!”
Greta Thunberg has a climate complaint
In their complaint, Thunberg and her peers charged Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey with violating their human rights and putting their future livelihoods at risk. They said that the countries have not used their resources or cooperated with others “to prevent the deadly and foreseeable consequences” of climate change.
The children’s demand was that the countries immediately step up their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases to keep global temperatures from rising more less 2 degrees Celsius, the goal set by the 2015 Paris climate accord. Scientists have warned that higher temperatures could cause irreversible and destructive changes to the climate.
However, the world’s top climate-warmer, China, which accounts for 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, was notably absent from the complaint. The omission earned Thunberg further derision from conservative commentators, including conservative TV host Eric Bolling.
Greta Thunberg filed a U.N. complaint against 5 countries for not stopping climate change.
China – the world’s largest polluter (by all measures)- is not one of the countries she filed against….
Is this a massive sham or are these people that ill-informed?@realDonaldTrump
— Eric Bolling?? (@ericbolling) September 24, 2019
Also missing from the complaint were United States, which comes in a distant second place on the list, and third-place India, fourth-place Russia and fifth-place Japan. That’s because the biggest polluters were not among the 44 countries that signed the portion of a U.N. treaty that empowered the children to seek justice for potential violations.
French President Emanuel Macron suggested in an interview Tuesday with Europe 1, that the children’s priorities were confused.
“All the movements of our youth — or our not-so-young — are helpful,” he said. “But they must now focus on those who are furthest away, those who are seeking to block the way.”
Macron, who has sought to be a global leader in the fight against climate change, called the children’s complaint “very radical” and said it was likely to “antagonize societies.”
He insisted that neither France nor Germany are “currently blocking the way.”
President Donald Trump, for his part, seemed to take Thunberg less seriously. On Monday night, he tweeted a clip of her emotional speech, commenting: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Thunberg later changed her Twitter bio to read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”