Greta makes splash at Davos with blunt comments at panel

Greta Thunberg accuses Davos billionaires of ‘fuelling the destruction of the planet’ as she arrives at Swiss forum

  • Days after being detained by German authorities Thunberg has arrived at Davos
  • Her inflammatory comments criticise the wealthy attendees at the forum
  • Thunberg stresses need to hear more voices of those effected by climate change

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has accused attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos of ‘fuelling the destruction of the planet’ as she arrived at the event in the Swiss Alps.

Alongside other climate activists, Greta returns to Davos to press her battle against fossil fuels at the annual forum during a panel that debated how the world can rapidly accelerate the clean energy transition

This comes shortly after she was released from detainment following her arrest whilst protesting the expansion of a coal mine in Germany. 

Thunberg, famed for her direct and blunt approach, has 

‘We are right now in Davos where (there are) basically the people who are mostly fuelling the destruction of the planet,’ she said, adding: ‘The people who are at the very core of the climate crisis, the people who are investing in fossil fuels etc, and yet somehow these are the people that we seem to rely on for solving our problems.’  

She also insisted that we should listen to those actually affected by the climate crisis, those on the frontline. 

The 20-year-old Swede made a splash when she attended the forum as a teenager in January 2020, warning that ‘our house is still on fire’ and complaining that her demands had been ‘completely ignored’.

Then-US president Donald Trump used his speech at the same forum to bash ‘the perennial prophets of doom’ as Thunberg looked on from the audience.

This week, she and fellow activists Helena Gualinga of Ecuador, Vanessa Nakate of Uganda and Luisa Neubauer of Germany launched an online petition demanding that energy firms stop any new oil, gas or coal extraction projects – or face possible legal action. More than 870,000 people had signed the petition by late Wednesday.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden, speaking next to (L-R) Fatih Birol, Head of the International Energy Agency, and Climate activists Luise Neubauer of Germany, Helena Gualinga of Ecuador, Vanessa Nakate of Uganda

The four campaigners will be among the panellists to discuss with Birol on Thursday calls to end new investments in fossil fuels and what should be done to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, organisers said.

The IEA, which advises governments, said in a report in October that the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was causing changes that could hasten the transition to a ‘more sustainable and secure energy system’.

Thunberg was among a group of people hauled away by police on Tuesday during a protest near the German village of Luetzerath, which is being razed to make way for a coal mine expansion. They were not formally arrested.

Thunberg arrived at Davos only shortly after being released by German police after protesting the expansion of a coal mine in Germany

Her actions were praised in Davos by former US vice president Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change.

‘I agree with her efforts to stop that coal mine,’ Gore told a panel discussion on global warming, adding that young people around the world despaired of efforts by leaders to tackle the climate crisis. ‘We are not winning’ the fight against global warming, he added.

Climate change is a major topic at the World Economic Forum, where businesses and governments have come under pressure to do more to ensure that the world meets the increasingly elusive goal of limiting warming to 1.5C.

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