'Never give up,' Swedish teen tells Iowa climate activists after U.N. summit 'failure'

\'Never give up,\' Swedish teen tells Iowa climate activists after U.N. summit \'failure\'  

By Alan Devall

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Reuters) - Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Friday urged her supporters to "never give up" in demanding urgent steps to fight climate change after world leaders failed to act decisively at a recent United Nations summit.

"As we all know, the UN Climate Action Summit was a failure," the 16-year-old Swede told a cheering crowd just off the campus of the University of Iowa. "No matter what, we need to continue," Thunberg told an adoring crowd that welcomed her with chants of "Greta, Greta."

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the rally to listen to the Swedish activist. Some held signs with slogans such as "If you breathe the air you should care" and "Science not silence."

Thunberg's campaign began as a lonely vigil outside the Swedish parliament but rapidly grew into a global movement of activists demanding urgent action on climate. In recent weeks, millions poured onto streets around the globe in protests and Thunberg addressed the United Nations on the issue last month.

"She is the face of climate change," said Lena Kosinski, a 21-year-old student at the University of Iowa. "It's nice to have not only a young person, but a female leading the change."

Activists at the rally renewed calls for the University of Iowa to cease operations of its coal-burning plant. Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton said pressure from the young activists had been instrumental in speeding up efforts towards a local action plan to tackle climate change.

A polarizing figure in the climate change debate, Thunberg is venerated by many peers and ridiculed by some critics. She is the odds on favourite to win the Nobel Peace Prize this month, though her aggressive style may turn off some on the Nobel committee.

Thunberg denounced world leaders for failing to tackle climate change and accused them of "stealing her dreams" in an impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last month.

Nearly 70 countries announced plans to beef up their Paris climate agreement pledges, but most major economies including the United States and China failed to announce stronger new measures.

Experts said there was a huge gap between what Thunberg demanded in her opening remarks and youth called for on the streets and what world leaders announced at the summit.

With events such as extreme weather, thawing permafrost and sea-level rise unfolding much faster than expected, scientists say the urgency of the climate crisis has intensified since the signing of the Paris accord in 2015.

U.S. President Donald Trump intends to pull the United States out of the international deal that aims to reduce carbon emissions. Under terms of the pact, that cannot formally happen before Nov. 4, 2020.

(Reporting by Adam Devall in Iowa City and Maria Caspani in New York; Writing by Maria Caspani; Editing by Scott Malone, Bill Berkrot and David Gregorio)


More Related News

Philippines' Duterte to VP: keep state secrets or lose your 'drugs tsar' post

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to remove the vice president from her "drugs tsar" post if she shared state secrets with foreign individuals and entities.

U.N. warns Bolivia crisis could
U.N. warns Bolivia crisis could 'spin out of control' as death toll mounts

The United Nations warned on Saturday violence in Bolivia could "spin out of control" following recent skirmishes between security forces and coca farmers loyal to ousted President Evo Morales that have left nine dead. Morales resigned under pressure from Bolivia's police and military last Sunday after evidence of vote rigging tainted his Oct. 20 election victory. The leftist and charismatic former coca farmer has since called his ouster a right-wing "coup" and decried growing allegations of repression by security forces under interim President and former conservative lawmaker Jeanine Anez.

UN renews C.Africa peacekeeping mission
UN renews C.Africa peacekeeping mission
  • World
  • 2019-11-15 18:35:31Z

The United Nations Security Council extended the UN's peacekeeping mission in the violence-plagued Central African Republic for another year on Friday. It is the first renewal since 14 militias signed up to an eighth attempted peace agreement with the Central African government early this year. One of the world's poorest and most unstable nations, CAR has suffered several violent crises since 2003 when former president Francois Bozize seized power in a coup.

Congo's president hopes Ebola outbreak will end this year
  • World
  • 2019-11-15 13:46:46Z

Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi says he's hopeful the Ebola outbreak in his country will end in the coming weeks. Over 2,000 people have died in the outbreak which the United Nations declared an international emergency in July. Speaking in Berlin after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Tshisekedi said he's willing to work with any country interested in Congo's vast natural resources, including China and Russia.

South African police disperse refugees protesting attacks
South African police disperse refugees protesting attacks
  • World
  • 2019-11-15 10:26:46Z

Shield-carrying South African police on Friday removed about 150 refugees who the United Nations refugee agency said forced their way into its compound while protesting recent anti-immigrant attacks. The police action in the capital, Pretoria, followed one last month in which police arrested and dispersed hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers, including children, who had camped for weeks outside the U.N. agency's office in Cape Town. A U.N. statement said they want protection and relocation to a safer country.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Middle East