Greta Thunberg at #DavosAgenda: Here’s how climate experts responded to her speech

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Mark McCord, Writer, Formative Content

  • Greta Thunberg has urged world leaders to take immediate steps to address the environmental crisis.
  • Activists from around the world share her concern that international and national climate commitments aren’t being translated quickly enough into sustainable action.
  • Greenpeace Executive Director says COVID-19 pandemic has shown that only a multilateral approach to tackling climate change will work.

Greta Thunberg‘s latest criticism of inaction over climate change has been welcomed by activists and economists.

In a video message to the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda week of virtual meetings, the Swedish campaigner accused political and business leaders of dragging their feet on tackling the crisis.

Proposals to reverse global warming are “vague, insufficient, hypothetical targets way into the future”, she said.

“You’ve now had more than three decades of bla bla bla. How many more do you need?” Thunberg asked the annual gathering, held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders should not forget previous commitments to action, she said, urging them to “implement annual binding carbon budgets based on the current best available science”.

“The climate and ecological crisis can unfortunately no longer be solved within today’s systems,” Thunberg said.

We asked five activists, leaders and economists to respond to her speech. Here’s what they said…

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace

a pictue of jenifer morgan
Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace Image: WEF Flikr / Walter Duerst

Greenpeace’s Executive Director said many people around the world agreed with the teenage activist’s call for immediate action.

The pandemic has “shown us where multilateralism can make a real difference in finding solutions. And these are valuable lessons as we turn to the bigger crisis upon us, the climate crisis”, she said.

“Globally, we need strong rules to counter the climate emergency and to fight inequality. Environmental and social bodies should be able to impose sanctions and fines.

“Corporate accountability and liability need to extend to all corporate impacts on people and the environment around the world. Tax rules, similarly, need to be revamped to put people and planet first.”

Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University

a picture of Kenneth Rogoff
Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University. Image: WEF Flikr / Boris Baldinger

The public policy and economics professor said Thunberg’s ability to rally young people would lead to change but “ultimately, politicians are the ones who need to be held accountable”.

He suggested ”a global compact” between business and governments was needed to translate sustainability pledges into action.

He also called on wealthy countries to offer technical and financial support to help poorer countries move to cleaner energy and higher environmental standards. Among the tools that could bring that about is a global carbon tax, he said.

“It’s not really very complicated what needs to be done. However, we have to bring together everyone to try to do that.”

Ibrahim Thiaw, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

a picture of Ibrahim Thiaw
Ibrahim Thiaw, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Image: UN Environment

“The science is clear, our planet is in danger,” said Thiaw, Executive Secretary of UNCCD.

Thiaw believes hope lies in a different approach to land use. UNCCD’s efforts to restore land made barren by human misuse and global warming is a vital component of Thunberg’s call for change, he said.

“Anytime you restore land, you actually have it as a carbon sink,” he said. “And it turns out that land is the largest carbon carbon sink that we have right now on Earth.”

Thiaw pointed to the African-led Great Green Wall project as a beacon of hope, both for the environment and the people who live on the continent. The scheme unites more than 20 African countries in creating fertile land to provide food, jobs and a sustainable future.

Tabi Joda, founder of One Billion Trees for Africa

a picture of Tabi Joda
Tabi Joda, founder of One Billion Trees for Africa. Image: Facebook/Tabi Joda

Conservationist Joda said climate change is having a profound impact on poorer communities on the frontline of the environmental crisis.

“Supporting Greta Thunberg’s message and translating it into real concrete action, driving and raising wider public awareness across the entire globe, calling our leaders to action and holding them responsible, this is the task we all should be behind now,” he said.

Chineyenwa Okoru Onu, WEF Social Entrepreneur and founder of Waste Or Create Hub

Ghana-based Okoru Onu said young people had much to contribute to the climate solution and they wanted action now.

“Leaders should support young people all over the world that are not just adding their voice, but innovating for sustainability and climate action. We need opportunities, finance and a seat at the table.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Ukrainian civil war: Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Syria: UN Humanitarian Coordinator calls for unimpeded access from within the country

Zimbabwe facing man-made starvation, says UN expert

Take-home pay growing at lowest level since 2008, as gender-gap persists: UN labour agency

European Youth, quo vadis?

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

‘Pioneering’ former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet officially appointed new UN human rights chief

The EU will always have a stable partner in Montenegro, says President Đukanović

Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee

Our healthcare systems are ailing. Here’s how to make them better

China has announced ambitious plans to cut single-use plastic

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

The experience economy is booming, but it must benefit everyone

Mobile technology: health in your hands

Draghi strives to control the unruly exploitation of financial markets by banking leviathans

Boardroom warriors: how CEOs are becoming champions of change

China dazzles the world with her Silk Road plan to connect, Asia, Europe and Africa

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

5 lessons for social entrepreneurs on how to change the system

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

Human trafficking, slavery reports and health of migrants in Libya

The ECB must extend its money stimulus beyond 2018: Draghi reckoning

The role of junior entrepreneurs as a bridge between academia and business world

Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

Top envoy to Yemen praises ‘flexibility’ of chief negotiators as new UN mission chief is named

The priority for workplaces in the new normal? Wellbeing

Traffic congestion cost the US economy nearly $87 billion in 2018

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

Great Reset: Why LGBT+ inclusion is the secret to cities’ post-pandemic success

‘Dire consequences’ for a million children in the Middle East, North Africa, as funding dwindles

What is digital equality? An interview with Nanjira Sambuli

Millions denied citizenship due to ideas of national, ethnic or racial ‘purity’: UN rights expert

European Parliament backs CO2 emissions cuts for trucks

The hazards of “heroism” in the time of COVID-19

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

Financial services: Commission sets out its equivalence policy with non-EU countries

In The Bahamas, Guterres sees impact of ‘Category Hell’ hurricane, ‘powered by climate change’

Health Education, is it a necessity?

This farmer is saving the jungle by growing food in it

This company grows crops inside, stacked on top of one another

Finnish Council Presidency priorities debated in plenary

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

College meeting: European Commission reorganises the “Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom” into the “Service for the EU-UK Agreements”.

Here’s what travelling could be like after COVID-19

Antarctica: the final coronavirus-free frontier. But will it stay that way?

Impressions of China

London wants new skyscrapers to protect cyclists from wind tunnels

A staggering one-in-three women, experience physical, sexual abuse

To keep track of the SDGs, we need a data revolution

Ebola situation worsening in DR Congo, amidst growing ‘funding gap’ UN health agency warns

EU Summit’s major takeaway: a handkerchief cannot save Greece from austerity

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

ECB’s Draghi favours a cheaper euro to serve all Eurozone countries

The EU Parliament unanimously rejects Commission’s ideas about ‘seeds’

ECB intervenes to clean May’s and Schäuble’s mess

2030 development agenda: Major breakthrough for world of work

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s