BERLIN | Mobilized for just two years for the climate, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg took advantage of a meeting Thursday with Angela Merkel to try in the face of “political inaction” to breathe new life into her movement hampered by the COVID epidemic -19.
The date of August 20 is of “symbolic” importance, she told the press after her meeting with the German Chancellor in Berlin.
Greta Thunberg, then 15 years old and still unknown, had indeed started a school strike on August 20, 2018 in front of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm.
This mobilization has evolved over the months into a movement, called “Fridays for future”, in which thousands of young Europeans participated every week.
This success, combined with a surge in the green vote in many countries, does not however seem to have advanced the climate cause, regrets Greta Thunberg.
In a vitriolic letter addressed to European leaders, she denounces Thursday “political inaction” which continues according to her on the subject of climate protection and the “denial” of governments.
“The EU must finally act, Germany must take the lead: investments in fossil fuels must stop, ecocide must become a punishable offense,” she asks.
“When it comes to taking action, we are always in a state of denial. The climate and ecological crisis has never been treated as a crisis, ”laments Greta Thunberg.
The 17-year-old activist was received for an hour and a half by Angela Merkel along with other members of the movement, Luisa Neubauer (Germany), as well as Anuna de Wever and Adélaïde Charlier (Belgium).
Germany, which currently holds the EU Presidency, has a “huge responsibility, we wanted to make sure that it takes the stakes high,” said Anuna de Wever. “Angela Merkel seems to be aware of the issues,” said Luisa Neubauer.
The Chancellor, who will step down from power at the end of 2021, and the four activists, “agreed that global warming is a global challenge and that industrialized countries have a special responsibility in the fight against this phenomenon”, reported after the meeting. – government speech, Steffen Seibert.
” Opportunity “
“The basis is the consistent implementation of the Paris climate agreement” which aims to limit global warming to 2 ° compared to the pre-industrial era, he said.
Much of the interview, according to the Chancellery, focused on the EU’s climate neutrality target by 2050, with a possible interim target by 2030, as well as CO2 pricing.
“The gap between what we should be doing and what is actually being done is widening by the minute,” the climate activists regretted, however, ahead of the meeting.
Despite the mobilization, “we have lost another two crucial years because of political inaction,” the activists lament, calling on countries to urgently stop all investments in fossil fuels.
Germany itself is accused of not doing enough. It remains heavily dependent on coal, operated until 2038, due to its gradual abandonment of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
However, thanks to the decline in activity linked to the coronavirus, the country could reach its goal of reducing its emissions by 40% from the level of the 1990s.
“The novel coronavirus pandemic offers a huge opportunity to change things”, wants to believe Adélaïde Charlier.
The epidemic and the sudden global economic downturn it is causing is certainly having a temporary positive effect on emission and pollution levels. But they are complicating climate mobilization, however, at a time when fears about employment are the priority.
Fridays for future plans a global day of mobilization on September 25, but adapted to the health context, marked in many European countries by an increase in cases.
“We take the epidemic seriously, we are looking for ways to adapt (the mobilization), for example with fewer people in the streets,” said Luisa Neubauer, figure of the movement in Germany.