“We were expecting it,” the Swedish activist lamented as she summed up the World Economic Forum.
For once, Greta Thunberg was not soft on world leaders. She said climate demands have simply been “completely ignored”. This is the clear assessment of the Davos Forum that the activist drew up on Friday 24 January. During the summit in Switzerland, the young Swede was particularly targeted by the US administration.
“We had some demands [when we arrived]. Of course, they were completely ignored. But we expected it,” the young Swede told the press, calling for an immediate end to the financing of fossil fuels.
Greta Thunberg, invited for the second consecutive year to the annual gathering of the political and economic elite, concluded her week by organizing her “climate strike” at the foot of the slopes. A demonstration that she launched, initially on her own, in Sweden every Friday before becoming the figurehead of a global youth mobilization.
Yet the World Economic Forum in Davos, meeting from Tuesday to Friday, was clearly dominated by climate concerns. Along the Promenade, the main street of Davos, which for a few days was transformed into a giant showcase for businesses and governments, slogans and posters of this or that multinational company in favour of a “green” or “sustainable” economy were omnipresent.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, for example, said that humanity was “lost” if efforts to reduce CO2 emissions were not stepped up.
Billions of trees
Announcements have been made, but they have not gone as far as climate activists are calling for.
Another figure of the climate mobilization present in Davos, the German Luisa Neubauer, who has just refused the seat offered by a subsidiary of the industrial giant Siemens on the supervisory board of its energy branch, hammered home the fact that fine speeches were not enough. “We never went on strike to change the rhetoric,” she said, but for “concrete climate action”.
The Forum’s organisers have launched a campaign to plant or save “1 trillion trees”, which capture CO2 but do not change the volume of emissions.
The American financial giant BlackRock had made its mark even before Davos by promising to liquidate the shares and bonds it holds in companies generating more than 25% of their income from thermal coal production.
U.S. government targeting
Contrasting with the general tone, the large American delegation, led by Donald Trump, openly contested the very existence of a climate emergency, targeting the young Swede as a target. The American president thus castigated the “prophets of doom and the predictions of climatic apocalypse” on Tuesday, in a speech attended by the activist.
Visibly unimpressed, Greta Thunberg, for her part, repeated her virulent warnings to the political and economic elite, hammering that it was time to “panic” because “the house is burning”, as she had already done last year in Davos. On Friday, she also retracted statements made against her by an American minister, assuring that they had “no effect” on her.
“This obviously has no effect. We are constantly criticised in this way. If we were careful, we would not be able to do what we are doing. We put ourselves in the spotlight. »
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin advised GretaThunberg on Thursday to “study economics and go to university”. “Who is she? A chief economist? “, the minister ironically asked.
The young Swede, who took a year off from school to focus on climate action, tweeted that “you don’t need a university degree” to determine that efforts to reduce CO2 emissions were insufficient, with graphics to back it up.
On Friday, Steven Mnuchin also said that “we should be talking about environmental issues, not climate change” and said that in his view it was “one of many problems”.