Greta Thunberg has described climate summits such as the Cop27 conference to be held in Egypt next week as a “scam” that “frustrates” humanity and the planet by not leading to “major change”.
The Swedish activist said people in positions of power used high-level gatherings to get attention and “greenwashed, lied and cheat”.
“As it is, the cops aren’t really going to bring about major change, unless of course we use it as an opportunity to mobilize,” she said on stage at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank on Sunday. Center, where she promoted herself. new job The climate bookan anthology of essays on the climate crisis written by over a hundred experts.
Activists need to try to “make people realize what a scam this is and realize that these systems are failing us”, she added.
This week the UN warned there was “no clear path” in place to limit global warming to 1.5C – a target of the 2016 Paris Agreement – as only a handful countries had strengthened their commitments to act.
In a wide-ranging keynote and on-stage interview with journalist Samira Ahmed, Ms Thunberg spoke about everything from politics and activism to how to deal with eco-anxiety.
Asked about her thoughts on the controversial tactics of groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, which have recently made headlines, including throwing soup on Van Gough’s sunflowers, the teenager said there had a wide range of actions, so could not generalize but that she thought it was “reasonable” to expect climate activists to try different types of actions.
“We’re in a very desperate position right now and a lot of people are getting desperate and trying to find new methods because we realize what we’ve done so far hasn’t worked,” she told Ahmad.
As for upsetting people, she said that “hurting people is one thing and annoying someone is another.”
Experts who have contributed to her book range from geophysicists to philosophers and Indigenous leaders – some are also household names like Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein and George Monbiot.
Each chapter of the anthology is accompanied by an essay by Ms. Thunberg, chronicling her own educational journey in the field.
Ms Thunberg said on Sunday her main source of hope and optimism came from grassroots activism and that the world could not rely on those in power to bring about systemic change because they ignored the problem, diverted attention from it. attention or denied its existence.
“It’s a betrayal because they are the ones with the power,” she said.
Asked if she would consider a career in politics, Ms Thunberg said she believed she could do more by lobbying from the outside, because politics as it stood was more about preserving the status quo.
His appearance at the literature festival comes a week before the doors to the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt open.
The crucial gathering of world leaders, climate scientists, activists, civil society and celebrities aims to advance action on the climate crisis since the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow last year.
But there have been concerns about the space civil society will have to lobby leaders from outside Egypt. Ms Thunberg reiterated on Sunday that she would not attend the event for many reasons, adding that with space for civil society being restricted, it was important to make room for people from areas most affected by change. climatic.
Earlier on Sunday, Ms Thunberg visited the sister of Alaa Abd el-Fattah, the Anglo-Egyptian writer imprisoned in Egypt, who has been protesting outside the Foreign Ministry since October 18 to demand her brother’s release.