Greta Thunberg calls Cop26 the ‘Greenwash Festival of Empty Promises’

Greta Thunberg declared Cop26 the «Greenwash Festival» as she addressed thousands of young climate activists in Glasgow.

The environmental activist told the crowd that the climate summit was a «failure».

After thousands of protesters marched from Kelvingrove Park to George Square, passing SEC’s Cop26 spot on the way, Ms Thunberg said world leaders were «fighting to keep business as usual».

«This is no longer a climate conference,» she said.

“This is now a global Northern Green Wash Festival, a two-week celebration of business as usual and such and such.

“The most affected people in the worst affected areas remain unheard, the voices of future generations drowning in their green waters, empty words and promises.

But the facts don’t lie. And we know that our emperors are naked.»

Ms Thunberg added: «The question we must be asking ourselves now is, what are we fighting for? Are we fighting to save ourselves and our living planet? Or are we struggling to keep business as usual?»

“Our leaders say we can have both, but the harsh reality is that this is not practically possible.”

She went on to describe world leaders as “shameful”: “They keep expanding fossil fuel infrastructure, opening new coal mines, coal power plants, awarding new oil licenses and still refusing to do even the bare minimum, like the climate finance I promised long ago. To cover losses and damages to the most vulnerable and least responsible nations.”

Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate speaks on the main stage in George Square as part of the Friday for Future Scotland rally during the COP26 summit in Glasgow. (Jane Barlow/Penn.)

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate said: “Once again, we are facing yet another ‘COPE’ event. How many of those must keep it until they realize that inaction is destroying the planet?»

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Summing up some of the environmental disasters taking place in her country, she said: “Historically, Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions, yet Africans suffer the most brutal effects fueled by the climate crisis.

“But while the African continent, while the global south is on the front lines of the climate crisis, it is not on the front pages of global newspapers.

We have seen activists from the worst affected areas being erased from photos and conversations and taken out of rooms.

“But how will we achieve climate justice if people from the hardest-hit regions are not listened to?”

She added: «We need to continue to hold leaders accountable for their actions, and we cannot remain silent about climate injustice.

Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Naket (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Your actions matter. No action is too small to make a difference and no sound is too small to make a difference.

“Let us keep faith for the future. Faith will give us hope for a world not yet seen, but a world we can imagine.”

An estimated 8,000 people were expected to take part in the march through Glasgow, organized by Friday For Future, despite UK government ministers warning that young people who miss school to attend the rally could face fines.

Downing Street said young people who missed school to attend the demonstration had been «extremely disturbing at a time when the pandemic has already had a major impact on their learning».

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: «We understand why young people feel so strongly about climate change, and we want to see them use that passion and turn it into action.

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“This is why they are empowered with our new Virtual National Education Park, Climate Leaders Awards, and giving educators the tools to put climate change at the heart of the curriculum, and we support this with our ongoing pledge to cut the carbon footprint of school buildings as well.”

Earlier, British Education Minister Nadim Al-Zahawi said: “I wish they were doing it on Saturdays and Sundays, and not at school time.

«I hate getting into a situation where principals and teachers have to fine families and students.»

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