A 15-year-old Swedish activist has told UN climate negotiators at the United Nations COP24 conference that they are "not mature enough" to "tell it like it is" when it comes to climate change.
In her address, Greta Thunberg expressed concern that world leaders were abandoning future generations, saying "You say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes".
Thunberg told leaders “You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake."
She continued, "The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there was still time to act."
"You say you love your children above all else and yet, you're stealing their future in front of their very eyes."
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) December 16, 2018
Thunberg has become a symbol for youth activism and climate justice after she shot to fame by leaving school every Friday to sit outside the Swedish parliament on her own to protest against her government's failure to move on issues surrounding global warming.
Thunberg was inspired to do so by the national student walkout in the US which followed in the wake of the tragic Parkland shooting in Florida.
The nations present came together in Krakow, Poland to reinvigorate the 2015 Paris climate treaty and come to some form of agreement that will help to prevent a further increase in the earth's temperature.
Over the weekend, a deal was struck called the 'Paris Rulebook' which is a common rulebook designed to help achieve the goals set out in the original treaty. However, those present at the conference said the rulebook alone would not curb the use of fossil fuels and continued deforestation when there is no bold ambition to cut emissions by countries who depend on those sectors economically.
They also warned that countries would have to do far more than what is described in the rulebook to combat the damning effects of climate change.