Greta Thunberg, the teen climate activist, said she would attend this year’s global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland after a UN report called for "massive" pressure to combat climate change. The report on Monday warned the planet was dangerously close to escalating climate change beyond the limits countries previously discussed and accepted.
"I hope that this can be a wake-up call, in every possible way," said Thunberg. "When these extreme weather events are happening, many say, what will it take for people in power to start acting? What are they waiting for?"
She added that it would take incredible pressure from the public and the media to facilitate change.
The report, titled "AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis," was put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warned that recent extreme weather patterns globally were likely to continue and possibly worsen in the coming decades.
The report's 4,000 pages cite some 14,000-plus studies conducted worldwide and indicate that we are at the border of an average 1.5 degrees centigrade increase in the Earth's surface temperature. Scientists consider this to be the point at which humanity could be profoundly and permanently affected.
According to the report, the threshold could be passed as soon as in the early 2030s. It also indicates that, even if the world manages to halt the warming at the 1.5-degree Celsius mark, we would still see the sea rise to "dangerous levels."
Thunberg initially said she would be absent from this year’s event out of concern for the uneven COVID vaccine rollout globally, reported Global News. She said this would have left her unable to attend some countries safely. However, the host country’s offer to vaccinate delegates assuaged some of that concern, Thunberg said.
"I’ve said before that I wasn’t going to go if it wasn’t fair," she said. "But now they say that they will vaccinate all the delegates that are going there. If that’s considered fair and safe, then I will hopefully attend."
Thunberg added that people’s awareness of climate change gradually increased as wildfires rip through Greece, Turkey and western Canada this week. This came weeks after deadly flooding swept through China and Germany, and heatwaves baked North America.
She remains concerned that world leaders continue to ignore previous warnings from scientists about climate change.
Thunberg did not expect them to match words with action in response to the latest UN report. "I expect them to go out and have big speeches, or press releases, or posts on social media where they say the climate crisis is very important and we are doing everything that we can," she said.
"As it is now, nothing is changing," said Thunberg, adding: "The only thing that’s changing is the climate."