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Greta Thunberg slams adults, saying 'you just haven't listened' to young people's climate alarm

"It is — but young people like us have been sounding this alarm for years. You just haven't listened,"

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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In response to a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issuing a grave warning for humanity, climate activist Greta Thunberg, along with three others, penned an opinion piece slamming the adults whose actions have allegedly led to climate change.

"Last week, some of the world's leading climate change scientists confirmed that humans are making irreversible changes to our planet and extreme weather will only become more severe," stated the piece, written by Thunberg, Adriana Calderón, Farzana Faruk Jhumu and Eric Njuguna, from Sweden, Mexico, Bangledesh, and Kenya respectively for the New York Times.

"It is — but young people like us have been sounding this alarm for years. You just haven't listened," they stated.

According to a statement from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the IPCC Working Group 1 report is a "code red for humanity."

"The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable:  greenhouse?gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.  Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible," the UN statement reads.

The young climate activists wrote that climate change is "the single greatest threat to [children and young people's] futures."

"We are the ones who will have to clean up the mess you adults have made, and we are the ones who are more likely to suffer now. Children are more vulnerable than adults to the dangerous weather events, diseases and other harms caused by climate change," they wrote.

They cited a report from UNICEF, called the Children's Climate Risk Index, which according to the young authors, "provides the first comprehensive view of where and how this crisis affects children. It ranks countries based on children's exposure to climate and environmental shocks, as well as their underlying vulnerability to those shocks."

According to the report, nearly every child on Earth is exposed "to at least one climate or environmental hazard right now."

"A staggering 850 million, about a third of all the world's children, are exposed to four or more climate or environmental hazards, including heat waves, cyclones, air pollution, flooding or water scarcity. A billion children, nearly half the children in the world, live in 'extremely high risk' countries," they wrote, using UNICEF's data.

"The fundamental goal of the adults in any society is to protect their young and do everything they can to leave a better world than the one they inherited. The current generation of adults, and those that came before, are failing at a global scale," they criticized.

According to data from the report, the young activists state that "Thirty-three countries, including the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria and Guinea, are considered extremely high-risk for children, but those countries collectively emit just 9 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The 10 countries with the highest emissions, including China, the United States, Russia and Japan, collectively account for nearly 70 percent of global emissions."

They slammed these industrialized nations for the pollution that is reportedly disproportionately affects nations that emit the least pollution.

"Many higher-risk countries are poorer nations from the global south, and it's there that people will be most impacted, despite contributing the least to the problem. We will not allow industrialized countries to duck responsibility for the suffering of children in other parts of the world."

"We are in a crisis of crises. A pollution crisis. A climate crisis. A children's rights crisis. We will not allow the world to look away," they concluded.

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