Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Greta Thunberg: climate activist receives ‘unimaginable amounts’ of abuse

The teenager’s speech at the French parliament was criticised by some conservative MPs

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a meeting at the French National Assembly. AFP
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a meeting at the French National Assembly. AFP

Climate activist Greta Thunberg revealed she receives “unimaginable amounts” of abuse from her critics as she addressed France’s parliament on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old’s speech at the National Assembly was boycotted by some right-wing MPs, who called her a "prophetess in shorts" and the "Justin Bieber of ecology".

Undeterred, Ms Thunberg, whose school strikes sparked a global movement against climate change, accused politicians and journalists of failing to face up to the truth about the damage humans are inflicting on the planet.

"We become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things because no one else wants to, or dares to," said Thunberg, speaking in English at one of the parliament's conference rooms.

"And just for quoting or acting on these numbers, these scientific facts, we receive unimaginable amounts of hate and threats. We are being mocked and lied about by members of parliament and journalists," she added.

The Swedish teenager was invited by cross-party MPs, including from Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche and the Green party, but her visit was snubbed by some conservative MPs.

Les Republicans MP Guillaume Larrive described Ms Thunberg as an “apocalyptic guru” adding that what was needed was “scientific progress and political courage”.

Fellow Republicans MP Julien Aubert said: “Don't count on me to applaud a prophetess in shorts, a Nobel Prize for Fear."

Ms Thunberg urged those who did not want to listen to her to look at the facts.

"Some people have chosen not to come here today, some have chosen not to listen to us. And that is fine. We are, after all, just children!" she said.

"You don't have to listen to us. but you do have to listen to the science... and that is all we ask, to unite behind the science."

Ms Thunberg was praised by France’s state secretary of education Gabriel Attal, who said she had started a “historical movement”.

The activist’s speech comes as Europe gears up for a heatwave with record temperatures expected in Paris on Thursday.

Updated: July 23, 2019 07:19 PM



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