Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 February 2020

Greta Thunberg makes noise as Davos quietly draws to a close

Swedish climate activist holds demonstration on final day of World Economic Forum

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in Davos. AFP
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in Davos. AFP

In the session rooms and halls, the World Economic Forum was quietly drawing to a close on Friday. Outside, in Davos, climate activist Greta Thunberg created ample noise with an outdoor demonstration demanding new policies to deal with climate change.

About 200 children and adults answered Thunberg's rallying cry to "strike" on Thursday.

This week, Thunberg gave a stirring address at the Forum, calling for the immediate halt to investment in fossil fuels. She was later criticised by US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin during his news conference with reporters.

When asked about Thunberg’s activism and her comments advocating divestment in fossil fuels, the US treasury secretary suggested that Thunberg shoukd learn economics before weighing in on such debates, while also insisting that US president Donald Trump cared deeply about a clean environment.

Mr Mnuchin also pointed out that Mr Trump recently endorsed the much touted Trillion Trees Project announced in Davos.

About 200 activists answered Greta Thumberg's call for a climate strike as Davos drew to a close. Cody Combs / The National
About 200 activists answered Greta Thumberg's call for a climate strike as Davos drew to a close. Cody Combs / The National

As for the Paris climate agreement Mr Trump pulled out of, Mnuchin stood his ground.

“The president thought it was an unfair agreement for the United States,” he said.

As Thunberg’s demonstration was under way on the final day of WEF, Mr Mnuchin was inside the Congress Center taking part in a ‘Global Economic Outlook’ panel discussion with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva.

“The oceans are rising and so are we,” Chanted the crowd in the streets of Davos.

Rupert Read, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, said he spoke with Thunberg just before the demonstration started.

“She’s not incredibly well but she thought it was very important to be here.”

As Mr Read spoke to The National, chants from demonstrators continued.

“We’ve got about 200 children perhaps chanting away, children from all over Europe and all over the world,” he said.

“The message is simple, we’re in an emergency, it’s time to take action."

Updated: January 24, 2020 05:15 PM

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