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Greta Thunberg to world leaders: "You are failing us" on climate change

Teen Greta Thunberg speaks before the United Nations
Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

16-year-old Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg implored world leaders in a passionate, angry and tearful speech Monday to act urgently on climate change at the opening of a United Nations summit.

"I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

Driving the news: The UN convened today's summit hoping to get nations to commit to aggressive plans to curb global heat-trapping emissions, which have been rising amid greater energy demand and continued reliance on fossil fuels in growing economies like India.

The bottom line: Thunberg, who is usually not especially emotive when she talks, was uniquely emotional in this speech, tearing up and showing anger. "You are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal," Thunberg said.

  • "We will not let you get away with this."

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