Sep 23, 2019

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

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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Greta Thunberg addresses climate deniers' attacks and Trump's tweet

Climate activist Greta Thunberg poses on board the Malizia II sailing yacht at the Mayflower Marina. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who inspired a global protest movement, responded Wednesday after a wave of climate science deniers targeted her following her UN speech this week — including President Trump.

Driving the news: Trump was the most prominent person to dismiss Thunberg, mocking her in a late-night tweet Monday after she urged leaders in New York to act because people are already dying from climate change. But many others have weighed in to attack her, from a TV pundit to a state governor, and some of the commentary got personal.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Kim Kardashian wants to help Greta Thunberg's social media presence

Greta Thunberg and Kim Kardashian. Photos: Getty Images

Kim Kardashian told Reuters Tuesday that she'd like to help teen climate activist Greta Thunberg's parents manage the 16-year-old's social media presence because "speaking on a big platform invites a lot of different opinions and personalities."

Why it matters: The reality TV star has proven herself to be an effective political navigator in the Trump administration, helping to free over a dozen inmates in 2019 and bringing rapper A$AP Rocky's detention in Sweden to President Trump's attention. Thunberg has more than 10 million followers between her Instagram and Twitter accounts while Kardashian has nearly 150 million on Instagram alone.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Greta's climate moment

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios - Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issue.

Thanks to Greta Thunberg, climate change stories generated 18 million interactions on social media over the last two weeks, the most for the issue this year by far, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: Climate change has lagged in generating significant online interest, even as it's taken on a great urgency among Democrats and young voters. The latest findings suggest the messenger matters.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019