Apr 16, 2019

Greta Thunberg tells EU lawmakers to focus more on climate instead of Brexit

Greta Thunberg speaks at a Fridays for Future protest on March 29 in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the European Parliament on Tuesday, criticizing the EU for holding multiple emergency summits on Brexit but "no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and environment."

Context: Her efforts highlight the growing sense of urgency among young people on an issue that is currently at its inflection point, as politicians in some countries maintain a stark partisan divide on climate change and major oil and gas companies increase their clean energy investments.

  • Tuesday's speech came just over one month after Thunberg led the largest and most widespread demonstration on climate change since the run-up to the Paris climate summit in 2014 and 2015.

The takeaways:

  • Thunberg said that, around 2030, "an irreversible chain reaction that will most likely lead to the end of our civilization as we know it" will begin, adding that changes like a 50% reduction of CO2 emissions would be needed to avoid that outcome.
  • The young activist fought back tears as she spoke about a wide range of topics: an increasing extinction rate, fertile topsoil erosion, deforestation, air pollution, insect loss and ocean acidification.
  • "You cannot ignore the scientists, or the science, or the millions of ... children who are school striking for the right to a future," she said in closing.

Between the lines: A December poll by the Yale Program on Climate Change and George Mason University found that the portion of the American public "alarmed" about climate change is at an all-time high of 29% — double the size of a 2013 survey.

Go deeper: Watch Thunberg's full speech here.

Go deeper

Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.

Brace yourself for a coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public-health officials’ warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, with one top CDC official asking the public yesterday "to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Reality check: Other administration officials, including President Trump himself, were more subdued in their assessments. But underneath those tonal differences, the reality of the coronavirus is the same: It spreads quickly, and has already spread to many countries, making it likely to start spreading here, too.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.