Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish climate activist whose school strike inspired young people the world over to take action on climate change, criticized world leaders on Friday for allowing the “exploitation of people and nature.”
“The leaders are not doing nothing,” Ms. Thunberg said, addressing a crowd of thousands marching in Glasgow outside the United Nations climate summit. “They are actively creating loopholes, shaping frameworks to benefit themselves to continue profiting from this destructive system.”
One of the most recognizable climate activists in the world, Ms. Thunberg has painted a gloomy portrait of the summit in Glasgow, where officials from around the world are trying to reach agreements to reduce emissions and keep the average global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels by the end of this century.
Speaking on the sidelines of the summit on Thursday, Ms. Thunberg said that COP26 was “sort of turning into a greenwash campaign, a P.R. campaign,” for business leaders and politicians to pretend that they are taking action on global warming without following through.
“Since we are so far from what actually we needed,” Ms. Thunberg said at a New York Times event in Glasgow, “I think what would be considered a success would be if people realize what a failure this COP is.”
Leaders and business executives have made some significant commitments. On Tuesday, more than 100 countries agreed to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, 30 percent by 2030. And on Wednesday a coalition of the world’s biggest investors, banks and insurers that collectively control $130 trillion said they were committed to financing projects that would help get companies and countries to net-zero emissions by 2050.
But environmentalists have criticized the financing pledge as lacking in detail.