One prominent figure in the climate movement won’t be attending when the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change begins on November 6 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Greta Thunberg, a 19-year-old Swedish activist who was promoting her new book The Climate Book in London on Sunday, declared she would not go to the summit. Additionally, she berated the COP procedure in general.
In an interview with journalist Samira Ahmed, Thunberg claimed that as things stand, the COPs are primarily being used as a platform for leaders and those in positions of authority to garner attention when they declare, “We’re going to change,” and using various forms of greenwashing, lying, and cheating, among other tactics.
According to The Independent, Thungerg was speaking as part of the Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival to promote her new book, The Climate Book, which had its debut on October 27 in various countries across the world, including the UK.
In addition to pieces written by Thunberg herself, the book contains more than 100 writings by climate activists and academics like Bill McKibben, Michael Mann, and Naomi Klein. However, readers in the United States won’t be able to purchase a copy until February 14, 2023.
Thunberg demanded prompt action to address the global catastrophe in a speech on Sunday. She cited the United Nations Emissions Gap Report, which was published on October 27 and found that, despite strengthened national commitments following COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the world was still on track to warm by 2.4 to 2.6 degrees Celsius by 2100 and that, in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, emissions needed to fall by 45 percent by 2030 compared to current policies.
The United Nations Environment Programme earlier this week released the Emissions Gap report, which stated that only a rapid system-wide transformation can produce the significant emissions reductions required to stabilize 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. And according to the IPCC, we need to make swift, significant, and unheard-of changes to every facet of civilization.
Thunberg criticized world leaders for routinely failing to take appropriate action, which is the cause of the COP’s dysfunction. The gradual rate of change advocated by those conferences may have succeeded if it had started 20 to 30 years earlier, according to Thunberg.
The COPs won’t actually result in any significant changes as they stand right now. Unless, of course, we seize the chance to mobilize—which is something we must attempt to do—and convince people that this is a hoax and that our current systems are failing, Thunberg said.
Because of the Egyptian government’s restrictions on in-public protest and incarceration of human rights defenders, COP27 has come under increased fire from environmental, human rights, and civil society organizations. Thunberg was one of 968 organizations and people to sign a petition urging Egypt to release everyone unfairly jailed before the conference and to open up civic space.
She also had a meeting with the sister of Alaa Abd el-Fattah, a British-Egyptian author who is now detained in Egypt and has been demanding his release by staging demonstrations outside the Foreign Office, according to The Independent.
I won’t be attending COP27 for a variety of reasons, but Thunberg, who did attend COP26, stated on Sunday that there won’t be much room for civil society this year, according to The Guardian.
Another charge against COP27 is that it engaged in “greenwashing” by accepting Coca-Cola as a sponsor.
In her speech on Sunday, Thunberg counseled attendees to demand change by engaging in climate activism rather than depending on global leaders.
We need billions of activists to make a difference, she remarked, according to an article in The Guardian.