BRUSSELS: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired pupils worldwide to boycott classes, urged the European Union on Thursday to double its ambition for greenhouse gas cuts.
At an EU conference, Thunberg warned that politicians who fail to tackle climate change will be "remembered as the greatest villains of all time" for leading the world to disaster. "If the EU is to make its fair contribution to staying within the (Paris climate deal) carbon budget for a two-degree limit, it means a minimum of 80 percent reduction by 2030," Thunberg told the conference before joining a student protest march in Brussels.
"And that includes aviation and shipping," she said in a ten-minute speech before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and EU civil society. "So around twice as ambitious as the current proposal."
Under the 2015 Paris deal to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the 28-nation EU has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990. EU officials are now talking of increasing the figure to 45 percent. The young Swede alluded to warnings from the UN´s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) that warming is on track towards a catastrophic 3C or 4C rise, and avoiding global chaos will require a major transformation.