Tuesday April 16, 2024

Greta Thunberg deplores lack of climate debate in Swedish vote

September 10, 2022

STOCKHOLM: Two days before Swedes head to the polls in a general election, the country’s most famous climate activist, Greta Thunberg, on Friday deplored the lack of debate on the climate.

Climate concerns have taken a backseat in the election campaign. Voters are more focused on rising gang violence and soaring energy prices. "The climate crisis has been more or less ignored in this election campaign. At best it’s been reduced to an issue about energy. So we have a lot to do," she told AFP.

Sporting a striped t-shirt, the young activist took part in a protest with several hundred others in central Stockholm on Friday. Sweden’s legislative elections on Sunday, where 349 seats in parliament are up for grabs, are expected to be a nail-biter, with the left- and right-wing blocs polling dead even.

"I am protesting because only voting is not enough," Thunberg said, criticising politicians for not doing enough on the climate. "Right now none of the political parties are delivering," she added. The 19-year-old activist, who is eligible to vote in her first election this year, has said she had not yet made up her mind which party to vote for.

But she stressed it was important for people to voice their concerns "to show politicians that the climate and the environmental emergency is something that we care about and we are not going to let them get away with another four years of nothing".

In recent years, Sweden’s left-wing Green party has struggled to attract voters and stay above the four-percent threshold needed to be represented in parliament. The latest polls credit the Greens with between 4.5 and 7.9 percent of voter support.

Thunberg, who began her "School strike for the climate" outside Sweden’s parliament two weeks ahead of the 2018 election when she was 15, has risen to become one of the world’s most famous champions of action on climate change. Spearheading a global youth movement, Thunberg has spoken at the United Nations, been named a Time person of the year and been tipped as a favourite to win the Nobel Peace Prize.