Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg said on Friday — one day before the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement — that she is glad the United States will be rejoining the accord, but added that world leaders still had far to go in tackling environmental challenges.
“I am more than happy that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris agreement; that is absolutely crucial,” Thunberg said to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, referencing President-elect Joe Biden’s affirmation to rejoin on day one of his presidency.
The Trump administration finalized arrangements to exit the Paris Climate Agreement on Nov. 4, with the president arguing that it had undermined the U.S. economy.
Thunberg said that despite this hopeful development, global leaders still needed “to start treating the climate crisis like a crisis.”
“We need to communicate the situation where we are, we need to understand that we are facing an emergency, we need to change the social narrative around this, and of course as young people we would really appreciate it if we stopped only talking about future, distant hypothetical goals and targets ... and start focusing on what we need to do now,” Thunberg said.
Thunberg said simply setting nebulous goals for net-zero carbon emissions would only pass responsibility to future generations.
“We don’t want to solve these problems for you; we want you to take care of it right now,” she said.
Thunberg echoed similar points in an Instagram video released on Thursday, stressing that pledges by countries such as the U.K., which has promised a 68% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, presented only a vague illusion of progress.
“We need to stop focusing on goals and targets for 2030 or 2050,” Thunberg said in the clip. “We need to implement annual binding carbon budgets today.”