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'I don't want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists' Greta Thunberg appears before US Congress

President Donald Trump has openly questioned the effects of a changing climate.

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg testifies at a congressional hearing on
Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg testifies at a congressional hearing on "Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis" on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Image: Gripas Yuri/ABACA

TEEN ACTIVIST GRETA  Thunberg took her climate change fight to the US Congress, imploring the nation’s lawmakers — several of whom are global warming sceptics — to “take real action” to avert environmental disaster.

The 16-year-old Swede was joined by other campaigners who said looming uncertainty caused by inaction over climate change has led younger generations to question the intentions of today’s political leaders.

Thunberg arrived last week in Washington, where she has maintained a busy schedule: demonstrating in front of the White House, attending an event with US senators and indigenous leaders from South America, and, later today, meeting with children who are suing the government for climate inaction. 

On Monday, she sat down with former president Barack Obama, who hailed her as “one of our planet’s greatest advocates,” and she received an “ambassador of conscience” award from Amnesty International.

In today’s appearance before a joint hearing of two House committees, her message was blunt.

“I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists,” she said in a soft voice, noting that she wanted her opening testimony to be a 2018 United Nations report, which called for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“I want you to then unite behind the science — and then I want you to take real action.”

Congress has been all but paralysed on a path forward to mitigate climate change in recent years.

President Donald Trump has openly questioned the effects of a changing climate, and his Republican administration has rolled back several Obama-era regulations that were aimed at reducing industrial pollution, cleaning US waterways and protecting federal lands.

While congressman Garret Graves acknowledged that “we need to take aggressive action,” he said it was critical to make “sure we’re moving forward based on facts.”

He and other Republicans also stressed that the world’s second-largest economy, China, needed to take dramatic steps to stem its own carbon emissions.

Beijing was given an “inappropriate” pass in the Paris climate accord because it allows China to have a 50 percent increase in its emissions by 2030, even as the United States is limiting its emissions, Graves said.

The Trump administration abandoned the Paris accord in 2017.

© – AFP 2019

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