In an angry and emotional speech at the United Nations climate summit on Monday, Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg tore into world leaders for failing to act, moments after staring down Donald Trump as he arrived at the event.
"This is all wrong," Ms Thunberg said, reading from a piece of paper.
"I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you."
"People are suffering," the 16-year-old continued through tears.
"People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you."
"How dare you continue to look away and come here saying you are doing enough," she said.
"You say you hear us and understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe."
Ms Thunberg was on a panel with other climate activists at the summit on the eve of the UN General Assembly to encourage countries to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Greta Thunberg glares at Trump in chance encounter
President Trump, whose administration have been widely criticised for rolling back environmental protections and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, was not scheduled to attend the event. But he did, later, after Thunberg had concluded her remarks. (He left after about 10 minutes.)
Ms Thunberg, though, did see Trump in the hallway. The young climate warrior was seen clearly staring down the leader of the free world.
We are all Greta Thunberg.
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) September 23, 2019
On Twitter, people praised the 16-year-old.
“I will do whatever Greta Thunberg says,” one woman tweeted.
One man added the image of an ice cold Greta is his favourite image of 2019.
“We are all Greta Thunberg,” another man tweeted.
Greta Thunberg files legal complaint with the United Nations
Ms Thungberg was among 16 children to file a legal complaint with the United Nations on Monday, accusing five countries — France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey — of not doing enough to combat climate change.
The complaint accused Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey of failing to uphold their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed 30 years ago.
It also accused the five countries of violating children's rights by failing to take adequate and timely action against climate change.
It was filed after Ms Thunberg delivered her speech.
Every member of the United Nations except the United States has ratified the convention to protect the health and rights of children.
Monday's complaint focuses on a little-known "optional protocol" that came into effect in 2014 that allows children to file a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child if they feel their rights are being denied.
The committee is then meant to investigate the charges before making recommendations to the countries concerned on how they can fix the issue.
The 16 young people were backed by the legal firm Hausfeld LLP and Earthjustice, an environmental law group.
Lawyer Michael Hausfeld said that while the committee's recommendations are not legally binding, the 44 countries that ratified the protocol pledged to respect them. He said he hoped the recommendations would be made in the coming 12 months.
The five countries named in the complaint are among the 44 that ratified the protocol and are also among the top global polluters, as well as being members of the G20 group of leading global economies.
The largest polluters in the world - the United States, China and India - did not ratify the protocol.
Countries like France and Germany may have recently begun working to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, but have also played a large role historically in polluting the atmosphere, the law firm argued.
Natural historian Sir David Attenborough delivered scathing criticism of Australia’s climate damage and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approach to it.
With Yahoo! US and AFP
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