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Greta Thunberg says climate activism isn't just about the environment, demands we 'change everything'


Including 'colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression'

Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Greta Thunberg has a new demand for humanity.

To address climate change, we must overhaul everything, including "colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression," the young climate activist said in an op-ed published on Friday.

She noted, "Collective action works; we have proved that. But to change everything, we need everyone." Adding that "every one of us must participate in the climate resistance movement. We cannot just say we care; we must show it."

In her article, Thunberg made it clear that the climate change agenda is much broader than addressing environmental concerns. The 16-year-old wrote it also involves political and societal changes.

That action must be powerful and wide-ranging. After all, the climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all. Our political leaders can no longer shirk their responsibilities.

Says climate change 'threatens our very existence'

The young activist also reiterated that climate change is an existential threat to humanity.

"Politicians and fossil-fuel companies have known about climate change for decades," adding, "yet the politicians let the profiteers continue to exploit our planet's resources and destroy its ecosystems in a quest for quick cash that threatens our very existence."

Interestingly, Thunberg's call for systemic changes come as even she implies there is little that people can do to reduce carbon emissions and increases in global temperatures. "Even if countries fulfill their current emissions-reduction pledges, we are headed for a 3.2°C increase," she wrote while arguing that we are likely to exceed a 1.5°C increase by 2030.

What Thunberg doesn't say is that the 3.2°C increase of which she speaks is projected to happen by the end of the century. Presumably, Thunberg's preferred solution to the climate crisis would be to cease all fossil fuel consumption. This would decimate the developing world which depends on them for food and energy and wreck the global economy.

What do the scientists say?

Scientists recognize that even limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would be a tall order, let alone stopping the 3.2°C rise by the year 2100.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels would be a herculean task, involving rapid, dramatic changes in how governments, industries and societies function, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But even though the world has already warmed by 1 °C, humanity has 10–30 more years than scientists previously thought in which to kick its carbon habit.

The world would have to curb its carbon emissions by at least 49% of 2017 levels by 2030 and then achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 to meet this target, according to a summary of the latest IPCC report, released on 8 October. The report draws on research conducted since nations unveiled the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which seeks to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and limit global temperature increase to between 1.5 and 2 °C.

Scientists have noted the 3.2°C warming projection is a median value in a range that goes from 2.0 to 4.9°C.

Still, Thunberg said she and other activist "will keep up a steady drumbeat of strikes, protests, and other actions."

Adding, they "will become louder and louder" and are willing to do "whatever it takes" to get politicians to back her preferred policies.

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