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Greta Thunberg to Davos Elite: Act Now on Climate to 'Safeguard the Future Living Conditions for Humankind'

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Greta Thunberg, who ignited global "school strikes for climate," delivers a video address urging those in positions of power to take bold climate action. Twitter / GretaThunberg

By Andrea Germanos

Sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg threw down the gauntlet to the global elite gathered in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week, urging them to work towards meaningful climate action in order to "safeguard the future living conditions for humankind."

"Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie," the Swedish teen says in a video posted to Twitter. The video was also posted on the WEF Facebook page and was intended to be shown to the attendees inside.


In fact, there is blame to be assigned, she says, namely to "some companies and decision makers" who have "known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing."

She calls on those powerful interests to set aside their drive for massive economic profits and instead "safeguard the future living conditions for humankind" by committing to "real and bold climate action."

She expresses skepticism that that will happen, but said she hopes she's proven wrong "for the sake of your children, for the sake of your grandchildren, for the sake of life and this beautiful living planet." Doing so would allow them to "stand on the right side of history," she adds.

Thunberg posted the video a day ahead of her arrival—by train—in Davos, where she'll take part in a panel discussion. Meanwhile, her joint op-ed with former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres declared it "outrageous" that the climate crisis is not taking center stage at the WEF gathering.

Published Wednesday at the Washington Post, the pair, "united by the same concern for our planet," argue that it "should be the number one priority."

There is plenty to lament—rising CO2 emissions, new coal burning power plants, and deadly air pollution. We are "quickly approaching tipping points of no return," they write. At the same time, they believe "these are inspirational times for transformational change," noting the historic Paris climate accord and global "school strike for climate," which Thunberg catalyzed. Students around the world taking a stand for urgent climate action, they write, have declared that "they are unstoppable and that another world is possible."

But to even begin taking a crack at the urgent crisis, they lay out a three-step "find and replace" exercise for Davos attendees:

Find coal, and replace it with renewable energy supported by storage.
Find internal combustion engines, and replace them with zero-emissions mobility.
Find crop burning (when farmers burn the stubble left over from the harvest to clear the ground quickly for new planting) and replace it with "no till" and "low till" technologies that enrich the soil instead of burning its nutrients.

"We are going to do everything we can to put an end to dirty fuels and dirty air so we can improve the prospects of people everywhere," they conclude.

Though she will still be in Switzerland on Friday, Thunberg has no plans to put a pause on her Friday strikes:

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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