Climate wunderkind Greta Thunberg has said Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro criticise her and environmental alarmism because they are “terrified of young people bringing change”.
The 16-year-old Swedish activist and high-profile leader of the school strike movement is the latest in a line of liberal-progressive guests to have curated BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
In an interview with Mishal Husain on Monday morning, the daughter of an actor and opera singer responded to right-wing President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro calling her a “brat”, saying that he and others who criticised her did so out of “fear” of the impact young people are having with their radical climate change agenda.
Thunberg said: “Those attacks are just funny. Obviously, they don’t mean anything. I guess it means something. It means that they are terrified of young people bringing change which they don’t want. But that is just proof that we are actually doing something and that they see us as some kind of threat.”
The child activist criticised Western world leaders at the UN in September for having “stolen my dreams and my childhood”, declaring to the adults in the room: “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”
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In December, President Trump called the child’s accolade of being named Time Person of the Year “ridiculous”, and suggested Thunberg work on her “anger management problem”, likely in reference to the scolding she delivered at the UN months earlier at which she also famously scowled at the President from behind his back on his arrival at the UN in New York City.
Asked what she would have said to her adversary had she met President Trump at the time, Thunberg said: “Honestly, I don’t think I would have said anything because he’s obviously not listening to scientists and experts, why would he listen to me? So I probably wouldn’t have said anything, wouldn’t have wasted my time.”
On whether she thought Donald Trump saw her as a “threat”, the teen said: “I don’t know about that, but it’s possible. Not me, of course… but it’s that I’m part of a big movement that they probably see as a threat.”
The UK’s legal pledge to bring its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 “is nowhere near enough”, the climate activist said, adding: “The UK needs to do much, much, much more to do their fair share. The goal of 2050 doesn’t mean anything if just high emissions continue even now for a very few amount [sic] of years.”
Asserting that people are paying attention to her climate change performances, she complained that it was not,however, being translated into civilisation-altering political policy
“The science is being ignored mostly… by pretty much the people in power, in politics, in finance, media,” she said.
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On Saturday, the BBC came under criticism from its guest editor Charles Moore who called the broadcaster a “secular church” that “preaches” on climate change whilst freezing out voices in the scientific community which represent the broader perspectives on environmental issues.
Guest Matt Ridley, from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, went further by criticising the BBC for platforming “doomsday cultists” such as Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion, “or Kevin Anderson, on whom Greta Thunberg, your next guest editor, heavily relies, and he says we are going to see [a] 4C [increase] by 2050.
“No responsible scientist agrees with that, and yet those people are given a hearing on the BBC whereas the luke-warmers are denied a place on the BBC,” Dr Ridley added.