Greta Thunberg says it is ‘absurd’ to ‘listen to those fuelling destruction of the planet’ in Davos

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said it is “absurd” that the world is listening to business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos over climate action instead of those directly affected by the crisis.

The 20-year-old accused the delegates at the event in Switzerland of putting greed and profits ahead of people and the planet.

“We are right now in Davos where basically the people who are mostly fuelling the destruction of the planet, the people who are at the very core of the climate crisis, the people who are investing in fossil fuels etcetera, etcetera and yet somehow these are the people that we seem to rely on solving our problems,” Ms Thunberg said.

“[It is] absurd... we seem to be listening to them rather than the people who are actually affected by the climate crisis,” she said. “They have proven time and time again that they are not prioritising that. They are prioritising self-greed, corporate greed and short-term economic profits above people and above planet.

“These people are going to go as far as they possibly can as long as they can get away with it. They will continue to invest in fossil fuels, they will continue to throw people under the bus for their own gain.”

The oil and gas industry has said that it needs to be part of the energy transition because fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in the energy mix as the world shifts to a low-carbon economy.

Ms Thunberg also demanded fossil fuel bosses immediately stop opening any new extraction sites.

A “cease and desist” order, signed by Ms Thunberg and fellow activists Helena Gualinga, Luisa Neubauer and Vanessa Nakate, said that the oil and gas industry has known for decades that fossil fuels cause the breakdown of the climate.

“You must end these activities as they are in direct violation of our human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, your duty of care, as well as the rights of Indigenous people,” the notice says.

In 2019, the then 16-year-old Thunberg took part in the main WEF meeting, famously telling leaders that “our house is on fire”. But she refused to participate as an official delegate this year and said there are already climate organisations advocating for change within Davos.

“I think it should be people on the frontlines and not privileged people like me,” she said. “I don’t think the changes we need are very likely to come from the inside. They are more likely to come from the bottom up.”

Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler 2 opencast lignite mine (AP)
Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler 2 opencast lignite mine (AP)

Earlier this week, Thunberg was carried away by police and detained during protests at a coal mine in Germany.

The globally renowned campaigner was detained on Tuesday while demonstrating against the planned destruction of the village of Luetzerath to make way for the expansion of the Garzweiler 2 opencast coal mine.

She addressed thousands of others taking part in the long-running protests last week and was physically escorted away from the village by police on Sunday after refusing to comply with a request to leave.

Aachen Police told The Independent that the group were not arrested and they were released once their personal details had been taken.