Greta Thunberg has accused the UK government of spinning carbon emissions statistics to make it look like the country’s contribution to the climate crisis is lower than it is in reality.
The environmental activist said Britain is not the only high-income country wrongly thinking it is a climate leader, suggesting the US and China are also guilty of the delusion.
In an article for The Guardian, the 18-year-old said world leaders have been guilty of decades of “blah, blah, blah” because of their lack of action on reducing emissions.
‘Global climate leader’?
She said: “Between 1990 and 2016, the UK lowered its territorial emissions by 41 per cent. However, once you include the full scale of the UK emissions – such as consumption of imported goods, international aviation and shipping etc – the reduction is more like 15 per cent.
“And this is excluding burning of biomass, like at Drax’s Selby plant – a heavily subsidised so-called ‘renewable’ power plant that is, according to analysis, the UK’s biggest single emitter of CO2 and the third biggest in all of Europe. And yet the government still considers the UK to be a global climate leader.
“The UK is, of course, far from the only country relying on such creative carbon accounting. This is the norm.
“China, currently by far the world’s biggest emitter of CO2, is planning to build 43 new coal power plants on top of the 1,000 plants already in operation – while also claiming to be an ecological ‘trailblazer’ committed to leaving “a clean and beautiful world to future generations.”
‘Blah, blah, blah’
Last month, the teenager mocked prime minister Boris Johnson by quoting parts of his speeches on climate change and adding “blah, blah, blah”.
Giving a speech at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Italy, the Swedish activist said the words of “our so-called leaders” had led to “no action”.
The 18-year-old used soundbites from speeches by Boris Johnson such as “build back better” before dismissing them as “blah, blah, blah”, prompting applause from the audience.
During her speech, she said: “This is not about some expensive, politically correct, green act of bunny hugging.
“Build back better, blah blah blah. Green economy, blah blah blah. Net zero by 2050, blah blah blah. Climate neutral, blah blah blah.
“This is all we hear from our so-called leaders.
“Words that sound great, but so far have led to no action.”
Thunberg’s public statements come as the Tories are preparing the UK to host the Cop26 international climate conference in Glasgow which will see world leaders pursuing a target of limiting any further temperature increase to 1.5C.
The summit will involve calls to accelerate the phasing out of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.