Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists from around the world are filing a lawsuit to the United Nations, urging the organisation to declare its highest level of crisis for the climate emergency.
The group of 14, which includes Ranton Anjain and Litokne Kabua from the Marshall Islands and Alexandria Villaseñor from the US, called for the response to the climate crisis to match that of the Covid pandemic by declaring a level 3 emergency.
Villaseñor, 16, who started school striking aged 13, said: “The UN has shown us it’s capable of mobilising against imminent global threats, and the climate crisis is the greatest global threat ever known to humanity.
‘Adults, step up’
“We are quickly running out of time to protect children and future generations, and we’re demanding adults step up right now and rally a critical global response to the climate crisis.”
A level 3 emergency would move resources and technical expertise to countries most at risk, all under a crisis management team directing global climate action.
The legal submission read: “The climate emergency – which threatens every person on the planet into the foreseeable future – is at least as serious a threat as a global pandemic and similarly requires urgent international action.”
According to The Guardian, the UN saw the petition and is discussing a level 3 emergency, but has not decided whether they will take action.
Stéphane Dujarric, UN secretary-general’s spokesperson, said: “The secretary-general, as chair of the CEB [the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination], has made it clear that the whole of the organisation is mobilised to push for greater and verifiable climate action from member states and the private sector, as well as pushing to address inequalities, disinformation and lack of solidarity.”
Last month, Greta Thunberg 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.
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.
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.”