Activist Greta Thunberg tells political, business leaders they are misleading public on climate emergency

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg delivers a speech during a plenary session at the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, on Dec 11, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (AP) - Climate activist Greta Thunberg says that business and political leaders are misleading the public by holding negotiations that are not leading to real action against warming temperatures, which she referred to as a climate emergency.

"The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening, when in fact almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and creative PR," the Swedish 16-year-old said on Wednesday (Dec 11) in a speech at the plenary of the ongoing UN climate talks in Madrid, or COP25.

"Finding holistic solutions is what the COP should be all about, but instead it seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition," Thunberg said to wide applause.

The activist cited scientific reports that have established that unchecked warming above 1.5 deg C for the planet will be catastrophic. She also said that pledges to reduce emissions weren't enough, carbon needs to remain underground and that greenhouse gases responsible for rising temperatures need to be zeroed.

"This is not leading, this is misleading," she said, adding that "every fraction of a degree matters".

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