By Sarah Bates
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Greta Thunberg says new laws won’t tackle climate crisis

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Issue 2695
Greta Thunberg is taking the European Union to task (Pic: European Parliament/Flickr)

Greta Thunberg has blasted the latest plan by the European Union (EU) Commission to tackle carbon emissions as “empty words”.

“When your house is on fire, you don’t wait a few more years to start putting out it. And yet this is what the Commission is ­proposing,” she said.

The “European Green Deal” gives the commission more powers to set tougher carbon reduction goals, and make it a requirement for countries to be carbon ­neutral by 2050.

“The climate law is ­surrender. Nature doesn’t bargain, and you cannot make deals with physics,” Thunberg said.

The proposals include a cut of greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030.

The current target is 40 percent, but neither figure goes far enough.

“Your distant targets will mean nothing if high emissions continue like today, even if just for a few more years, because that will use our remaining carbon budget before we even have the chance to deliver on your 2030 or 2050 goals,” she said.

Greta argued the deal amounted to “giving up” on the Paris Agreement that saw 197 countries agree to “endeavour to limit” global temperatures below 1.5 degrees.

Her warning was ­underlined by a report released this week that ­highlighted the type of urgent and drastic action needed.

Climate think tank Ember found that carbon emissions from the global electricity system fell by 2 percent last year, and power from coal plants fell by 3 percent.


But the report said that renewable wind and solar power only made up 8 ­percent of the world’s electricity.

Dave Jones, lead author of the report, said a quicker ­rollout of renewable energy was needed.

“The cheapest and ­quickest way to end coal generation is through a rapid rollout of wind and solar,” he said.

The report also warned that to meet the agreements made in Paris, there would need to be a 15 percent growth rate for wind and solar generation every year.


Thunberg led an 8,000-strong demonstration through the streets of Brussels during her weekly protest last Friday.

She’s planning to join a strike in Grenoble this Friday and a climate mobilisation in Paris this Saturday.

And in Britain, activists are organising for the next student climate strike this Friday. Many students are ­planning on linking up with UCU union strikers who are fighting over pay, equality and pensions (see page 20).

In London, UCU London region has called a march for student strikers and ­university workers to parliament.

“Our education and ­climate is in crisis. They have both been marketised, and treated as commodities to be bought and sold,” it said.

“There will be a time when we look back at this moment and ask ourselves what we did right now.

“How will be be ­remembered? What legacy will you leave this planet?”

Strike for the climate
Our Future Not For Sale
For Education and the Earth 

Friday 13 March, 12 noon Malet Street, WC1E
Called by UCU London region
For more strikes in your area go to

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