Annual UN Climate Summit calls for greater action to protect the environment


Sean Lee, Staff Writer

On September 23, the United Nations gathered to discuss future plans to lower carbon emissions in a bid to slow climate change. One of the largest figures of the summit wasn’t a politician, instead it was sixteen year-old Great Thunberg. The student-turned-activist was a highlight of the meeting because of her emotional speech that criticized the actions of many politicians and business leaders. The summit concluded with

“65 countries and major sub-national economies such as California committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

Why is Thunberg Involved in the Climate Summit?

Thunberg became a focus for the media throughout the climate summit. After having skipped school in Sweden to protest the government’s stance on climate change, Thunberg became a leader to many youth climate activists. Her role in the climate summit was to show politicians how climate change would affect her generation. Whilst some have argued that a high-school student should not be chastising the world on climate change, the majority of people see her as a positive influence that can urge world leaders into action. Her emotion filled speech urged business leaders and politicians worldwide to change their ways, particularly in how they focused on the world’s economy instead of its health. To end her speech, Thunberg stated, “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.” These closing remarks reminded everyone at the summit that climate change would become an unpayable debt to the next generation.

What is The U.S.’s Stance on the  Climate Summit?

The U.S. did not request a speaking slot for the summit. Instead, President Trump made a surprise visit to the General Assembly hall with Vice President Mike Pence. Similar to how Trump chose to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate agreement, the U.S. refused to make any official pledges to combating climate change. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announced that the country would not trade with anyone going against the Paris agreement. Whilst he did not specifically name the U.S., his remarks were certainly directed at Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.

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