Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Greta Thunberg and activists meet Merkel to demand climate action

© APGreta Thunberg
Climate activists Greta Thunberg wears a face mask as she arrives for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

Young activists including Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg have met German Chancellor Angela Merkel to press their demands for tougher action to curb climate change.

Ms Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer from Germany and Belgians Anuna de Wever van der Heyden and Adelaide Charlier were accompanied by a handful of climate protesters as they arrived at the chancellery for a 90-minute meeting.

They are the first high-profile talks the youth activists have held with a world leader since the start of the pandemic.

“We are here, we are loud, because our future’s being stolen,” the protesters chanted as Ms Thunberg was mobbed by photographers.

The 17-year-old shot to fame after starting her solo protests outside the Swedish parliament two years ago.

Students around the world began following her lead, staging regular large protests, and Ms Thunberg was invited to speak to political and business leaders at UN conferences and the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.

But the coronavirus outbreak has prevented the Fridays for Future movement that Ms Thunberg inspired from holding its mass rallies in recent months, dampening its public profile.

“I’m actually surprised that we were able to do this so quickly,” Ms Thunberg said after her meeting with Mrs Merkel.

“It feels good, I would say.”

The activists sought a meeting with Mrs Merkel because Germany currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, which together with Britain accounts for 22% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Mrs Merkel has in the past lauded the youth activists for putting pressure on politicians to act against global warming.

Ms Thunberg said she appreciated being given the opportunity to talk to Mrs Merkel for 90 minutes, more time than the Chancellor spends with many world leaders.

“That really made it possible to have a more in-depth, deep conversation, which we really appreciated,” Ms Thunberg told the Associated Press.

Climate campaigners argue that governments around the world are doing too little to curb the emissions that are heating up the atmosphere.

In a letter sent to world leaders last month, Ms Thunberg and others called for numerous measures including ending financing for oil and gas projects and setting binding annual carbon budgets.

Ms Neubauer said Mrs Merkel appeared to take the science behind climate change seriously.

“She’s a physicist, so that’s a start,” Ms Neubauer said, adding that the Chancellor’s perspective was to focus on progress achieved during her 30-year political career – Mrs

Merkel served as Germany’s environment minister in 1994-1998 – rather than the decades to come.

“We look (…) towards the future and we see how, well, bad it looks to us,” said Ms Neubauer.

“This discussion today was possibly at least the attempt to bring those perspectives a bit together.”

Ms Thunberg said the activists also discussed the EU’s emissions targets and the lack of willingness by governments to take decisive action soon.

“We are sort of in a loop where everyone blames each other because obviously no-one can do everything,” Ms Thunberg told the AP.

“So then no-one does anything.”

Mrs Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said the German government recently agreed to to cut emissions by up to 55% over the coming decade compared with 1990 levels.

It also backs plans for an EU Green Deal and for making Europe the first “climate neutral” continent by 2050.

“The subject (of climate change) is an issue of central importance for the entire German government,” Ms Demmer said.

“As such, an exchange with (the activists) is certainly beneficial.”

Ms Charlier said Mrs Merkel had assured the group that she did not support an EU trade agreement with the Latin American Mercosur bloc that opponents say would be harmful to the environment and human rights.

Mrs Merkel’s office did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

The activists said they are hoping world leaders will start to treat climate change as a crisis, the way they are doing with the pandemic.

“Of course, we are in a health emergency globally and we are seeing second waves everywhere,” Ms Neubauer told the AP.

“Yet the climate crisis doesn’t pause.”

Ms Neubauer said activists are planning to stage another global “climate strike” on September 25, although the pandemic situation will determine whether it is held online or on the streets.

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts