Greta Thunberg marches in front of White House with American students over climate change crisis

The 16-year-old activist is in US ahead of this month’s UN climate summit in New York City

Clark Mindock
New York
Saturday 14 September 2019 16:19 BST
Greta Thunberg gives speech outside White House as she joins student protest against climate change

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has taken her fight for the planet’s future to Donald Trump’s front door, marching alongside American students outside the White House.

Ms Thunberg, a 16-year-old who arrived in the US last month on a carbon emission-free sailboat, joined her US peers in a demonstration that at one point included an 11-minute “mass extinction” die-in to highlight the dire consequences of the changing climate.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, climate change has got to go,” Ms Thunberg could be heard chanting along with the other students. The Swedish activist has gained a considerable following over the past year after she started a school strike outside her country’s parliament, sparking a global movement among students, known as “Fridays for Future”, who have followed her example.

“This is very overwhelming,” she said softly into a megaphone after the march in front of the White House, during which she walked amid the other activists. “See you next week,” she said towards the end of the event, referring to a planned 20 September global “Climate Strike” in which youth and adults are encouraged to walk out of school or work to urge more action on climate change.

Donald Trump is among a small minority of global leaders who has openly questioned the science of climate change. He has announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact to stem the rise in global temperatures, and has a policy of maximising American production of fossil fuels.

Ms Thunberg has said she does not believe she can convince Mr Trump or other climate change doubters that global warming is real, but hopes they will take briefings from actual scientists and experts in this area.

Her trip to the US comes as the United Nations is set to hold a climate action summit in New York this month, where she has been invited to deliver a speech on 23 September.

Days before that, she is set to testify before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee and the select committee about the climate crisis, having been invited to Capitol Hill by Democrats.

Speaking on the TV show Democracy Now! this week, the 16-year-old said: “We are striking to disrupt the system.”

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Ms Thunberg has refused to fly for years, citing the large carbon footprint associated with that form of travel, and has said she is not sure when she might return to Europe.

She is planning on making her way to Chile in December for the UN framework convention on climate change, but said when she arrived in America via boat last month that she was not certain how she would make that trip without a plane just yet.

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