Time Person of the Year: Greta Thunberg wins accolade for climate activism

Magazine lauds teenager as ‘icon of a generation’

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 11 December 2019 13:46
Greta Thunberg accuses countries of misleading people with seemingly 'impressive' climate pledges

Swedish climate-change activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time’s Person of the Year.

The 16-year-old has “succeeded in turning vague anxieties about the planet into a worldwide movement calling for global change”, the magazine wrote in its announcement on Wednesday.

In an extended feature, it added: “She is an ordinary teenage girl who, in summoning the courage to speak truth to power, became the icon of a generation.”

The Swede set off a wave of protests in opposition to man-made climate change with her Friday school strikes.

The Time accolade was announced as Greta accused world leaders of seeking to burnish their images, rather than taking strong action to curb global warming.

Speaking at the UN’s COP25 climate-change summit in Madrid, she said: “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.

“It seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition.”

Politicians at the conference are hashing out the implementation of 2015’s Paris Agreement, which is designed to limit warming.

On Wednesday, negotiators in Madrid had one eye on Brussels, where the EU announced the European Green Deal – a new plan to slash greenhouse-gas emissions.

Svenja Schulze, Germany’s environment minister, said she hoped the deal would “give the discussions here a boost”.

Additional reporting by agencies

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