To Critics Who Say Climate Action Is ‘Too Expensive,’ Greta Thunberg Responds: ‘If We Can Save the Banks, We Can Save the World’

“If there is something we are not lacking in this world, it’s money. Of course, many people do lack money, but governments and these people in power, they do not lack money.”


Greta Thunberg joins activists outside the United Nations during a protest on September 6, 2019 in New York. (Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)

During an event in New York City Monday night with author and environmentalist Naomi Klein, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg had a simple message for those who claim it is “too expensive” to boldly confront the climate crisis with sweeping policies like a Green New Deal.

“If we can save the banks,” said Thunberg, “we can save the world.”

“If there is something we are not lacking in this world, it’s money,” she added. “Of course, many people do lack money, but governments and these people in power, they do not lack money. And also we need to have the polluters… actually pay for the damage they have caused. So, to that argument, I would not even respond to that argument, because it has been said so many times, the money is there. What we lack now is political will and social will to do it.”

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Thunberg arrived in New York late last month after nearly two weeks of sailing across the Atlantic. The young environmentalist made the journey ahead of the Sept. 20 global climate strikes, which she helped inspire through persistent activism that has included directly confronting world leaders and elites over their role in the planetary emergency.

The strikes, which are expected to bring millions to the streets in over 150 countries, will coincide with the United Nations Summit on Climate Change on Sept. 23rd in New York.

“I want September 20 to be a tipping point,” Thunberg said Monday night. “I want world leaders to feel like they have too many people watching them.” SOURCE

 

The Green New Deal Isn’t Global Enough

The resources Democrats want Washington to appropriate and use domestically instead need to flow elsewhere in the world.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has led the charge. 

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has led the charge.  Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

At the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Kenya this past week, experts and officials from around the world debated how to come up with the investment and innovation needed for countries to grow without dooming the planet. National leaders, NGOs and others discussed, among other things, how to create more “sustainable patterns of consumption and production.” What really struck me in Nairobi, though, was what wasn’t discussed: the Green New Deal being pushed by Democratic Party politicians in the U.S.

This is surprising, in a way: It was the United Nations Environment Programme that first called for a “Global Green New Deal” in 2009, hoping to revive the world economy through investment in climate change-related sectors

That extra word, “global,” suggests why international players today aren’t terribly enthused by the Democrats’ plan. The program — or what little of it can be adduced from what’s now largely a slogan — is focused entirely on green investment in the U.S. The basic notion that climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution seems to have been forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong: De-carbonizing the U.S. economy would be a big deal. A lot of good work can be and is being done. The Beyond Coal campaign supported by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News) has already helped shut down 285 of the country’s 500-plus coal-fired power plants and is aiming to close the rest by 2030. And getting climate change back onto the political agenda is important in and of itself. Nor should Republicans be allowed to use concerns about the growth of emissions in the developing world to stymie work on carbon mitigation at home.

Yet, fawning coverage of the Green New Deal rubs many in the developing world the wrong way. We’ve long known that an economy transitioning to a low-carbon growth path will both require investment and create jobs. But, the New Deal of the 1930s is simply not the right analogy. Then, economies across the world had enormous amounts of unused capacity that just needed to be put to work.

By contrast, a global low-carbon transition will require laying claim to resources that are productively employed in carbon-intensive sectors of the economy. It will be expensive. It will require sacrifice. And resources will need to flow more freely across national borders. MORE

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