Greta Thunberg dismisses Cop26 as ‘greenwash festival of empty promises’

The environmental campaigner told the crowd that the climate summit has been a 'failure'.


Greta Thunberg has declared Cop26 a “greenwash festival” as she addressed thousands of young climate activists in Glasgow.

The environmental campaigner told the crowd that the climate summit has been a “failure”.

Following a march of thousands of protesters from Kelvingrove Park to George Square, passing the Cop26 venue at the SEC on the way, Ms Thunberg said world leaders are “fighting to maintain business as usual”.

She said: “This is no longer a climate conference.

“This is now a global north greenwash festival, a two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah.

“The most affected people in the most affected areas still remain unheard and the voices of future generations are drowning in their greenwash and empty words and promises.

“But the facts do not lie. And we know that our emperors are naked.”

Ms Thunberg added: “The question we must now ask ourselves is, what is it that we are fighting for? Are we fighting to save ourselves and the living planet? Or are we fighting to maintain business as usual?

“Our leaders say that we can have both, but the harsh truth is that that is not possible in practice.”

Branding world leaders “shameful”, she continued: “They continue to expand fossil fuel infrastructure, open up new coal mines, coal power plants, grant new oil licences and are still refusing to do even the bare minimum, like delivering, delivering on the long-promised climate finance for loss and damage to the most vulnerable and least responsible countries.”

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate said: “Once again, we are faced with another Cop event. How many more of these should they hold until they realise that that inactions are destroying the planet?”

Outlining some of the environmental disasters occurring in her home country, she said: “Historically, Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions and yet Africans are suffering some of the most brutal impacts fueled by the climate crisis.

“But while the African continent, while the global south is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, they’re not on the front pages of the world’s newspapers.

“We’ve seen activists from the most affected areas being erased from pictures, from conversations and removed from rooms.

“But how will we have climate justice if people from the most affected areas are not being listened to?”

She added: “We need to continue holding leaders accountable for their actions, we cannot keep quiet about climate injustice.

“Your actions matter. No action is too small to make a difference and no voice is too small to make a difference.

“Let us keep the faith for the future. Faith will give us hope for the world not yet seen, but the world that we can imagine.”

An estimated 8,000 people were expected to take part in the march through Glasgow, organised by Fridays For Future, despite UK Government ministers warning that young people missing school to attend the demonstration could face fines.

Downing Street said young people missing school to attend the demonstration was “extremely disruptive at a time when the pandemic has already had a huge impact on their learning”.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “We do understand why young people feel so strongly about climate change, and we want to see them use that passion and turn it into action.

“That’s exactly why we’re empowering them through our new virtual national education park, climate leaders awards, and giving teachers the tools to put climate change at the heart of the curriculum, and we’re backing this up with our continued pledge to cut the carbon footprint of school buildings as well.”

Earlier, UK Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “I wish they were doing it on a Saturday and a Sunday, not in school time.

“I’d hate to get into a situation where headteachers and teachers are having to fine families and students.”