Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg has quickly become one of the most recognizable faces in the fight against climate change. The Swedish teen has led school strikes across Europe, with students walking out of classes en masse to protest governments' slow action. And she made headlines earlier this year when she spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, telling a gathering of world leaders and philanthropists that climate change is largely their fault.
On Wednesday, Thunberg brought her message to the French parliament, but she didn't receive a universally warm welcome. Multiple conservative politicians boycotted her speech, and several of them took the time to deride her personally in interviews and on social media. As the BBC reports, a member of France's conservative Republican party dismissed Thunberg as the "Justin Bieber of ecology," while a member of the far-right, Marine Le Pen–led National Rally accused her of demanding a "dictatorship of perpetual emotion."
Speaking to French lawmakers, Thunberg delivered a statistics-heavy but straightforward speech, quoting the latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If we can stay below 1.5 degrees of warming, according to the IPCC, "Adaptation will be less difficult. Our world will suffer fewer negative impacts on intensity and frequency of extreme events, on resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, cities, tourism and carbon removal." That typically cautious and reserved agency has found that the planet will exhaust its remaining carbon budget of about 400 gigatons of carbons, the amount we can burn and still keep global temperatures in a safe range, in just eight years.
"And not once, not one single time have I heard a journalist, politician, or businessman even mention these numbers," she said. "It’s almost like you don’t even know these numbers exist. As if you haven’t even read the latest IPCC report, on which much of the future of our civilization is depending. Or perhaps you are simply not mature enough to tell it like it is. Because even that burden, you leave to us children."
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the U.S. is sweltering in a heat wave, Belgium and the Netherlands have both just experienced the hottest summer on record, and historically unprecedented wildfires are burning throughout the Arctic.
Originally Appeared on GQ