Speaking at a climate rally in Berlin on Friday, Greta Thunberg mocked President Biden’s attempt to address climate change through his “Build Back Better” agenda.
“As we move out of the pandemic, many are talking about using this as an opportunity for a green sustainable recovery, whatever that means,” the 18-year-old Swedish activist said. “And world leaders are talking about ‘building back better,’ promising green investments and setting vague and distant climate targets in order to say that they are taking climate action.”
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Biden announced that the United States would double its financial contributions to help developing nations combat and adapt to climate change.
In his speech, Biden touted his “Build Back Better” agenda, which includes an array of domestic initiatives designed to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and said it could be expanded to include “sustainable investment in projects” abroad.
“That’s the idea behind the Build Back Better World,” Biden said.
Thunberg was unmoved.
“When you look at what we are actually investing the money in — the money that is supposed to be building back better — it shows the hypocrisy of our leaders,” she said.
According to the International Energy Agency, just 2 percent of governments’ recovery spending has been allocated to clean energy — money that will fall well short of what is needed to reach international climate goals, such as net-zero emissions by 2050 or keeping global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“The fact that we are in a crisis that we cannot build, buy or invest or way out of seems to create some kind of collective mental short-circuit among the people in power,” Thunberg said. “And the longer they pretend that we can solve the climate crisis within today’s system, the more invaluable time we will lose.”
Her criticism of international leaders comes weeks ahead of the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where those same leaders, including Biden, will convene to “accelerate action” in the fight against climate change.
Thunberg has yet to say whether she will attend.
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