Greta Thunberg was in Edmonton today for the Climate Action Strike. An estimated 10000 to 12000 people joined her as we marched through downtown Edmonton to the legislature. The main message of the event and the message Greta always reiterates is that we have to unite behind the science by starting to listen to the scientists. Rather than me telling her message, I will let her do the job as eloquently as she always does. Here is a transcript of her speech from today.
Thank you so much to everyone who is here. I don’t know how many we have here, we have not received numbers yet, but it looks like thousands upon thousands, so thank you so much. It is incredible to see so many young people and indigenous leaders gathered here today, and you are the hope, so thank you so much for that.
I want to respectfully acknowledge that we are here gathered today on Treaty 6 territory. A traditional gathering place for diverse indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota, Sioux, Iriqquis, Dene, Ojibay, Inuit and many others whose histories, languages and cultures and peoples continue all around us. And also thank you for the wonderful reception I received here in Alberta. People are so nice and I am very proud to be here with you in Edmonton.
So today is Friday and as always we are on climate strike. Young people all around the globe are today sacrificing their education to bring attention to the climate and the ecological emergency. We are not doing this because we want to. We aren’t doing it because it is fun. We aren’t doing this because we have a special interest in the climate, or because we want to become politicians when we grow up. We are doing this because our future is at stake. We are doing this because in this crisis we will not be bystanders and we are doing it because we want the people in power to unit behind the science.
In the IPCC SR1.5 report that was released last year it says that if we are to have a 67% chance of limiting the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees we had, on January 1, 2018n 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxides left in our CO2 budget. And now that number is down to less than 360 gigatonnes as we emit 42 gigatonnes CO2 every year if you include land use. At current emission levels that remaining CO2 budget will be gone within less than 8 1/2 years. Again, that budget is for 67% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees of global temperature rise and avoiding setting of several irreversible chain reactions beyond human control that would lead to enormous sufferings to countless peoples, especially among indigenous communities and people in the global south. 67% chance, and that is the best odds the IPCC has given us, and please note that these figures are global and do therefore not mention the aspect of equity, clearly stated throughout the Paris agreement, which is essential to make it work on a global scale. That means that richer countries such as Sweden or Canada need to get down to zero emissions much faster so that people in poorer parts of the world can heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built, such as roads, hospitals, electricity, schools, and providing clean drinking water. These numbers also don’t include tipping points, most feed-back loops, nor additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution and they also rely on our generation removing astronomical amounts of CO2, previous generations’ CO2, our of the atmosphere with technologies that haven’t yet been invented at scale and maybe never will.
This is what its all about. This is what we are saying. This is not opinions or political views. This is the current best available science and the politics that even recognize this are still nowhere in sight. We teenagers are not scientists nor are we politicians, but it seems most of us, apart from most others, understand the science because we have done our homework. If people really knew about these things they would not have to ask me why I am so passionate about climate change. If people really were aware of this they would not need to ask us why we are school striking for the climate and taking it to the streets. If people really knew about the full consequences of the climate and the ecological emergency then they would join us in the streets.
And moving on from words to action. To solve this we need to start treating this crisis as a crisis, because you cannot solve an emergency without treating it as one and without seeing the full picture. You cannot leave the responsibility to individuals, politicians, the markets, or to other parts of the world to take, because this has to include everything and everyone and none must be left behind. We cannot continue to allow this crisis to remain a partisan political question. The climate and ecological crisis is far beyond party politics and the main enemy right now should not be any political opponents, because our main enemy right now is physics. Some people are saying that we are fighting for our future, but that is not true. We are not fighting for our future, we are fighting for everyone’s future. And if you think we should be in school instead, then we suggest that you take our place in the streets, or better yet join us so that we can speed up the process. One year ago we were just a handful of school children, but today we are over 7.5 million people across the world that make up this movement. If that is possible then just Imagine what we could do together if we really wanted to. Nothing is impossible if enough people stand united – so thank you. Continue, never give up. We stand together.