Activist Thunberg channels youth fury to UN climate summit
LISBON/MADRID (Reuters) - Teen activist Greta Thunberg reached Europe on Tuesday after a 21-day catamaran dash across the Atlantic for a United Nations summit where she will invoke the fury of global youth at politicians’ foot-dragging over climate change. “People are underestimating the force of angry kids,” the Swede told a crowd of reporters and supporters as she disembarked from a white catamaran, La Vagabonde, in Portugal. “They’re angry and frustrated.” The prospect of another fiery intervention by the 16-year-old, whose ability to stare down politicians has inspired a global protest movement, electrified younger delegates at the international climate talks underway in neighbouring Spain. Since staging a solitary protest outside the Swedish parliament more than a year ago, Thunberg has channelled the anger felt by millions of teenagers saddled with the prospect of an escalating climate crisis their parents failed to avert. In September, she carried her message to a one-day climate summit at the United Nations in New York, furiously telling leaders “you have stolen my dreams,” before sailing back to Europe for the latest round of talks. Thunberg was due to spend the rest of Tuesday meeting activists in Portugal before departing for Madrid, where the negotiations are being held in a series of hangar-like halls. Carolina Schmidt, environment minister of Chile, which is chairing the negotiations, said she hoped Thunberg’s presence would galvanise more ambitious commitments by governments at talks aimed at bolstering the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert catastrophic temperature increases. “We need that tremendous force in order to increase climate action,” Schmidt told Reuters television. “We need Greta in here with all that force.” Increasingly erratic weather patterns, from wildfires in Australia and California to floods in Europe, have added to the sense of urgency around the two-week summit in Spain.