French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday criticized teen activist Greta Thunberg for lodging a complaint at the U.N. against France and four other countries, alleging climate inaction.
"When I see that we are going to shut down all our coal operations, that we are ending the extraction of hydrocarbons... I'm not sure that this is the most effective approach," Macron said. "When you have very radical positions, they're liable to antagonize society." Thunberg and 15 other children have asked the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child to rule that Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey are violating their rights by failing to properly tackle emissions.
Although Macron hosted Thunberg at the Élysée Palace in February, the Swedish teen also criticized France in June over the policing of a climate protest. "Watch the video and ask yourself, who is defending who?" Thunberg wrote on Instagram, sharing footage of Paris police tear-gassing protesters at close range when, seated on the ground, they refused to end a blockade of a bridge.
Scolding the audience at the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Monday, Thunberg accused world leaders of betraying her generation by failing to act on rising emissions, repeating the words "how dare you" four times. Thunberg said: "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us." U.S. President Donald Trump mocked the teenage activist saying, "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!" Thunberg and Trump were briefly in the same small room as they arrived for the summit, with video showing the teen glowering at the president as he passed by with his entourage.
Thunberg has become the global face of a growing youth movement against climate inaction that mobilized millions in a worldwide strike on Friday. Her struggle began quietly in August 2018 when she skipped school for the first three weeks, and then on Fridays to spend the day outside Sweden's parliament with a sign labelled "School strike for climate." In August, she crossed the Atlantic on a two-week journey in a sailboat to attend the climate summit in New York. She refuses to fly because of the carbon emissions caused by planes.