WASHINGTON — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg ripped House lawmakers on Thursday for continuing to subsidize the fossil fuel industry, and warned them to consider their place in history if they do not pick up the pace on curbing the climate crisis.
The Swedish environmentalist was invited to speak at a House Oversight subcommittee hearing on the role of fossil fuel incentives in preventing action on climate change.
She called the fossil fuel tax breaks a “disgrace” and argued that none of Washington’s current efforts are enough to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Centigrade.
“Either you do this, or you’re going to have to start explaining to your children and the most affected people why you are surrendering on the 1.5 degree target, giving up without even trying,” Thunberg, 18, told the committee members.
“To be honest, I don’t believe for a second that you will actually do this,” Thunberg continued.
The outspoken teen, predicting that lawmakers would let oil and gas companies continue to operate as normal, tried to prick their egos instead.
“You get away with it now, but sooner or later people are going to realize what you have been doing all this time,” Thunberg said.
“What happens then? We the young people are the ones who are going to write about you in the history books. We are the ones who get to decide how you will be remembered. So my advice for you is to choose wisely.”
Republicans tried to brush away Thunberg’s arguments by citing the economic benefits of the fossil fuel industry, and asked her what levels of emissions were acceptable. She told them they should read the science.
California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter took a softer approach, asking Thunberg what advice she’d have for Porter’s 9-year-old daughter, who Porter said was furious with her elders for letting the world burn.
Thunberg advised Porter’s daughter to fight back, like she did.
“There are no limits to what we can accomplish, and of all ways, the best medication against anger and anxiety is to take action yourself,” Thunberg said. “Take action herself because that will make her feel so much better. That’s what it did to me at least.”