Teen activist Greta Thunberg called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders Friday to do more for the environment, as she prepared to lead a march in Montreal that was part of a wave of global “climate strikes.”
She met privately with Trudeau but later told a news conference with local indigenous leaders that he is “not doing enough” to curb greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
“My message to all the politicians around the world is the same,” she said. “Just listen and act on the current best available science.”
On Monday, the 16-year-old delivered an impassioned “How Dare You?” speech at the UN climate summit, accusing world leaders of betraying her generation.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she thundered, visibly angry and close to tears.
The teen has spurred millions of youths to protest, drawn by her steely determination despite her years.
Trudeau and other Canadian political party leaders, who are in the midst of a tight election race, are scheduled to join Thunberg at the Montreal rally along with up to 400,000 protestors, according to organizers.
Events are also planned in cities across Canada.
Planting two billion trees
In his first term, Trudeau cast himself as a champion in the fight against global warming, but his green image was tarnished by his nationalization of an oil pipeline to salvage the construction project after years of delay.
“You. Bought. A. Pipeline,” Jagmeet Singh, leader of the third-placed New Democratic Party, lambasted Trudeau in a news release.
Trudeau said after meeting with Thunberg and pledging to fund the planting of two billion trees to green cities and regenerate forests devastated by wildfires: “I agree with her entirely. We need to do more.”
Earlier this week on the campaign trail, the Liberal prime minister vowed that Canada would reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, joining 66 other countries that have already signed onto the pledge.
In the afternoon, Thunberg also will take aim at airlines’ skyrocketing CO2 emissions in a speech outside the UN aviation agency in Montreal, which is holding its annual conference.
Limiting airlines’ CO2 emissions is one of the main topics to be discussed by representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 193 member states at the meeting, which runs to October 4.
Aviation accounts for about two percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the ICAO.
Thunberg had sailed across the Atlantic for the UN climate summit in New York specifically to avoid flying. She then drove to Montreal in an electric car borrowed from former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Record CO2 emissions
The world’s top scientists believe long-term temperature rise must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels to prevent runaway warming and catastrophic longer term damage.
But the level of emissions being released into the atmosphere has risen to an all-time high, triggering global weather hazards from heat waves to intense hurricanes and raging wildfires.
The UN estimates that the world needs to increase its current efforts five-fold to contain climate change.
The UN summit in New York sought to reinvigorate the faltering Paris agreement on climate change.
Last Friday, more than four million youths — and adults — rallied in “climate strikes” around the world.
Turnout at events this Friday was smaller, but still vocal. In Italy hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets while an estimated 40,000 protested outside New Zealand’s parliament.