#FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg is scheduled to deliver terse testimony at this hour to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, along with three other youth leaders.
Her opening statement, verbatim:
“My name is Greta Thunberg.
I have not come to offer prepared remarks at this hearing.
I am instead attaching my testimony. It is the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C [SR1.5] which was released on October 8, 2018.
I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science.
And then I want you to take action.”
Thunberg was to testify alongside This is Zero Hour co-founder Jamie Margolin, Alliance for Climate Education Fellow Vic Barrett, and American Conservation Coalition President Benji Backer. Margolin and Barrett are both plaintiffs in two of the multiple climate lawsuits wending their way through U.S. courts.
Earlier in her visit this week to Washington, DC, members of the U.S. Senate climate crisis task force may have been taken aback at the response when they asked a group of teen activists, including Thunberg, how elected officials can combat the climate crisis.
Thunberg reminded the legislators that she’s a student, not a scientist or a senator, and came back with some terse advice, The Guardian reports.
“Please save your praise. We don’t want it,” she said. “Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it, because it doesn’t lead to anything.”
“If you want advice for what you should do, invite scientists, ask scientists for their expertise,” she added. “We don’t want to be heard. We want the science to be heard.”
As for members of Congress: “I know you are trying, but just not hard enough. Sorry.”
Green New Deal co-sponsor Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) “was perhaps surprised by her bluntness. But he smiled,” The Guardian writes.
“We need your leadership,” he told Thunberg. “Young people are the army politically, which has arrived in the United States. You put a spotlight on this issue in a way that it has never been before. And that is creating a new X factor.”
Thunberg and several other youth climate hawks were invited to address the task force “during two days of action and speeches aimed at urging lawmakers to support ‘transformative climate action’,” The Guardian says. “The meetings and speeches in Washington are intended to raise awareness ahead of a global climate strike on Friday, in which students and workers will walk out of schools and offices to pressure their governments to act as world leaders gather in New York for the annual United Nations summit.”
Markey told the students they had succeeded in shifting the political landscape. “What has happened? You have happened,” he said. “You are giving this extra level of energy to the political process that is absolutely changing the dynamics of politics in the United States,” so that the U.S. federal election next year will in many ways be a “referendum on climate change”.
On Monday, Thunberg met President Barack Obama, who tweeted that the 16-year-old activist “is already one of our planet’s greatest advocates. Recognizing that her generation will bear the brunt of climate change, she’s unafraid to push for real action. She embodies our vision at the @ObamaFoundation: A future shaped by young leaders like her.”