Greta Thunberg’s famous blah, blah, blah speech on the governments’ inaction on the climate crisis brought a response on Thursday by Italy’s PM Mario Draghi.
Draghi met with climate activists Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate and Martina Comparelli in Milan, during the last day of the Youth4Climate summit. “Your mobilization has been powerful, and rest assured, we are listening,” Draghi said.
On the opening day of the summit, Thunberg chastised political leaders for what she called their “blah blah blah” promises on climate change, warning them that time is running out to tackle the crisis.
"'Net-zero by 2050, blah blah blah'. This is all we hear from our so-called leaders – words."
— euronews (@euronews) September 28, 2021
The Swedish activist mocked world leaders — including US President Joe Biden and the UK’s Boris Johnson — for what she charged were their empty words and unfulfilled promises.
“When I say climate change, what do you think of? I think jobs. Green jobs. Green jobs,” she said, referencing Biden’s speeches on the climate crisis.
“We must find a smooth transition towards a low carbon economy. There is no Planet B,” she said, in a reference to a speech given by French President Emmanuel Macron. “There is no Planet Blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Thunberg: net zero, blah, blah, blah. Climate neutral, blah, blah, blah
And in her jibe at UK Prime Minister Johnson, the eighteen-year-old derided the leader’s rhetoric around his government’s “green recovery” plans.
“This is not about some expensive, politically correct dream at the bunny hugging or blah, blah, blah. Build back better, blah, blah, blah. Green economy, blah, blah, blah,” Thunberg said.
“Net zero, blah, blah, blah. Climate neutral, blah, blah, blah. This is all we hear from our so-called leaders — words, words that sound great but so far, has led to no action or hopes and dreams. Empty words and promises.”
Draghi attempted to address the criticism in his speech to the young activists but was clearly struggling to convince them.
“Your pressure, frankly, is very welcome. We need to be whipped into action. Your mobilization has been powerful, and rest assured, we are listening,” Draghi said, just before his discourse was interrupted by a handful of protesters who were quickly escorted out of the room.
The events unfolded four weeks before the UN COP-26 climate summit in Glasgow. In September, the world’s Christian leaders had united to warn of the “catastrophic consequences” of climate change, saying now is a “critical moment” for the planet’s future.
The world’s Christian leaders have united to warn of the “catastrophic consequences” of climate change, saying now is a “critical moment” for the planet’s future.
“How dare you!”
Thunberg, born in January 2003, is known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. She initially gained notice for her youth and her straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies.
Thunberg’s activism began by persuading her parents to adopt lifestyle choices that reduced their own carbon footprint. In August 2018, at age 15, she started spending her school days outside the Swedish Parliament to call for stronger action on climate change by holding up a sign reading “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School strike for climate). Soon other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities.
To avoid energy-intensive flying, Thunberg sailed to North America, where she attended the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit. Her speech there, in which she exclaimed angrily “How dare you”, was widely taken up by the press and incorporated into music and a host of memes.
She received numerous honors and awards, including an honorary Fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, inclusion in Time’s 100 most influential people, being the youngest Time Person of the Year, inclusion in the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (2019), and three consecutive nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize (2019–2021).