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The Guardians of Democracy

Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Shuts Down GOP Lawmaker’s Pollution Metaphor


Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Shuts Down GOP Lawmaker’s Pollution Metaphor

Celebrity teen climate activist Greta Thunberg had a message for U.S. lawmakers during congressional testimony Wednesday: “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And then I want you to take real action.”

The 16-year-old founder of the ‘Fridays For Future’ weekly school walkouts to demand government climate-change action submitted a copy of the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the hearing in lieu of testimony.

Thunberg sparred briefly with Representative Garret Graves from Louisiana during her testimony when she disputed the GOP lawmaker’s argument that higher-polluting countries like China should be doing more than others to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think that signing on to [the Paris Climate Agreement]…that allows for China to have a 50% increase in greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2030 is inappropriate,” said the top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

“We have to stop this ridiculousness of operating myopically like the United States is in a vacuum,” he said. “The (U.S. Energy Information Administration) says by 2030 80 percent of global energy demand will be addressed by fossil fuels.”

Thunberg responded that in her home country, Sweden, people similarly criticize the United States for not taking enough action.

“Just another perspective — I’m from Sweden. It’s a small country. And there, it is the same argument. ‘Why should we do anything? Just look at the U.S.,’ they say,” Thunberg said quietly, to laughs and applause. “So, just so you know, that is being used against you as well.”

“Let me ask you a question. If you were sailing across the ocean and you were picking up trash along the way and for every one piece of trash you pick up, there’s a boat right next to you dumping out five pieces, how would that make you feel?” Graves asked the teen activist, who traveled to the United States by boat to reduce her carbon footprint.

“Well, first of all, by that logic then I am also dumping a lot of trash in the ocean,” Thunberg responded.

“And then I would stop dumping my trash in the ocean and ask the other boat to stop dumping their trash in the ocean as well,” she continued.

Graves then argued that certain countries should be doing more.

“That’s the important point here,” the lawmaker said. “I think we need to be focusing on the countries that are dumping trash in the ocean. Of course that’s a metaphor.”


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