Greta Thunberg slams Biden, claims he isn’t treating ‘climate crisis like a crisis’
Greta Thunberg, the world-famous Swedish teen environmental activist, said President Joe Biden is not going far enough to “treat the climate crisis like a crisis,” accusing him of being “not nearly enough in line with the science” on the issue.
During an MSNBC interview Sunday night to discuss Biden, whom she endorsed in the 2020 presidential election, on how his administration is handling climate change thus far, Thunberg was asked by host Mehdi Hasan how she would grade the commander-in-chief on climate issues.
“Well, you shouldn’t take that from me, I’m just a teenager, so I’m not—I don’t have the mandate to sort of give grades like that. My opinions on this doesn’t matter,” the 18-year-old activist said.
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“You should rather look at the science and whether his policies are in line with the Paris agreements and to stay below 1.5 or even 2 degrees Celsius, and then you can clearly see that, no, it’s not nearly enough in line with the science. That’s not me saying, that’s just black and white, looking at the facts,” she continued.
Pointing out that Biden has rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, set up a climate office, appointed a climate czar, and began to reverse some of former President Donald Trump’s environmental policies, Hasan asked her what she would suggest Biden do that he already isn’t.
“I understand that it’s difficult and to be honest I would not want to be in a politician’s position right now—I can’t imagine how hard it must be,” Thunberg replied.
“But I would just like him to basically just treat the climate crisis like a crisis. They have said themselves that this is an existential threat,” she continued, saying that Biden isn’t handling it as such.
“They are just treating the climate crisis as it was a political topic, among other topics and, yeah, treat it as a crisis, that’s the No. 1 step,” she added.
Pressed by Hasan to name some things she would suggest to the president if he could wave a “presidential magic wand” in the form of an executive order, Thunberg said “nothing,” arguing that such a means would be “undemocratic”.
She, however, shifted gears to argue that what is important is getting people involved so that people can increase public pressure on elected leaders regarding the issue.
“So what we need now is to raise awareness and to create public opinion to treat the crisis like a crisis. Because if people are not aware of the crisis that we face, of course they won’t put pressure on the elected leaders. So I would just tell him to, to tell the situation as it is,” she said.
Thunberg also said world leaders who complain that they can’t do anything to change environmental policy due to a lack of support need to build support for what they want to accomplish.
“Well, how can you expect support and pressure from voters if you are not treating the crisis like a crisis. Since the climate crisis doesn’t exist, how can we expect people to want climate action,” she said.
The activist also said to MSNBC she found it “hilarious” when world leaders such as Trump criticize her.
“You need to be able to laugh at these things, because it is hilarious!” she said. “To see such powerful people go after you, it really shows that you are having an impact. They wouldn’t do it if you weren’t a threat to them, so that you should take as a compliment.”
Back in December 2019, the same month that Thunberg was announced as TIME’s Person of the Year, Trump tweeted that the teenage activist had an “anger management problem” and suggested: “Chill, Greta, Chill!”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.