Greta Thunberg leads climate change protest outside White House - 14th September 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has inspired young people around the world to strike in protest at the lack of government action on the crisis. She joined her American peers in the youth climate movement at a rally near the White House.

Ms Thunberg, a 16-year-old who arrived in the US last month on a carbon emission-free sailing boat, joined her US peers in a demonstration.

The protesters were surrounded by so many reporters and TV cameras that they had difficulty beginning a planned march towards the White House. Thunberg fell back in the crowd. “We love you, Greta,” fans yelled.

President Trump has repeatedly denied climate science and has opposed major US efforts to stem greenhouse gases from fossil fuels that are heating the globe.

Ms Thunberg has said she does not believe she can convince Mr Trump or other climate change doubters that global warming is real, but hopes they will take briefings from actual scientists and experts in this area.

Most other nations are off track to meet the goals needed to keep temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. The gathering of a few hundred children, teenagers and their supporters chanted: “Protect our future.”

The Swedish activist has gained a large following over the past year after she started a school strike outside her country’s parliament. This sparked a global movement among students known as “Fridays for Future”.

Thunberg briefly took the megaphone at the gathering, to enthusiastic cheers. She said she wouldn’t give a speech because previous speakers “have already said everything”. But she added: “I just want to say I’m so incredibly grateful for every single one of you, I’m so proud of you, who have come here and I, it’s a lot of people... this is overwhelming. Just never give up, we will continue and see you next week on 20 September” - for the planned global climate strike.

The world’s leading climate scientists warned last year that humanity only has until 2030 for global heating to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Temperatures even half a degree above that will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Ms Thunberg is planning on making her way to Chile in December for the UN framework convention on climate change. She said she was not certain how she would make that trip without a plane just yet.

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