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Thunberg rubbishes claims that UK is a climate leader as report reveals 1 billion children at ‘high risk’ from climate impacts

Written by on 20/08/2021

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has hit out at the UK, saying it is a “lie that the UK is a climate leader”.

Earlier this year at the Leaders’ Climate Summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the “UK has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 42% on 1990 levels” – a claim Ms Thunberg has opposed.

The 18-year-old said that “if you don’t include all emissions then the statistics are going to look much nicer”, suggesting things like aviation, shipping, and the burning of biomass have not been taken into account.

She added the UK is “very good at creative carbon accounting” but that “doesn’t mean much in practice”.

The climate champion was speaking at the launch of a new UNICEF report, which looks at the impact of climate change on children.

Its release coincides with the third anniversary of the ‘Fridays for Future’ school strike started by Ms Thunberg in 2018.

The report found that around 1 billion of the world’s 2.2 billion children live in countries classified by UNICEF as being at “extremely high risk” of the impacts of the climate crisis.

More on Greta Thunberg

The report also found:

  • 2 billion children are highly exposed to air pollution that exceeds 10ug/m3.
  • 920 million children are highly exposed to water scarcity
  • 820 million children are highly exposed to heatwaves

Young people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau are identified as being the most at risk, despite the fact these countries are among the lowest emitters of CO2.

The report’s authors, which include Ms Thunberg, said: “We cannot allow this injustice to continue. It is immoral that the countries that have done the least are suffering first and worst.”

The report urges global leaders to use the COP26 climate summit being held in Glasgow in November to take the “drastic action required to shift the economy away from fossil fuels”.

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The show also highlights solutions to the crisis and how small changes can make a big difference.

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