New York: Greta Thunberg, the teen activist from Sweden who has urged immediate action to address a global climate crisis, has been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2019.
Thunberg, 16, was lauded by Time for starting an environmental campaign in August 2018 which initially involved her skipping school and camping out in front of the Swedish Parliament to demand action.
Her actions triggered a global youth-led protest movement against world leaders for their perceived inaction on climate change.
"In the 16 months since [her first protest], she has addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history," the magazine said.
"Margaret Atwood compared her to Joan of Arc. After noticing a hundred-fold increase in its usage, lexicographers at Collins Dictionary named Thunberg’s pioneering idea, climate strike, the word of the year," Time said.
Thunberg, who turns 17 in January, is currently in Madrid attending the annual United Nations climate summit, or COP25.
In a speech at the summit on Wednesday, Thunberg said business and political leaders were misleading the public by holding negotiations that were not leading to real action against warming temperatures, which she referred to as a climate emergency.
"The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening, when in fact almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and creative PR," she said.
"Finding holistic solutions is what the COP should be all about, but instead it seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition."
The activist, whose speech garnered wide applause, cited scientific reports that have established that unchecked warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius for the planet would be catastrophic.
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