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A Speech from Her Speeches Greta Thunberg Never Made

by gmoke Mon May 31st, 2021 at 05:15:27 PM EST

I recently read No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (NY: Penguin Books, 2018, 2019  ISBN 9780143133568), a slim book of her speeches since she started her Friday School Strike, "that idea was inspired by the Parkland students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings."  [More on Parkland at https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/7/1877501-Parkland-When-the-Targets-Talk-Back]

"And sometimes NOT doing things - like just sitting down outside the parliament - speaks much louder than doing things.  Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting."

As usual, I flagged passages as I read and then copied them over to my computer when I was finished.  Then I thought about how to share what I learned from this remarkable young woman, finally deciding that my collection of notes from her words could make one coherent speech.

What follows is my cut-up of her book to present what I believe are her core concepts.  All the words are hers joined together with ellipses (...) and my own commentary in brackets ([ ]).

We want you to follow the Paris Agreement and the IPCC reports. We don't have any other manifestos or demands - you unite behind the science, that is our demand...

Right there (page 108, chapter 2, in the latest [as of July 2019] SR15 IPCC report) it says that if we are to have a 67% chance of limiting the global temperature rise to below 1.5ºC, we had, on 1 January 2018, 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left in our CO2 budget. And of course that number is much lower today. We emit about 42 gigatonnes of CO2 every year. At current emissions levels, that remaining budget is gone within roughly 8.5 years. [3.5 gigatonnes per month, 0.80769 gigatonnes per week, 0.115 gigatonnes per day] And now that figure is already down to less than 360 gigatonnes [in 2019, the May 2021 figure is 276 gigatonnes and falling according to https://www.mcc-berlin.net/fileadmin/data/clock/carbon_clock.htm]...

But perhaps the most dangerous misconception about the climate crisis is that we have to "lower" our emissions. Because that is far from enough. Our emissions have to stop if we are to stay below 1.5-2ºC of warming. The "lowering of emissions" is of course necessary, but it is only the beginning of a fast process that must lead to a stop within a couple of decades, or less. And by "stop" I mean net zero [Greta and others are strongly interrogating the idea of "net zero" as accounting tricks have been used in some current "net zero" claims] - and then quickly on to negative figures. That rules out most of today's politics...

And our main enemy right now is not our political opponents. Our main enemy now is physics. And we cannot make "deals" with physics...

The fact that we are speaking of "lowering" instead of "stopping" emissions is perhaps the greatest force behind the continuing business-as-usual...

If the EU is to make its fair contribution to staying within the carbon budget for the 2ºC limit, then it means a minimum of 80% reduction [in greenhouse gases] by 2030 and that includes aviation and shipping. So, it is around twice as ambitious as the current proposal...

If the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions...

We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity...

To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible. [Be realistic, demand the impossible - a Che Guevara quote used as graffiti on the walls of Paris in 1968 and by Prof Donald Sadoway of MIT, the developer of the Ambri flow battery and a way to decarbonize steel production, to inspire his students]...

We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases. We should no longer only ask: "Have we got enough money to go through with this?" but also: "Have we got enough of the carbon budget to spare to go through with this?" That should and must become the centre of our new currency...

In Sweden, we live our lives as if we had the resources of 4.2 planets. Our individual carbon footprint is one of the worst in the world. This means that Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year: Those of us who are part of these future generations would like Sweden to stop doing that. Right now...

Now we probably don't even have a future any more. Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once. [The sky WAS the limit and now it's striking back.]...

Many people say that we don't have any solutions to the climate crisis. And they are right. Because how could we? How do you "solve" the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced? How do you "solve" a war? How do you "solve" going to the moon for the first time? How do you "solve" inventing new inventions?...

"That's still not an answer," you say. Then we start talking about a circular economy and rewilding nature [or geotherapy, see http://solarray.blogspot.com/2021/04/geotherapy-not-geoengineering-please.html for more] and the need for a just transition. Then you don't understand what we are talking about...

Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling. [Sacred]...

And yes, a transformed world will include lots of benefits. But you have to understand. This is not primarily an opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses or green economic growth. This is above all an emergency, and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. This is not something you can like on Facebook...

We already have all the facts and [some of the] solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.



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