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Environment

Factbox: Greta Thunberg's call for emergency climate action

LONDON (Reuters) - Swedish activist Greta Thunberg released an open letter climateemergencyeu.org on Thursday urging European leaders to take emergency action on climate change. Following are some quotes from a Reuters television interview with the 17-year-old.

FILE PHOTO - Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a protest outside the EU Council as EU environment ministers meet in Brussels, Belgium, March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

* ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL BREAKDOWN:

“If you are going to going to get healthy, you have to admit that you are sick. And that is something that our leaders cannot seem to do today because they always have to tell this story of success to get re-elected or to become popular.”

“We have to admit that this is not a crisis that we can build ourselves out of or invest or buy or consume or produce, because that is the same approach that got us into this crisis.”

* ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LETTER:

“What’s so new with this open letter is that now we are suddenly saying that we are no longer playing on their terms. Everyone has unknowingly just accepted the fact that we have based everything on the carbon budget which gives us a less than a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C of global average temperature rise - since it excludes so many factors.

“But now we are saying that we do not accept those odds and you have to go for the budget which gives us the best possible chance of staying below that target, which is the - also very watered-down - 66%-chance budget.”

* ON NEED FOR A NEW ECONOMIC SYSTEM:

"If you just look at the planned production of fossil fuels that the world's countries are planning to produce by the year 2030, according to the U.N. production gap productiongap.org/2019report report; that accounts for 120% more than what would be consistent with the 1.5 degree (Celcius) targets.

“So that means that if we are to stay below these targets, we have to make it possible to tear up and abandon valid contracts and deals.”

* ON CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CLIMATE AND RACIAL INJUSTICE:

“Both of these crises are symptoms of lack of respect for each other and for the natural world ... With the Black Lives Matter protests, it really shows that people are starting to wake up to these injustices and that we can no longer continue to sweep these things under the carpet.”

* ON HER FEELINGS ABOUT THE FUTURE:

“In the beginning, I was very worried. But when I started doing something, then there came hope from that. Because hope comes from action. So, if you don’t want to feel terrified or worried or scared, then the only thing you can do is to take action, because that is the only medicine against that.”

Reporting by Matthew Green and Matthew Stock; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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