Climate change as urgent as coronavirus: Greta Thunberg

Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg has said that the world needs to learn the lessons of coronavirus and treat climate change with similar urgency.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Thunberg said: “People are starting to realise that we cannot keep looking away from these things… We cannot keep sweeping these injustices under the carpet”.

She said the lockdown has given her time to relax and reflect away from the public gaze.

Thunberg shared with the BBC the text of a deeply personal programme she has made for Swedish Radio.

In the radio programme, which went online on Saturday morning, the young activist looks back on the year in which she became one of the world’s most high-profile celebrities.

The then 16-year-old took a sabbatical from school to spend a tumultuous year campaigning on the climate.

It was in the UN that she delivered her famous “how dare you” speech. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words”, she told the world leaders gathered in the UN Assembly last

Thunberg told the BBC that she knew it was a “lifetime moment” and decided not to hold anything back.

The activist said that the only positive that could come out of the coronavirus pandemic would be if it changes how we deal with global crises: “It shows that in a crisis, you act, and you act with necessary force.”

Thunberg said she was encouraged that politicians were now stressing the importance of listening to scientists and experts.

But she remains deeply pessimistic over keeping any temperature increases within safe boundaries.

Even if countries actually deliver the carbon reductions they’ve promised, we’ll still be heading for a “catastrophic” global temperature rise of 3-4 degrees, she told the BBC.