Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday said that it was fine for some members of the French parliament to ignore her and other children’s warnings about global warming, but she implored them to listen to scientists.
Ahead of her speech to a group of lawmakers, conservative and far-right la wmakers hurled insults, and said they would shun the 16-year-old, who has inspired a global network of young climate protesters.
Invited by a cross-party group of politicians, Thunberg and several other children spoke to a French parliamentary committee meeting and later watched from the public gallery as parliament voted on a controversial EU-Canada trade agreement.
“Some people have chosen not to come here today, some have chosen not to listen to us and that is fine, we are after all just children, you don’t have to listen to us, but you do have to listen to the scientists, that is all we ask,” Thunberg said.
Two leading lawmakers of the conservative Les Republicains party of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy had called Thunberg a “guru of the apocalypse,” “Nobel Prize of fear” and other insults.
One of them called on fellow lawmakers to boycott her speech.
Recent months have seen millions of young people worldwide walk out of school on Fridays to back Thunberg’s demands for urgent action from governments to curb carbon emissions.
Thunberg began a climate protest outside the Swedish parliament in August last year. The Fridays for Future school strike movement has since spread to more than 100 nations.
A European lawmaker for the far-right Rassemblement National said it was wrong to bring in “the Joan of Arc of climate change” while parliament is voting on the EU-Canada trade deal.”
Environmental activists have criticized the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), saying it undermines the EU’s social and ecological regulations by importing products made under conditions that would not be allowed in Europe.
Parliament approved the CETA agreement with a relatively small majority of 266 to 213 votes, with 69 lawmakers of French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance either abstaining or voting against it.
“Those who are turning a deaf ear to the warnings of youth are making a mistake,” said independent lawmaker Matthieu Orphelin, who had organized the visit.
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